By Nancy J. Farrier
I am always a happy camper when my kids visit. I especially enjoy hanging out with my daughters. We talk non-stop, going from one topic to another, and we share a lot of laughs.
A couple of weeks ago three of my daughters and I went out shopping and then stopped for tea. While we were in the car, my youngest daughter began telling us about a person she knew who, having never been around animals at all, decided he wanted a cat. He spent a LOT of money to have a certain type of kitten shipped to him, but then knew nothing about how to feed or care for the animal.
I had heard this story before but this time she had another episode in cat care to add. When I tuned in to the story, as she talked to her sister, it went something like this:
“So, the kitten went in to get neutered because it was the right age, but we are all upset because the vet insisted on keeping the kitten in a coma for two weeks. Nothing we’ve been able to say will convince this man that he shouldn’t do that.”
My youngest daughter’s statement elicited outrage from her sisters and from me. I tried to keep from saying much as I pictured this poor kitten in a continual comatose state. Surely, that couldn’t be good for the poor thing.
My daughter went on to tell how a mutual friend tried to find out the name of the vet who would allow such treatment, but the kitten’s owner refused to divulge that information. She and her friend were horrified, but couldn’t do anything. She said, “Who keeps a cat in a coma for two weeks just because they’ve been neutered?”
When she came to the point in the story where she said they convinced the owner to take the cat out of the coma when he was home and only put it in when he left, I lost my temper. I couldn’t imagine any medical professional allowing this.
I turned to look at her from the front passenger seat. “I think he should be reported to the police. This is abuse and the police will be able to find out the vet’s name. How could they ask this man to administer medication at home that would keep the cat in a coma?” I was furious.
Silence settled in the car as we pulled into a parking spot. Then one of my daughters laughed and the rest joined her. My youngest said, “Mom, I said they put the kitten in a cone, not a coma.”
Embarrassment and relief rushed through me. A cone. Not a coma. The picture in my mind changed from that of a limp kitten to one where an indignant cat glared up at me. While the idea of a cat in a cone for long term is still offensive, since they wouldn’t be able to clean themselves, I didn’t see it as life threatening.
I know there are other times when I’ve heard someone say something and misinterpreted, or misunderstood. I’ve found it’s best to do the following before spouting off and getting angry.
- Don’t say something you will regret. Take time to consider what you heard to see if it’s worth being upset or offended over.
- Spend time listening to God and asking His advice. God always hears not only the correct conversation but He also understands the intent of the heart.
- Forget or Act. Depending on the first two steps, sometimes I’ve realized what I heard didn’t amount to anything. Once in a great while, I have trouble letting something go. Then I find it best to go to the person and talk to them one-on-one if at all possible. Many hurt feelings and disagreements can be avoided using these steps and by approaching a person with humility.
I’m hoping the next time I hear something like “they put the cat in a coma for two weeks,” I will ask if I heard that right before I get furious for no reason.