By Tracy Astle
We don't have any cats at our house. Several family members are allergic to them. That didn't stop a cute little orange striped one from trying to convince me it belongs with us.
I came home from visiting teaching one night last week and literally tripped over the adorable little thing. I have no idea where it came from. All I know is that the first I became aware of it was when I whacked my lower shin on it. I looked down to see what I had hit and found a sweet, whiskered face staring up at me, looking very much like it expected to be invited in. I informed my guest that I didn't think it really wanted to come in since inside the house lived a large dog who would very much like a to eat a kitty such as itself.
A look of concern came to it's face as it considered for a moment what to do. Choosing wisely, it scampered away across the front lawn just before I opened the door and went into the house.
I greeted my 20 year old son inside and told him about the cute little cat. (We have LOTS of stray cats that seem to think our front yard is a cool place to hang out. It's like a kitty night club or something. Most of them won't let you get within ten feet of them, though.) This seemed just another cat story to add to our long list of cat stories. As I talked to my son, I caught sight of the Valentine's window clings waiting to replace the snowflake clings presently on our front storm door and decided to switch them out right then.
Much to my surprise, when I opened the front door, the glass door still closed, the little ginger critter sat about two inches from the glass, seated as prettily as can be, staring up at me again - like it knew I would return for it. I quickly grabbed the handle of the glass door since my dog can easily push it open, especially when he goes cat-crazy. One glance at a cat outside the door can turn my normally calm dog into Cujo. Only this time my dog, who was right at my heels, didn't let out one bark or even one little hint of a growl. Weird.
Apparently, we had a new friend.
Hearing the small commotion, my son came and joined the party. He agreed with me about how high a cute factor this cat possesed, which factor only increased when I removed the first snowflake cling from the door and the cat jumped at it, ready to play.
The game was on.
My son and I entertained the kitty by tickling our fingers along the inside of the glass as (s)he pawed and bounced happily on the other side. This was one ridiculously adorable cat. If I didn't know what it would lead to I would have invited this one in to play...given it a little treat...cuddled and petted it until it purred. Somehow, I didn't think it would be much of a challenge to coax a purr from this little one. If ever I was tempted to keep a cat...
After a few minutes of fun we said goodbye and closed the door.
But that's not the end of the story.
The next morning when I opened the garage door to go to my car the persistent little thing laid curled under my car, again looking like it was waiting just for me. It took me a little extra time that morning to make sure (s)he didn't sneak into the garage before the door closed all the way. I had to be even firmer in my desire than (s)he was in hers/his.
Why do I bring this up? Well, this cat reminded me of lots of other good things that come into our lives, but that it's best to say 'no' to. Sometimes these activites/favors/invitations/whatever are really tempting, and really cute, too. It would have been lots of fun to have that cat. I'm sure of it. And maybe one cat as small as this one wouldn't have been too much of a problem for my family members with allergies. Even our dog, Jag, seemed unnaturally okay with it.
But, it would have been a mistake to take it in.
Since we're all about writing here, I want to know how you decide when to say 'no' to other good things so you can say 'yes' to writing and other things that are better than whatever may be enticing us at the moment.
So tell me - What's your secret to 'no' when it's needed? Lots of people have a hard time with that word.