How I Learned to Love, Let Go, and Never Say Never

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Have you ever thought someone was making a poor decision? Projected your own beliefs onto them? Passed judgment on them saying something to the extent of, “I could or would never do that!”

I have learned some valuable lessons about judgment over the years. Judging is so easy to do. When we form a judgment about something or someone it’s a way for us to feel in control or to feel superior in some way, and we all do it. It can be really hard not to.

When I adopted my cat Diva 10 years ago, she was 7 years old. Her owner had adopted her when she was a kitten but now had to choose between his fiancée and his cat. I couldn’t believe or understand how anyone could make that choice. This cat, this pet, this soul was what I would consider to be his baby, his family, so how could he just trade in his child for a future wife?

I held such an opinion, such a judgment about this whole situation for a very long time. I was so grateful to have Diva. She was pretty awesome so I found it hard to understand how someone could let her go like that.

Diva and I lived together for 8 years and moved across the country and to 6 different apartments during our time together. While I loved Diva, she wasn’t the easiest cat in that she really didn’t like outsiders very much. She was very much a one-person cat, a man’s cat even, and a bit possessive at times.

I learned a lot from my relationship with Diva. I learned about building relationships, practicing patience and how love grows over time. The affection she showed towards me, the level of comfort she felt and exhibited, didn’t come straight away, it developed gradually over those 8 years so when it came time to part ways, it was incredibly difficult.

Diva was nearly 16 when I was given the opportunity to pursue a long time dream of mine – a dream to live in Spain. I had wanted to do this when I graduated from university nearly 15 years earlier but never did. So, after 8 years with little Diva, I decided to leave her in Victoria and travel to Spain.

Initially I left for 2 months so hired someone to care for Diva in my absence, but as time progressed I soon discovered I wanted to stay in Spain indefinitely. The woman I left Diva with eventually found a home for her with a single man who had a bumper sticker on his car that read, “I love cats”. Diva needed a real cat lover so I felt good about making the decision from such a distance.

As it turns out, I returned to Victoria 6 months later but wasn’t in a position to take Diva back nor did her new owner want to give her up. He had grown very attached, so I left her there where she seemed quite happy too.

I went to visit her briefly before leaving Victoria for good. She growled, hissed and swatted at me. While her new owner insisted that he’d never seen her do that before, I laughed and said to her, “Well, it’s nice to see that nothing’s changed with you”. That’s when I knew she was just fine.

It certainly wasn’t easy for me to leave her there that day but I learned another valuable lesson from that little soul friend of mine with such a fitting name, a name that was the reason we met in the first place. “My cat ‘Diva’ needs a new home”, was the ad I’d seen passed on from a friend those 8 or 9 years earlier. “I need to meet that cat,” was my immediate response.

In leaving her there that day, in a city her previous owner had once thought about moving to with her in tow, I realized that I was wrong in my initial judgment, that, while Diva was more of a friend than a child to me, I too was letting her go to pursue a new life. It’s true, that saying, “Never say never”. I once said I could never have done what her first owner did and yet here I was passing her on to someone else.

I like to think that this was all a part of Diva’s soul journey too, that perhaps she needed these different people and experiences in her life in order to grow. I certainly needed her in my life and know that – no matter how far the physical distance between us – we will be forever connected energetically. Our spirits came together for a greater purpose and for that I am so grateful.

She could be completely insensitive and a royal pain in the arse, but was the coolest cat I ever met. She prepared me for so many of my relationships, giving me patience and compassion when dealing with a few people in my life, women who were certainly Divas in their own right, and who I felt honoured to come to know.

I love you, Diva D.  To me, you will always be a special soul, a valued friend, and the best cat ever. Thanks for the unconditional love, the laughter, and the lessons; for teaching me how to love, how to let go, and that one must never say never.

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