Fetch the Ladder

Penny the cat has been going through a phase of getting stuck on the roof. She clambers up a tree, jumps on top of the car port and then spends the next few hours (or an entire day on one memorable occasion) crying out for help.

Every time I look out the window and see her, I can’t believe she’s done it again. The last rescue attempt was fraught for all involved, even our neighbours were anxious – four-year-old Toby stood underneath with eyes closed and arms open. And people asked later if ‘the wee cat was okay’. She was fine (my arms, on the other hand, were bruised and bleeding). 

So why does the little cat keep going up there? Has she forgotten how awful it is? Does she not realise what she’s doing until it’s too late? Or does she simply love danger? There’s no way to find out. I’ve tried to instil some wisdom (while holding onto her as we wobble down the ladder) but she refuses to listen. Cats. 

And when Penny realises she can’t get down on her own, she admits that she needs help. So she cries (it’s heartbreaking, ask little Toby). Being a cat, though, she recoils in horror when I reach out to help.

To be honest I recognise the same behaviour patterns in myself. I repeat mistakes all the time: taking on too much work, bowing to anxious thoughts, avoiding exercise. And even though the outcomes aren’t good, it’s as if my brain overrides this knowledge until it’s too late. I even struggle to accept help. Like Penny I’ll cry out from the rooftop when I finally realise I’m stuck, but would still rather sort out my own problems. I don’t know why I’m like this but it’s probably a mixture of pride and a need to remain in control. 

So I’m learning to check my behavioural choices now and then, and to accept help when I need it. The rescue ladder is off to the side, but it’s there. Life lessons, as ever, from a furry friend.