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Uncertaintly Not a Cat Person

Let me admit, “I am not a cat person.” Cats view me as a scratching post and someone to annoy, but we once owned a cat or maybe she owned us. She was beyond unique as feline characters go. This is the story of how she captured us.

We lived across the Fraser River from McBride in the Robson Valley of British Columbia. Our dog was agitated that evening as an early winter storm descended upon us with all its wrath. She insisted on going in and out of the house. Kathy suggested I check and see if a coyote had come down from hillside into the backyard. Armed with a .22 caliber rifle, I went outside accompanied by the dog. The snowfall was heavy and the wind was blowing it around to the point I could not see the trees at the back of the yard. I decided there was nothing of real interest and turned back to the house.

I stopped momentarily to tap snow from the roof of the dog house. When I did, a kitten shot out and ran across the backyard to the willow stand and some derelict buildings to the side of the house. I followed and saw it enter one of the old buildings, but was not dressed to continue my search. I returned to the house and Kathy asked what I had seen. When I replied that is was kitten she wanted to know where it was. I pointed out I was not suitably dressed. She put on a parka and boots and went out to look for the kitten. Kathy returned with a tiny black and white bundle that was none too happy. We closed the door, released the kitten, and she immediately escaped under the couch to avoid the dog who thought this was a potential playmate. Kathy put a bowl of warm milk with broken up bread just under the edge of the couch so it was out of reach of the dog, but accessible to the cat. We left the cat there for the night, put the dog in the bedroom with us, and went to bed listening to the howling wind.

The next morning dawned beautiful. We had a layer of fresh snow, a brilliant blue sky, and a sharp cold feel in the air. Kathy went to put the dog out and there was a flash of black as the kitten shot out the door, across the backyard, and found refuge under the hay shed. To keep hay from getting wet from the marshy piece of land we sat on, the floor of the shed was elevated above the grond. We could see the kitten and it could see us, but it was not coming out.

Kathy, an innovative farm girl, got a bowl of milk and bread and put it 3-4 feet or about a meter in front of the shed and stood on the front lip of its floor. She did not wait long. The kitten tentatively edged out and began to lap up the milk. Engrossed and oblivious to its surroundings, the cat was vulnerable and Kathy pounced and recaptured our future cat.

We owned the cat for about 4 years. I was never her scratching post. She would come and sit with me in my easy chair in the living room to watch TV. She was always tiny never getting beyond the size of large kitten. We think she was abandoned, likely part of a litter, to die. A newborn would be easy prey for coyotes, quickly starve, and dehydrate. In the cold weather of early winter, she would not have lasted much longer. Besides being tiny and my only feline friend, she was odd in other ways. Her best friend, besides me, was the dog. They played, ate, and slept together. When not sleeping with the dog, the cat tucked her forehead on the floor, put her butt in the air, and in that odd position slept. When company visited, she disappeared. One visitor knew we had a cat, because her allergies flared up instantly upon arrival. The cat reappeared when the door closed behind any visitor.

To this day, I remain skeptical of cats and their intentions towards me, because they still mistreat me. Having said this, I am not certain I was not once owned by a cat and enjoyed it.


About ivonprefontaine

In keeping with bell hooks and Noam Chomsky, I consider myself a public and dissident intellectual. Part of my work is to move beyond (transcend) institutional dogmas that bind me to defend freedom, raising my voice to be heard on behalf of those who seek equity and justice in all their forms. I completed my PhD in Philosophy of Leadership Studies at Gonzaga University, Spokane, WA. My dissertation and research was how teachers experience becoming teachers and their role as leaders. I focus on leading, communicating, and innovating in organizations. This includes mindfuful servant-leadership, World Cafe events, Appreciative Inquiry, and expressing one's self through creativity. I offer retreats, workshops, and presentations that can be tailored to your organzations specific needs. I published peer reviewed articles about schools as learning organizations, currere as an ethical pursuit, and hope as an essential element of adult eductaion. I published three poems and am currently preparing my poetry to publish as an anthology of poetry. I present on mindful leadership, servant leadership, schools as learning organizations, how teachers experience becoming teachers, assessement, and critical thinking. I facilitate mindfulness, hospitality retreats. and World Cafe Events using Appreciative Inquiry. I am writing and researching about various forms of leadership, how teachers inform and form their identity as a particular teacher, schools as learning organizations, hope and its anticipatory relationship with the future, and hope as an essential element in learning.

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