Just as we are the most comfortable when surrounded by familiar faces and places, so are our pets. New adventures are always exciting for humans and pets, but dealing with the unfamiliar requires caution and time to adapt.
Situations arise that instantly disrupt the peace and put the felines in "alert" mode. It can be something as simple as a package delivery from Fed Ex or a walk out to pick up the mail and a return with unfamiliar scents on our shoes. The noses instantly go into sniff mode and they anxiously await for the boxes to be emptied so they can do their territorial claiming.
One afternoon I ventured upstairs to a spare bedroom and decided to take Paddy, Halo and Zoie with me for a new adventure. Halo wasn't too concerned, as long as I was with her. She just searched for a comfortable spot to nap on the new bed. But Paddy and Zoie had to do perimeter checks, under the bed checks and furniture surface checks before they eventually settled on the bed. Even then, they remained on alert, jumping at unfamiliar sounds and watching for any unexpected disturbances.
This week Clyde ventured up to the upper deck outside my office. He has napped there before but wasn't aware of our inside cats. This time, however, Zoie and Paddy caught sight of the visitor and the long stare-down began. Though unfamiliar, there was no hissing or growling, just a peaceful co-existence with a pane of glass between the curious felines. He has returned a few times since the original encounter and doesn't seem too uncomfortable with the thought of encountering new feline "friends."
Bonnie and Clyde have also been venturing into our basement after feedings, exploring and casing out the area. They are constantly on alert but are slowly allowing us to walk around while they explore. Hopefully they are becoming familiar with the strange territory and will accept our shelter when the cold winter months return. They are becoming more trusting of us, but the petting that I have been longing to do is still out of their comfort zone. As the trust between us builds, hopefully the acceptance of physical contact will also build.
With so many things in life, patience is hard to accept. But my furry family, both inside and outside, constantly remind me that good things are worth waiting for, that a small moment of trustful acceptance can lead to a lifetime of tender commitment. Just a glance at Halo snuggled on the bed, at peace, triggers a slide show of her journey from a malnourished pregnant stray to one of my most faithful companions. It reminds me that patience to allow the unfamiliar become the norm is a valuable lesson that I need to focus on every day.
|Paddy in one of her safe spots where she can monitor|
unfamiliar household disturbances.
KAREN ROSE SMITH
Book 5, Caprice De Luca Mystery Series
USA TODAY Bestselling Author Karen Rose Smith is an only child who delved into books at an early age. She learned about kindred spirits from Anne of Green Gables, solved mysteries with Nancy Drew and wished she could have been the rider on The Black Stallion. Yet even though she escaped often into story worlds, she had many aunts, uncles and cousins around her on weekends. Her sense of family and relationships began there. Maybe that's why families are a strong theme in her novels, whether mysteries or romances. Her 95th novel will be released in 2016.
Readers often ask her about her pastimes. She has herb, flowers and vegetable gardens that help her relax. In the winter, she cooks rather than gardens. And year round she spends most of her time with her husband, as well as her four rescued cats who are her constant companions. They chase rainbows from sun catchers, reminding her life isn't all about work, awards and bestseller lists. Everyone needs that rainbow to chase.
Karen looks forward to interacting with readers. They can find her at the links below.