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Opinion

Aging cat introduces feelings of regret at growing older

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April 24, 2014

For Christmas this past year, my little sister received a newborn kitten as a present from my older sister.

After a bit of begging and convincing my dad to let her keep it, she named it Tinsel, or Tinny. Now, I have always been more of a dog person, so I was not very happy with this new member of our family. I am not a cat person, but I am however, a human being and soon Tinny grew on me. I mean, how can someone resist a cute little kitten who just wants to cuddle?

Over the rest of winter break, I spent my days playing and cuddling with Tinny, and by the end I was convinced that I would actually miss her when I went back to school.

When I came back home for Easter, I was excited to see Tinny again, along with the rest of my family, of course.

But when I got home I noticed something different about her. Not only had she sadly grown into the size of a regular cat, but she acted different too. She no longer wanted to cuddle and she spent her days looking out the various windows in my house and meowing constantly.

She had also figured out several ways to sneak out of the house, including hiding until we open the door to let our dog go to the bathroom, and then quickly running out before we could react. This resulted in my family and I chasing Tinny around our neighbors’ yards, probably looking pretty foolish.

It became obvious to all of us that although we decided that Tinny was going to be an indoor cat, all she wanted was to be outside. Although I’m sure Tinny loves us and enjoys living in our house, the wild animal inside of her wanted to explore the woods behind our house and attempt to stalk and catch other small animals and birds.

Like Tinny, there comes a point in all of our lives where we feel an undeniable urge to go out and find something new. It doesn’t matter if we currently love our lives and the people around us, of course we do, but every so often the mind begins to get restless, perhaps without any rhyme or reason. You spend your days daydreaming perhaps of a different job, a different profession or a different town.

We get this itch every once and a while, especially at the end of high school and college, the need to go somewhere new and do something else with your life. When that happens, you have two choices. You can try to ignore the urge to explore something new or you can just do it.

I will be the first to say that change is scary. I mean, I can not tell you how scared I was to leave my familiar high school life and go to college. Now that I am here, I am scared for the next stage in my life. But if you are not a little afraid, then you have to wonder if you are living a life that is even worth living.

Tinny may be afraid that she is going to get hit by a car or get eaten by another animal, but at some point the reward of finding your own way outweighs the risks that sometimes keep us up at night. After all, if you do not move on from time to time to something new you are just a house cat looking out the window, wishing for something more.

Natalie Howell is an alumna of UW-River Falls. She was editor of the <em>Student Voice</em> during the 2016-2017 academic year.