But we soon learned that no magic wand could give us an instruction manual on caring for this creature. We felt like new parents bringing an infant home from the hospital. This time, our baby was small (6 pounds), with green and yellow piercing eyes, delicate paws and a shiny coat of pumpkin-colored fur. I called him a little fur ball as he curled up in the corner the second we entered the house. Those eyes dilated, darting around the room looking for something, anything, familiar. As he planted himself behind the couch, we spent the evening trying to coax him out. But he stood firm. He was scared. We were scared. Finally, I realized, my family and Harry had something in common, even if it was something small.
Life moved at that snail’s pace for the next couple weeks. Harry spent most of his time feeling us out from the comforts of my bedroom closet. From his cozy little nook under a desk chair, he’d poke his head out whenever we came in the room. As we crouched down on the floor next to him, his eyes studied us intensely, trying to decide who exactly we were. But it was clear he had no intention of moving from that spot. He just wasn’t ready yet, so we remained ever patient and gave him all the time he needed.
While we waited for Harry to warm to us, we jumped headfirst into this cat-owning business. We went to Petco to get everything we thought he’d need: dry and wet food, toys, a pillow bed. And the big treat: a $90 cat condo that would eventually become his bachelor pad. On the inside, though, we were just as scared as Harry. This was completely new territory for us, but something just kept us moving forward, like an invisible hand guiding us along on this new path our lives began to follow.
We’ve cared for Harry, but he’s taught us so much in return. Cats eat when they’re hungry. They spend lazy days relaxing in the sun. They sleep when they want. And they find an endless source of amusement in the simple things, like a ball of string. Harry likes to sit on our kitchen table and stare longingly out the window. Everything seems so new to him, so fresh, and he looks as if he’s watching his own private television. He simply enjoys life, no strings attached. We’d all be a lot happier if we adopted the innocence of cats.