Guest Cat No More
Many of you know that Jim and I will soon be leaving Brussels. Jim’s employer has given him a new assignment that takes us back to Chicago. The farewell is bittersweet. We’re looking forward to seeing the friends and family we left behind when we embarked upon our Brussels adventure two years ago. But we’ll miss our adopted home, our now familiar routines and the people and places that we’ve come to love. And what about Puhi the cat?
What About the Cat?
At the beginning of this year, I blogged about a clown of a cat that dropped into our lives, quite literally. Puhi, our neighbor’s tiger cat began watching us shortly after we moved in. His favorite surveillance perch was from the top of the wall that separates the two gardens. Then suddenly, at some point during that first summer, he lost his footing and fell into our garden.
Click here for my February 2015 Puhi post: Original Guest Cat Post, February 2, 2015
Was Puhi’s fall accidental or a sly move to make a dramatic entrance into our lives? We’ll never know for sure. But from the moment Puhi fell to Sadie’s and my feet, the Arkenberg household hasn’t been the same. Jim and I never considered ourselves ‘cat people’. I don’t think I’m too far out on a limb to suppose that Sadie, our lovable Golden Retriever, wasn’t a ‘cat lover’ either. Perhaps cat owners could have guessed what was in store for the Arkenberg in the weeks after Puhi’s arrival, but we didn’t foresee the unexpected twist that awaited us.
Puhi made inroads into our garden…
……and into our hearts
I guess we should have known that the moment we let Puhi into our hearts, it was only a matter of time until he we let him in the house. The little fella was persistent. He wanted in. Puhi quickly learned, however, that he had me in the palm of his little paw. But to gain entry, he’d have to work on Jim and Sadie. Our Golden girl is the princess of the house.
Puhi behaved well with Sadie and the ole girl tolerated him.
First hurdle cleared.
But Jim wasn’t going to be a pushover. He humored me and my new feline buddy, but made it clear that he wasn’t a cat person. Besides, he had cat allergies! Jim explained his passive acceptance of Puhi into my life thusly, “These are the things we do for love.”
But family is an all or nothing proposition. What was Puhi to do?
Answer: Shower Jim with affection and counter Jim’s objections to a cat….by acting like a dog…..
“He’s just like a dog,” Jim declares as Puhi waits at the front door with Sadie as Jim arrives home from work. Well played, Puhi, well played
So after several months of his campaign, Puhi is in. No longer merely a guest cat, Puhi is now family. Litterbox, scratching post, toys, food and water bowls and treats. And no one is more surprised to find themselves attached to the little guy than the rest of the Arkenbergs. And Jim’s cat allergy? By some miracle, Jim’s not allergic to Puhi. Oh the things we do for love!
Many people have been following the exploits of the Arkenbergs in Europe via Facebook and my blog. As they come to learn about our imminent departure they all ask about Puhi. “What will happen to the cat?” “Poor Puhi will be devastated when you leave?”
Well, the story has a happy ending. When the Arkenbergs board the plane for our flight to Chicago, we will be four. Puhi wouldn’t have it any other way. We just can’t tell Sadie that while she has to ride in the cargo hold, Puhi gets to fly with us in the cabin.
We’d be remiss if we didn’t acknowledge the understanding and generosity of our neighbor. Barbara has a heart of gold. She’s saved the lives of countless cats and dogs through her foster efforts and animal advocacy. As Puhi’s owner, she not only recognized Puhi’s decision to adopt the Arkenbergs she accepted it with all of her heart. We know that she’ll miss the little clown. But sometimes love means you have to let a piece of your heart take flight.