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Finn the Good

It’s been hard to get motivated to write lately. Partly because of losing Zoe. That wound has not healed, and it never really will. Grief is like a scar. It gets less immediately painful, and you learn to avoid exposing that vulnerable area to much stress. But the scar doesn’t go away, because it isn’t meant to. It stays with us, as does the love that created it. You can’t have one without the other.

Meanwhile, I have adopted a new furry family member. Too soon? If you’d asked me two months ago, I would have said so, too. The day after I said good-bye to Zoe, I got a text from a dear friend: “The Grim Reaper was busy yesterday.” Ryan told me that his uncle in Phoenix had died, leaving behind a 3-year-old cat, Muffin. He thought about bringing her to me to help me through my grief, but figured the family probably already had a plan for her. Without a thought, I said, “Well, if they don’t have a plan for her, I’ll take her.” It turned out the family was delighted that I wanted her. The following Saturday, my very indulgent friend and I drove to Blythe to meet his cousin, who drove Muffin from Phoenix to meet me.

Meet Finn. Paw of welcome extended.

Muffin hissed at me on the way home and tried a few swats with the paw. Since she was in a carrier, the swipes didn’t have an impact, but the hissing broke my heart. Muffin looks a lot like Zoe. It was like Zoe was back but didn’t like me anymore.

Fortunately, by the next day she still hissed a little, but her heart wasn’t in it. She head-butted me and let me scratch the top of her head. I still called her Muffin once or twice, but began the transition to Finn, the name I’ve decided to call her. She seems okay with it. 

Finn is a different cat than Zoe, no question. While Zoe liked to snuggle up next to me, Finn likes her space, at least so far. But Finn loves toys and treats as much as Zoe did when she was younger. They both make me smile and ground me to something deeper than my own wants and needs.

Sweet story, you may be thinking, but really – with all the things going on in the world right now, didn’t you want to talk about something more relevant and timely?

I may talk about other things in future columns, but today, I wanted to start with Finn. When I hear that Roe v. Wade has been overturned and Vladimir Putin is trying his best to start World War III and climate change might well be inevitable despite people still denying that its existence, I get overwhelmed and want to bury my head under the covers. Finn reminds me to start where I am, with what I have. I make sure she doesn’t get the chance to make war on the local birds, because she could be an efficient executioner of local bird life, if I let her. This affects both interspecies war and climate change. The birds are native to the area. Domestic cats are not. This is where I start.

Well, that and increasing my donation to Planned Parenthood. Excuse me while I get on with that.

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