Going OUT the Door

I just moved into a house with a cat door.  This was a big bonus for me, because my cat is indoor/outdoor with no litter box inside.  This means I have to let him in and out frequently…and consistently around 5 or so in the morning.  Well, we’ve had the cat door for 2 1/2 weeks, and we are still adjusting.  I’m not sure what the answer is, but I think there is something I am supposed to learn from this. 

From the time I moved in, I have ONLY let my cat in and out the cat door (except for the times he slipped by me and I didn’t notice).  If he wanted out, I shoved him through the cat door.  If he wanted in, I went outside, and shoved him back through the cat door.  After a few days, I thought he had it down pretty good.  Well, at least he seemed to have coming IN down pretty good.  Going out is still a battle, and this is what I am writing about.  He definitely knows what the door is for.  And now when he obviously needs to go out, I don’t shove him through the cat door anymore.  I just make him stand in front of it until he goes out by himself.  Which he does.  Eventually.  After he stares at it and sniffs at it and paws at it for a few minutes.  Now, he MUST go out it when I am not here because I actually went out of town last weekend and left him here, just hoping he would use the door, and when I came back there were no accidents around anywhere.  However, I have never seen him use it when I am home without a) yowling at me for an hour (or more), me ignoring it, and him finally giving up and very tentatively going out or b) me making him stand in front of it as I mentioned above because I get tired of listening to the yowling.  I will say that we keep having some understandable setbacks.  I moved out into the country.  There are things a city cat is not used to.  The day they came to bury the phone line, with much digging right next to the house, was probably the worst day of my cat’s life (or you would have thought so by his sheer terror).  And the turkeys are pretty horrific.  I mean, if you didn’t know there were birds twice your size and you saw 6 of them coming at you, wouldn’t you run back in your little cat hole? 

Anyway, I thought, initially, that my cat would love having his own door.  Oh, the freedom!  (For both of us!)  But he seems to think that going out this door is some sort of punishment or chore that I am making him do.  He has not grasped that he can come and go at will.  However, if I push the cat door open, he will walk through it.  It’s like because I am there when he wants to go out, he thinks I am just supposed to do all of the work for him, but when he is outside and I am not outside, he knows to do it all himself.

Thing to learn #1:  Just because something is routine does not mean it is necessarily the best way to do things.  Leo and I had a routine.  That routine has changed.  The change, if Leo lets it be, is for his benefit.  But he doesn’t like it because it is change. 

Thing to learn #2:  Sometimes we are supposed to do things for ourselves.  Sometimes God provides a door, but He really does want US to push it open and go through ourselves.  He gives us the freedom to choose, but instead of seeing the freedom, we see the work we must do in order to accomplish it.  Freedom comes with responsibility.  There is no freedom to come and/or go as you please without determining if coming and/or going is a good idea.  The nature of freedom is that YOU are the one making the decisions, which requires action, thought and foresight on your own part.  Freedom is not the easy road where someone else does everything for you.  I am not saying that God tells us to call our own shots in every situation.  Just saying that sometimes He does.  Because sometimes what we need, in order to discover what is good for us, is to make the decisions and follow through ourselves.  God is not being mean when He makes you do things for yourself.  He is saying, “Look!  Look what I have enabled you to do!”  It is taking a step forward in our spiritual maturity when God slowly gives us more and more responsibility and takes away the safety nets we have grown comfortable in.

Thing to learn #3:  Sometimes the thing God provides the door to is scary.  Sometimes it takes us out of our protective shelter and sends us into things that are unknown and frightening.  I think possibly that this is part of the reason He wants us to make our own decision to go through the door.  He wants us to come to a level of understanding where we can recognize that scary things are not necessarily bad things.  Unknown things are not necessarily bad things.  For instance, I know that the turkeys are probably not going to hurt my cat.  I mean, I guess if they got into a fight, I don’t know that he would win, but the likelihood of him getting into a fight with some turkeys is pretty slim, right?  He does not know this.  He just sees unknown creatures that are big enough to be a threat.  There are a lot of things out there that might look scary to us until we understand what they are…and Who is behind us.  Meaning God.  He’s got our back.  He doesn’t send us out a door unprotected or unready.  If we walk through a door unprepared, that is because we picked the door ourselves.  This does not mean that life will be peachy outside the door.  Just that whatever the thing is that He is sending us out the door to accomplish will be worth whatever risk we are taking by going out it.  And I warrant that going out the door will come to be enjoyable and rewarding, whatever the risks, once we let go of whatever it is out there that we fear. 

I feel like there are more things to learn from this, but I have to ponder a bit and it is time for me to get ready for church.  Ciao.



  1. jody said,

    November 21, 2007 at 8:17 am

    great analogy, connie! i enjoyed reading it!

  2. December 4, 2007 at 10:45 am

    […] The cabin has a cat door (which has been previously mentioned in Going OUT the Door).  You can read that post to see why that was a draw for me, and for your quick update on that […]

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