Guest Blogger Lorie Sheffer, Worry Wart

Cat playing on pool cover in melted ice
Winter worrying (photo: Lorie Sheffer)


Old habits are hard to break. Even when you think you’ve banished them, they tend to make a return appearance on occasion. They will eagerly slip back into our life if we open the door and ask them to join us.

For some reason, stray cats love me. Every so often, I will look out and there will be one or more, looking in the window as if there is some neon sign beckoning them: Food, Water and Kind Words; All Stray Cats Welcome; Inquire Within.

A few weeks ago The Brothers came to visit. They are two lovely gray males, surely displaced or dumped by their owners. I’ve posted their photos, hoping to find someone who would be willing to adopt them.

Winter in this part of Pennsylvania has been mercifully mild this year. March is here, and so the days will naturally become warmer and the nights less frigid. Still, there is the possibility of some wintry weather. In fact one of the biggest blizzards in memory came to us one March. And so one night last week, as I struggled to get to sleep, my own two cats (former strays, of course) snuggled into bed between my husband and me, I worried about The Brothers. Sleet pelted the windows and I could hear the wind slamming the branches of our magnolia tree into the side of the house. I came downstairs and looked out into the empty shelter. I scanned the yard for possible places where a cat or two could find a dry spot to spend the night. I didn’t sleep well, worrying the cats were wet and cold. The next morning I sat over my coffee, wondering where they were, anxious to make eye contact. Soon the strays appeared on the deck, knowing that breakfast would be served. I warmed their food, thinking it would take the chill off. Wind blew through their fur as they gratefully gobbled down two cans of the warmed cat food. At about eleven AM the sun came out, thawing the ice on our pool cover and turning it into a giant puddle. The water level beneath was so high that it was coming up through the mesh.

I showered and got ready to run errands. When I looked into the back yard, I saw them; The Brothers, those furry, sweet boys I had lost sleep over, were sitting in the puddle of icy water. How cold must it be? Yet they played in it all day, till just before sunset. They stepped on the cover and then jumped in the puddles as they formed around their paws. Once again, the old habit of worry had knocked on my door and I had more than willingly allowed it to enter. I sat puffy eyed and in need of a nap, watching those cats run and play in the icy water.

By jeff noel

Retired Disney Institute Keynote Speaker and Prolific Blogger. Five daily, differently-themed personal blogs (about life's 5 big choices) on five interconnected sites.