It was a night of unexpecteds.
My daughters and I had planned on dropping off Ivy, our sweet red nose Pit Bull (and KOTAW’s Brand Ambassador!) at our neighbor Jose’s house (where she used to live, before she decided to live with my daughters and me instead!) so that she could spend the weekend with him and his son.
We figured we’d drop her off, go out to dinner, then peruse the aisles of Target (and inevitably end up with a basket full of treats and goodies to give to Ivy when we would be reunited with her two days later!)
Sure enough, we found him in the kitchen rolling out homemade pizza dough, with the plan of making a special vegetarian pizza for my daughters and me and a ham and pepperoni pizza for Ivy and her Maltese Poodle friend, Lucy.
As the pizzas cooked, we watched a movie, played some board games and shared many laughs.
Six hours later, it was nearing midnight so my girls and I thanked Jose and his son for the wonderful surprise of an evening, said goodnight, and walked the three house distance between Jose’s house and ours, ready to go to bed.
Except when we got home, there was a cat waiting for us in our yard!
Without Any Allure of Catnip
It wasn’t just any cat. It was a stray cat that had been born behind Jose’s house two years ago, whom Ivy had nursed and helped survive.
A very kind couple who live next door to Jose had semi-adopted this cat, feeding her, getting her spayed and making sure she had all her shots, but the cat had refused to officially live with them and their other rescued cats, preferring the outdoors life.
For two years, my daughters and I had tried to make friends with this cat, but she always acted aloof when she saw us. She liked Ivy, her surrogate mother, but never gave my girls or me the time of day.
Until this night.
When we opened our gate, she ran to see us as though we were her favorite people in the world! She rolled on her back and started purring, wanting to be petted and wanting to play.
Very confused by her sudden interest in us (though also excited!) my daughters and I sat down on the grass and gave the kitty lots of love.
Fifteen minutes later, the cat was still purring and lovingly rubbing against us – and we were still dumbfounded by her newly acquired fondness for us.
I told the cat that her surprise greeting was very sweet, but that it was late and cold and we had to go inside, so unless she wanted to follow us, we had to say good night.
So my girls and I kissed her good night, headed to bed, then were awakened a half hour later by a meow at our door.
We crawled out of our beds, opened the door, and in walked the cat!
Two months later, she is still here.
Cat is to Water as Moth is to Flame
The first 24 hours of the cat living with us were cute. Very strange and entirely unprecedented, but cute nonetheless.
The cat – Doosis – slept on my pillow and didn’t leave that spot for an entire day.
Worried that she was going to starve, my daughters and I went out to buy her some kitty food (and to leave a note for the neighbor couple who look after her to let them know that for some reason unbeknownst to us, she was in our house!)
By day three Doosis would leave for five to ten minute increments to use the bathroom, but she always came right back and it was starting to alarm my girls and me. We hadn’t signed on for a cat. We are dog people, through and through! We knew absolutely nothing about how to take care of a feline.
Case in point: Even though Ivy has three different water bowls in our house for easy drinking access, water bowls that Doosis could easily share from, we put out a couple of smaller water bowls especially for Doosis.
Doosis would look at the water bowls, put her nose in them, but not drink.
We thought it was weird, but figured she was an outdoor cat and knew how to take care of herself. Maybe she was drinking water at the neighbor couple’s during the short intervals of time when she left our house. Maybe cats don’t drink very much. Maybe –
We noticed she would run excitedly toward us whenever we would turn on the shower or run water in the sink. We thought cats were supposed to hate to get wet so we would turn off the water when we saw her coming, not wanting to scare her.
But Doosis just kept running toward the water, so we finally Googled it and discovered that many cats won’t drink stagnant water (i.e. water sitting in a bowl!) because their kitty instincts tell them it’s unsanitary. Apparently they only want to drink running water because they deem it safest.
Suddenly horrified that we were unwittingly dehydrating the cat, we turned on a bathroom faucet for her, she jumped up on the counter – and drank for five minutes straight!
Converting an Outdoor Cat
We decided to have a chat with the neighbor couple. We told them that other than giving Doosis love, we knew absolutely nothing about how to care for her. She had been with us less than a week and we were feeling guiltier than ever about almost dehydrating her!
Maybe they could try again leaving her inside with their other cats and she wouldn’t be able to run away to our house?
The neighbors told us that they had tried, numerous times, to keep her indoors with their other cats, but that she absolutely hated it. They said she was such a sweet kitty and they so wanted her to live indoors with them, but Doosis had no desire to be an indoor cat. They were completely baffled that she had come to live with us and said they had never heard of any outdoor cat suddenly wanting to be an indoor cat.
So we were left with a choice: Either let Doosis keep living with us or take her to a shelter.
Ivy wanted to keep her.
Drum Roll, Please
Doosis and Ivy live in perfect peace and harmony and both sleep together on my bed.
You might be thinking, well, this is a very cute and heartwarming story, but how does it relate to business?
Lucky for you, I’m here to tell you!
If you’re an entrepreneur, I bet you have a plan. A five year plan, a ten year plan, a day-to-day plan that includes a to-do list with more daily “to-dos” than most people accomplish in a lifetime.
Now while this is all well and good (and mandatory – not a lot in life gets accomplished without goals) there is such a thing as too much focus.
If you only allow for the items on your to-do list to come into fruition, you might be missing out on a lot of incredible business – and life! – opportunities.
I had no plans to be a cat owner. But my heart is warmed every time I come home and Doosis RUNS to greet me (she actually acts much more like a dog than a cat!) and I love the sound of her purr by my head as she shares the pillow with me.
I would have missed out on all the love and joy Doosis gives me if I hadn’t been open to the possibility of owning a cat.
Just as I would have missed out on all the great stories I’m able to tell as a content marketer if I hadn’t been open to adding “marketing” to my credentials. I knew as a little girl that I would grow up to be a writer but had no idea I’d own my own marketing company.
But I’m here to tell you, it’s pretty KOTAWesome!
Do you leave room in your always-packed calendar for the unexpected? What’s the greatest business surprise you’ve experienced? What would you do if a cat — or a potential client — showed up at your doorstep without warning? Would you tell them to scat or invite them in for catnip?
Photo credit (top featured image) – Ashley Ella Designs