Somebody’s waiting for you

Shannon Rooney is a freelance writer and cat fancier

Sometimes, when you least expect it, the universe provides.

Little did I know, back in July, the universe would provide me with exactly what I needed—in, of all places, Petco.

I had gone there to buy some dog medicine for a friend who couldn’t leave her job. As soon as I walked in through the double glass doors, I saw and heard them: the animals. Tails wagging, ears perking, toenails tapping, mouths panting, tongues lolling. These weren’t pet store animals—they were Humane Society animals. They were just there, hanging out with Butte Humane Society volunteers, patiently waiting for the biggest sucker to come along (apparently they’d received the call that I was on my way).

Two of three dogs were out of their cages and on leashes, enjoying the caresses of enthralled customers; but the three cats, of course, could not enjoy such freedom, so they were housed in neatly stacked wire cages. Although I love dogs, I’m really more of a cat person, and I couldn’t resist a quick peek at the cats. You, know—just a quick, little, teensy-weensy peek.

My mistake. Or, good fortune—depending on how you assess it.

It actually turned out to be my good fortune, for when I walked into Petco that day, I was troubled over some particular challenges—challenges that could not be quickly resolved but would require time and perseverance. Then I spied the cat in the top cage: a cat with such elegant conformation, he could have been a statue. He sported a dark-gray coat of fur, with patches of white on his nose, chest, and belly—and he had four little white feet. “He has two names,” a volunteer informed me. “Either Turtle or Boots. You can choose!”

I did choose—I added “ie” and changed the cat’s name to “Bootsie.” And Bootsie went home with me that day, because not only did he exhibit a remarkable capacity for affection (vigorously rubbing his head against me like a little goat), but he also nicely demonstrated that he liked talking, and I needed a vocal cat that could hold up its end in a conversation with me.

To say the least, Bootsie has ameliorated the difficult times I was experiencing. But he’s so much more than mere comfort. When I read an Emerson essay recently, I came across a quote that made me think of my cat: “…it is only the finite that has wrought and suffered; the infinite lies stretched in smiling repose.” When I read this, I saw, in my mind’s eye, an image of Bootsie stretched out on my bed, languidly snoozing in the afternoon heat. I realized I had “the infinite” living with me in my household. I had a constant, living example of what it means to be “fully present in every moment.”

There’s somebody waiting for you. Go now!

Contact the BHS at 2579 Fair St., Chico, 343-7917.