Battle of Wills
It’s no fun, standing on principle, sticking to your guns, enforcing an established policy… with the cat. You may remember when I lost … big… in the effort to teach Kiwi to use the toilet. Clay cat litter is an ecological disaster, from its strip-mined beginning to its land-filling end. Here in the slightly-less-than-1st-World, I didn’t have many options. We settled on pelletized sawdust litter with a fabulous sifting sandbox arrangement (Feline Pine until I found the same thing for rodents and rabbits much cheaper). Puddles turned to dust and fell through to the lower level, solids were scooped out, and the litter box remained fresh and pristine. I loved it. Kiwi did not. But she abided it. There continued the Marching & Shouting drama production on a daily basis. The cat has about two jobs. Every day it’s as though she has never done either before. Without pointing fingers at any particular culture, it’s a familiar scenario. She comes by it honestly. But I’d won! We were using an ecologically sustainable, acceptably hygienic, reasonably aesthetic system. She wasn’t as unhappy with it as she had been with the toilet ~there were no protests of frustration beyond the shouting~ but she wasn’t happy.
Then some friends told me about a litter they’d found: made from barley scraps, super clumping, and locally available. Hmm, that’s nice. I really like my pellets.
What kind of horrible mother am I? Here I was presented with an alternative which satisfied all my original constraints, but I’d already become attached to something I liked better. Sound familiar in any of your relationships? You’ve won the battle, but then it comes into your power to be gracious and make a better compromise. We don’t like to back off of a Win. I was right and it was working, even though I knew my sweet little cat, who has no real power in this world, was struggling. It was starting to feel like pride, the kind that goeth before a fall. I had given up my first, best intention, conceded to having a sandbox in the house. That should be enough. The still small voice was speaking to me. “When we know better, we do better.*” I knew better. We could try this something new. It might be almost as good for me and almost certainly better for Kiwi.
I’ve said before that God uses children to teach us many things. For those who are not called to reproduction, nay, even warned against it, He uses the wee ones we do care for. Making good decisions makes us better people, one battle of wills at a time.
*Maya Angelou ~ not that she is any still small voice, but rather her quote was a road sign as I was beginning to know better.