Growing up, my mother had life-threatening allergic reactions to cats. So despite my tears and incessant pleading, we were never were allowed to bring one home. When Mike and I moved in together, I saw my window of opportunity. After 30 years and a trip to our local animal shelter, (the mighty) Hunter joined our family.
Back then, we had plenty of land for him to explore. But I was always worried for his safety. Because with that freedom, came the threat of harm in the form of vicious raccoons, stealthy coyotes, and nasty possums. Despite Mike's constant assurances that he would be fine, I voiced my concern to the vet- allowing him to be the arbiter of truth. What he said was profound, "An outdoor cat lives a happy life. An indoor cat lives a long life." I used to hold my breath every night until he was snuggled back safe in my arms.
I feel like I understand, in a sense, what it is like to be my cat. I know what freedom feels like. The unabashed happiness and naive belief that things will be wonderful forever. And I also know what it is like to have it all come to a screeching halt. I'm imprisoned too. I look longingly out the window and wish it was safe to go outside again. And I wonder if life will ever go back to how it used to be.