I think it is safe to say that my wife and I have a new outdoor stray cat that has adopted us. Of course, the scales were quickly tipped in our directions when we started feeding him. Yes – We are animal people. Cats, dogs, birds, deer – all God’s creatures great and small seem to feel right at home at Casa St. Romain.
Porch Panther, as he is affectionately known, is an interesting beast. Clearly feral, it took him awhile to get comfortable enough to approach us. We couldn’t look at him or make any movements initially, as he was easily startled and would dart away with little-to-no provocation. He’s also the messiest eater ever encountered. Guessing he has only had experience eating food that is on the move.
His most interesting feature though is his personality. He seems to want affection and interaction with his people, but has no clue how to get it appropriately. He rubs up against us, but can’t handle more than a passing head scratch without getting overstimulated and using his laser-sharp animal-catching claws to swipe at us. I have battle wounds on my ankles that serve as evidence.
Though frustrated, I don’t get mad at Porch Panther because I assume he is doing the best he is able with the skills at his disposal. Like the new kid on the playground who wants to be part of the gang, our little friend is going to need a lot of time and practice before learning how to get his needs met appropriately.
Teachers, did you catch those two words? Time and practice? With it being the beginning of a new school year, many of your students have had a summer where they may not have had a lot of interaction with other children. Accordingly, patience is the key. We can’t rush social or emotional development or skill acquisition.
I tell you this, because I might need to be reminded of this lesson in the coming months. Raising youngins is not easy. Excited to have a new outdoor friend, but dreading our next challenge. At some point soon we will need to get this kitty to the vet for shots and neutering, lest we end up with a whole lot more Porch Panthers running around.