dried sunflower stalks on a foggy October morning in our Topsham garden

Lately, I’ve been thinking about my relationship to our cat Toshi. Toshi came to us three years ago at this time of the year. She was a tiny ten-week-old ball of fluff. Ever since she was a kitten I trained her to wear a harness. The harness allows me to snap a leash on and take her outdoors. I don’t walk Toshi. She walks me. Just about every morning she stares me down as I pour my coffee. She waits patiently, then sits while I snap the harness around her neck and belly. Off we go on a fresh air adventure in the yard. We have some biodiversity on our suburban half-acre–woods in the back, a wild garden on the side, and some green out front that passes for lawn. While roaming the terrain, Toshi hunts while I take time to observe. Keeping her in sight, I also take in the light through the tree branches, birdsong, and the all the stirrings of the morning.

I’ve come to look forward to our morning ritual. Going outside and watching Toshi has helped me accept that she is more of a wild thing and less of a companion animal. I’ve had cats before who enjoyed their lap time. This one is rarely in cuddle mode. Such is the luck of the draw when you take in a pet from the animal shelter. I try to respect her wild nature while also protecting the birds and wildlife that are native to Maine.. As a well-fed house pet, Toshi has no real need to kill for sustenance. Respecting her ways requires patience and attention. It’s a delicate balance, as are so many things we practice. I’m grateful for her presence and her wild spirit. Seeing the world through her cat eyes has deepened my connection to all wild things.

Toshi in the garden, August 2020
Toshi in the wild flower garden, Topsham, summer 2020