Hunting For Heather, Or: Unrequited Is The Best Kind

Heather is a feral cat that the Fools took in some years back, and who lives with us — slinking among the stuffed animal menagerie — in the Fools’ Court.  For years, I’m told, she wouldn’t even let herself be seen.  Now, she’s slowly growing bolder: eating, roaming, and claw-feasting on stuffed armchairs in full view, when there’s only a few of us around.  But she’s still supremely elusive — a fact only emphasized by her absurdly gorgeous and adorable looks.

Last week, over the course of a lazy, reading-and-tea -type afternoon, I intermittently tried to take her portrait.  I think some part of me hoped it would bring us closer together.  Let’s just say she had her own agenda.

The Dhamma teaches that the highest form of love, real love, is when we just give, without expecting anything in return. Easier said than done, to put it mildly — especially when it comes to intelligent pets, which are often marketed in our culture as maximally efficient Affection Reciprocators. When we love ‘our’ animals, we expect them to love us back.

But despite all my coaxing and sweet-talk, pledging catnip and cuddlefests, ultimately my desire for Heather to transform into a Happy HouseCat (avid purrer, visitor of laps) had less to do with improving her life, and more to do with improving mine. Seeing this dysfunction clearly, I (to borrow a phrase from my uncle CC) had to laugh. Sometimes we get way ahead of ourselves, you know?

5 thoughts on “Hunting For Heather, Or: Unrequited Is The Best Kind

  1. bohemiankitsch March 15, 2010 / 2:54 am

    beautifully stated, sister. :)

  2. powell March 15, 2010 / 1:09 pm

    these pictures made me laugh :) what a cat

  3. Roger Nehring March 15, 2010 / 8:38 pm

    I especially like the one with the lion. Lovely kitty.

  4. Ryan March 23, 2010 / 11:12 pm

    nice Heather pictures! do you try the eye kisses still? I think the effect is cumulative.

  5. kloncke March 24, 2010 / 4:52 pm

    powell, i miss seeing you laugh! are you visiting this way soon?

    Ryan, i do try the eye kisses but she’s stopped reciprocating. i’ll keep at it, though.

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