Imagine: It's the first snowstorm of a Northern Ontario winter. A young boy is walking home from school when he notices a tiny kitten struggling through the snow towards him. It is obviously lost.
This scene took place in 1996. The young boy was my nephew.
He couldn't ignore the shivering kitten so he took her home, even though his father is highly allergic to cats. A makeshift home was prepared in the downstairs powder room as far away from my brother-in-law as possible. Inquiries were made in the neighbourhood to see if anyone knew where the kitten came from, but nobody claimed her.
The following day, my sister phoned me and asked if I would like a kitten or if I knew someone who would take it. Her husband was having difficulty breathing so she was getting desperate. Although I wanted to help, I had no desire for another pet as I already had a big Russian Blue cat named Nikademous and a Terri-poo dog called Teddy. I told her the best I could do was pick up the kitten and try to find a new home for her.
You can probably guess what happened. As soon as I set eyes on her I fell in love. She came home with me in a cardboard box and was named Sufi as I had recently organized a Sufi gathering. She was a longhaired tabby with a definite attitude who didn't take long to set herself up as 'queen' of the household and, despite her small size, terrorized Nika and Teddy.
Nika soon resorted to living in the basement as he never knew what the little fur-ball would do next... neither did I. I began to dread coming downstairs in the morning and coming home from work. I encountered one disaster after another.
Things often went bump in the night and I would find plants lying on the floor, or lamps or ornaments toppled over. Sufi once sent her food bowl flying from the windowsill where I had put it out of Teddy's reach. The bowl landed on his water dish, which broke into several pieces flooding the kitchen floor.
Whenever a visitor arrived, she leapt onto their shoulder from the back of a kitchen chair... much to their surprise! This became a serious problem when she got bigger as she'd dig in her claws until she got a really good grip!
Plants were her favourite playthings... except for Teddy's tail, which he often wagged temptingly in front of her. She delighted in batting at it from the couch when he came to me to be petted. Her tiny claws got caught in it sometimes and because she was so small, he'd end up waving her around!
Another favourite pastime was playing with the toilet roll. If the end was left dangling, she jumped up, caught her little claws in the paper, and ran around until the whole roll was unraveled!
One other memory is forever etched in my mind. I came downstairs one morning to find one of my favourite plants lying on the floor. Not so unusual! I was getting pretty proficient at cleaning up after Sufi, so I popped the plant back in the pot and vacuumed up the spilled dirt.
The roots of the plant had dried a little, so I took out the plastic jug I kept under the sink for watering my plants. As I picked it up, the handle completely broke off and the jug full of water fell to the floor. I was left holding just the handle!
I hurriedly mopped the floor, watered the plant, and prepared for work as I was now running quite late... and more than a little annoyed.
I had an appointment that evening after work, so I rushed home to take Teddy for a quick walk. As I unlocked the door, a strange noise met my ears. I lived alone, so this was a little perturbing. At first I couldn't make out what it was, but as I opened the door I recognized it as the vacuum cleaner!
I cautiously went into the living room where I had left the vacuum that morning (I hadn't had time to put it away). It was one of those canister styles with a switch at one end and I guess Sufi must have jumped on it and started the motor.
I have no idea how long it had been running or how long Teddy had been huddled in the corner under a table with a definite 'bad dog' expression on his face. The vacuum had always scared him, and unfortunately I'd left it near his basket. That wouldn't normally be a problem for him, but when Sufi turned on the motor, I guess Teddy must have been so startled he peed his bed in fright!
Sufi went on being Sufi and causing chaos in the home for a long time, continuing to play with the toilet roll and my plants, and to break my ornaments. She eventually learned better behaviour, but has remained the 'queen.'
Why did I put up with all this you might ask! Well, Sufi had one endearing quality. From the first day I brought her home, she loved to curl up on my chest just below my chin while I watched TV. A strange thing happened when she did this: No matter what challenges I'd faced during the day or what she had done to annoy me, my anger simply melted away! All I could feel was unconditional love for the little fur-ball purring on my chest.
Sufi taught me that when there is unconditional love, everything is forgiven.
As of this writing, Sufi is 12 years old. She remains 'queen' of the household, sleeps at the foot of my bed, and 'catches' socks and undergarments since she has been confined to living indoors and can no longer chase squirrels and birds. She has a unique way of communicating her displeasure whenever she's left alone for too long, even though I acquired Sassy as a companion for her a few years ago. (Nika wouldn't put up with her and gratefully joined another home when I moved across Canada a few years ago.)
But... she also continues to give and receive unconditional love. Whenever anyone is upset, she seems to sense it and insists on giving them kitty kisses on any part of their anatomy she can access, then she curls up on the person's lap. It doesn't matter whether it's me, my daughter, or a visitor - she treats them all the same way - unconditionally!
Anyaa H'redulla has been on a conscious spiritual path for more than twenty years and is the author of "Joy Makers: My Tools for Self-Empowerment" available at http://www.anyaahredulla.com where she also shares Reflections on many of her personal challenges, and offers powerful, practical tools on Personal, Physical, Economic, and Spiritual Empowerment. Learn how you can take back your power in every area of your life to live in true freedom, and claim your FREE GIFTS by visiting Anyaa's website today.