Over a year ago this adorable tiny grey tiger cat came up onto our deck to play with our older orange tabby, Tucker. Well, I’m not certain play is the appropriate word. It was that day our relationship with Moriarty began.
Being a feral cat the physical distance between us gauged Moriarty’s trust in and for us regardless of the amount of food, milk, and treats with which we tempted him. As the months passed the divide receded, and to our surprisehe would allow us to pet him while he ate, once in awhile. I was overjoyed at the thought he might join our family and become Tucker’s companion. Tucker was getting older and a feline friend in his waning years would have been a nice addition. The trust we offered Moriarty appeared to be acknowledged and reciprocated.
This aspect of trust, the thrust we give when someone new comes into our lives is fragile. We enter into the relationship in hopes trust will be reciprocated. They then become a part of our life. Has it ever happened to you that somehow you perceive the trust given is not received? The trust unashamedly offered simply feels unreciprocated at the same level. In time, out of frustration, insecurity, you let that person fall away from your life. The key word here is perceived. A feral cat showed me that our perception, our expectation of trust, can be the very thing that keep genuine trust at bay.
It was evident the long journey in building trust between us had broken badly. We were back to square one wondering would Moriarty dare to climb the stairs to our back porch ever again. To my joy the answer was yes. Two days later he was at the door. The look he gave me through the French door window panes spoke volumes. “Okay, where is the food?” I was overjoyed that it seemed we might be able to begin again.
The distance between us returned to original proportions. Again as time proceeded the distance grew smaller, yet the relationship felt different. I pondered ways to demonstrate we were no harm to him in hopes we could reestablish a connection. It continued to feel different. I felt deflated. I felt Moriarty would never trust us. Then . . . I learned differently.
It had been an off day. You know one of those days you feel you keep missing a gear. Well it was mid-morning and I had forgotten to put a bowl of food out for Moriarty. I was at the kitchen sink washing the breakfast dishes. As I looked up to put a dish in the drying rack, who is sitting just outside the window? Yes it was Moriarty with that look. “Well?” My initial thought was he’s just here for the food. As the day wore on I would find out it would be more.
Rain turned the day from morning gold to afternoon gray, as New England weather can be. It was about four in the afternoon, the rain steady, I wondered would Moriarty come for his afternoon feeding as the rain was becoming more severe. More out of guilt from my morning neglect than anything else I put the bowl out, and as I turned to close the porch door, there he was. It was then I realized Moriarity did trust us. He trusted that we would be there for him. That there had always been that trust.
The journey inside our home had not destroyed his trust, rather clarified our relationship. Moriarty was a feral cat. Domestic was something he could not be, yet he did trust us to be in his life. When I viewed trust through his eyes verse my own, I could see he had bestowed on us the same we had on him that the perceived breaking of that trust was a clarifying who we were to each other.