LIKE CATS AND DOGS, REALLY?
When I was in elementary school, we learned something called idiomatic expressions. One of them was ‘fighting like cats and dogs’. It made sense to me. I grew up on farm land. I saw cats hissing at dogs and dogs chasing cats. I did not question the validity of that expression. Since the people around me saw it as truth and spoke it as truth, their truth became my truth. That’s how prejudice is created, did you know? From our inability to go beyond our closed mind.
I have been babysitting my daughter’s kitten the last seven days. I have a dog named Lucky. Lucky has never lived with a cat. Beanie the kitten has never lived with a dog. When I put them together for the first time, I was nervous. They both picked up on it. Lucky started pawing the ground and making little whimpy sounds. Beanie arched her back while making her fur stand up. It would have been so easy for me to say they were just like cats and dogs… ready to fight. So easy for me to keep them separate, watch them closely, and judge every one of their moves. Will they behave? Attack? Sounds a lot like racism to me. See, racism for me is born out of the ignorance of a closed mind. It is born out of prejudice.
I picked both animals up and sat on the couch. I spoke to them softly. I petted Lucky’s head while Beanie sat in my lap purring. Within 24 hours, they were drinking out of the same water bowl. They were also eating each other’s food. Or eating together in the same bowl. One night, I took Lucky for his evening walk. Beanie sat at the door meowing and crying. She gave me an idea. The next morning, I went to the pet shop and equipped her with a chihuahua harness. That night, I took the dog and the cat for a walk outside. Many passerby were shocked. How is it possible to have a dog and a cat walk side by side? How can a cat even allow that? I believe it became possible because I kept an open mind and heart. Both animals sensed it and responded based on love, not fear.
In elementary school, I also learned another expression. ‘We can’t teach an old dog new tricks’. Well, my dog will be 12 years old in November. I rest my case.
Just for today, pick one of your conditioned beliefs. Challenge it. See what happens.