Meet the love of my life.
His formal name is Akira Purrosawa, after one of my favorite film directors. His informal names include Hobbes, Hobbsey-Wobbsie, Widdle Kitty Widdershins, His Nibs, and Wee Baby. Among others.
Mostly, we call him Kitty.
Kitty is probably the handsomest member of my family. He definitely has the most charisma. I’ve never seen him get self-conscious when he walks into a room, which is more than I can say for myself.
But he’s getting on in years, and so three days ago, I bought him an expensive water fountain to help him stay hydrated. If you have a cat of your own, then you already know that the amount of money one spends on an item for a cat is inversely related to how much the cat actually uses that item. I believe this is Newton’s Third Law of Cats. It’s not a total loss: he adores the box the fountain came in.
I’ve tried changing the water settings. I’ve tried putting treats near the fountain. I’ve tried getting down on all fours to show him how the fountain is supposed to work (I will not be sharing pictures of this). But no dice. Kitty is not interested. He doesn’t care that this fountain is better for his health. All he knows is that there is a Strange Thing in his Territory, and he didn’t ask for it to be put there, and he can’t make it go away.
As frustrated as I am with trying to get him to drink from this fountain, I also get it. I’m tired of change, too.
I began working from home in March, and I know that I’m incredibly lucky to be able to do my job online. But at the time, making the change from going to an office every day to working out of a corner of my bedroom was terrifying. I didn’t know that everything was going to be all right, or that some things might even be better now that I was online. All I knew was that a Strange Thing was happening, and I didn’t ask for it, and I couldn’t make it go away.
I think that’s the hardest part about change: you can’t control it. And a lot of the time, that’s ok. Sometimes it’s actually better not to have control, because things end up working out better than expected. But I know that I usually appreciate that most in hindsight, rather than while I’m going through a change.
When I have the advantage of hindsight, maybe I’ll be able to appreciate how I’ve spent significantly more time with my partner over the past few months. Or how I’ve had more time to write, now that I’m not commuting. Or how my values have become clearer to me during a time of much-needed social change.
Or perhaps, instead of waiting for hindsight, I can simply accept the changes and appreciate those things now.
After all, that’s essentially what I’m asking my cat to do. A fountain may seem like a small thing, but he’s such a habitual creature that it’s a huge alteration to his world. And yet I’ve caught him taking tentative laps a couple of times, before skittering off to hide from the Scary Thing that Gives Water. This is better for you, I want to tell him. This is just a change. It’s normal. It’s part of life.
I try to remember that, too, while working from home. It’s just change. It’s normal. It’s part of life.
So Kitty and I are both working on coping with change. I’m not sure which of us has it easier at the moment. Probably Kitty: at least he doesn’t have any writing deadlines. But if anyone has ideas about how to make a cat fountain more appealing, I know that Kitty would love some tips.
Update: SUCCESS! About an hour after I finished writing this post, I noticed Kitty staring at his fountain. I stood next to him and he just hunkered down against my leg for about 5 minutes. looking at the fountain and then back at me. Then he slooowly began to paw at the water, and ended up taking a long drink. And I realized something that I completely forgot as I was writing my post, which is that change is far easier to handle when you have a friend around.