That Darned Cat!

Question: Dear Luise: I know this may sound trivial but to all of us, it isn’t. I live in a large apartment complex for Seniors. We are allowed to have pets if we keep them on a leash, pick up after them and they don’t cause any problems for our neighbors. Pets not leash-trained must be kept inside. In the unit I live in, a lady has a cat. She lets “Dearest” run free on a regular basis. I am the spokesperson for this unit, so my neighbors have come to me about the dead birds that “Dearest” leaves in his wake. I went to the manager, who talked with the cat owner. Nothing changed. I went back again, same ole/same ole. We feel that there shouldn’t be rules if they are just be going to be ignored. The rest of us try to do as we’re asked and she gets away with murder. (Well, “Dearest” does.) I would like to know what you would suggest. Thelma

Answer: Dear Thelma: How unfair! That’s the problem, isn’t it? You feel that your neighbor is getting preferred treatment while her cat is really offending some of you. It’s looks to me like you have done all you can. Certainly if the manager can’t influence the lady, you can’t. It’s all just hot air, if the management refuses to follow through. If there is a maintenance person, please think about calling him to dispose of the dead birds. None of you should have to do that. I would not suggest going over the manager’s head, as that might open another can of worms. As a last-resort, anyone finding it just too much, should probably move.

There’s another possibility here that you may or may not want to look at. When people hear the familiar cry, “unfair”, from within, I wonder if it isn’t the ancient “child” in all of us that may be activated when we have a situation like this. Isn’t that possible? All of us felt helpless to some extent when we were kids, because that’s one of the things that being a kid is. You may not want to promote this idea to your neighbors, but since you asked the question, why not let that part of you speak? A friend of mine told me, just last week, about a wonderful exercise. You sit in a chair, making sure first that you’re all alone. (That’s so no one will think you’re nuts!) Then you wail, cry, yell, accuse, blubber and generally carry on about the unfair issue. When you feel done with that…you walk around the chair and put your hands on the shoulders of the invisible person sitting there…(the “little” you)…and you comfort her. You become a very nurturing adult and you say all kinds of validating and accepting things in a loving way. When that feels complete, you go back to the sitting position to see if anything’s left. If there is, you wail some more, and follow it up with more comforting. Then next time I get upset, I can’t wait to try it, but I think I will pull all the blinds, first! Blessings, Luise

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