It’s hard to adapt to things and circumstances you have not witnessed before. Imagine the wonder of a native from the jungles of the Amazon being dropped off in the middle of one of our large cities. It would be overwhelming. Those same feelings must also apply to dogs, cats, and other animals when they are abruptly removed from their homes and placed in new surroundings. They must be terror-stricken and have no idea of what to do, what to eat, or how to react to the objects or circumstances they encounter.
Our kitty, Isabella, was given to us when she was five years old. She had been an “inside” cat all her life and had no idea of how to protect herself from traffic or coyotes or a myriad of other things she might meet up with. We could see that she was dying to get outside and experience the world so we bought a harness and a leash and started walking her outside.
We thought it was funny when we would bring Izzie in from the outdoors and as soon as the harness was off she would run for her litter box. She didn’t know that she could go potty outdoors! As I became more sensitive to these kinds of knowledge I began to realize how much she had to learn and that I had better get tuned in so that I could help her.
The lawn sprinklers go off at daybreak three times a week and always make a couple of puddles on the sidewalk. When we are out for our walks Izzie always walks right through them with no concern. The other morning we came upon a puddle and she stopped and stared at it. I thought perhaps she didn’t want to get her feet wet so I just waited for her to make up her mind. After looking at the water for a few seconds, she performed the classic “wipe on, wipe off” maneuver from the Karate Kid movie. She stirred the water with her right front paw and then did the same with her left. Then she lapped up a couple of drops of water and licked her lips. I guess everything was satisfactory because she then bent down and drank her fill. I realized that I had just witnessed an “aha” or “Eureka” moment. “The stuff in that puddle is the same as the stuff in my bowl in the house!” After getting her drink, she sat back on her haunches and licked her lips, then got up and walked through the puddle and has never again had a drink outside.
May 17, 2012