Ruthie and the New Guy

Just as Ruthie was getting settled into her new home (along with us) something very unexpected happened. Our daughter, Vicky, learned that a former roommate was moving away. She thought she had accommodations for her cat, a 10-year old male tabby named Boston, but the housing fell though and, at least temporarily, the cat needed a new home.

Vicky knew this cat from when they were roommates. He had a mostly sweet and mellow disposition, so she was happy to bring him home. There were just two problems. Boston was very traumatized, as a ten-year old cat, to lose his home and mistress and come to a strange place. He spent days forcing himself into tiny spaces and sitting stiffly, only sneaking out to eat a little and use the litter box.

Gradually he began to get over his fear and come out for rubbies and exploring. That was when the second problem erupted, literally. Ruthie was not happy to share her house and her people with an invader. She still bristles up, chases him, and sometimes goes at him with claws bared. However, they seem to be slowly adjusting to their life changes.

So what lessons did I learn from this phase of life with Ruthie? Just a few things.

Do life changes ever make you bristle? Check out these life lessons from Ruthie the cat. Share on X

5 Life Lessons from Ruthie and the New Guy

1. Change Isn’t Easy, But It Is Possible

We don’t like change, and the older we are, the harder it is to adjust. (Or even want to adjust.) As much as I love our new house, sometimes I want to crawl into a tiny space like Boston and not deal with the cleaning, the paying for stuff that a new house needs, and all the rest of the changes. God needs to grant us older people (based on cat years, Boston and I are about the same age) energy and focus to keep on working, and to want to face the world and its changes.

2. Hospitality Is The Key To Overcoming Jealousy

We get jealous and angry sometimes when someone demands a share of our time and our space. Ruthie is going through that right now, and in some ways so am I. I need to get the house shipshape and ready to show hospitality. We had some family and friends over a week ago, and our first try at entertaining went pretty well. But it really wiped me out, and I still wish I didn’t have to let others into my sanctuary. Hospitality is a strong principle in Scriptures and I need to get over that, just as Ruthie needs to learn to be hospitable to Boston.

3. Feeling Better Is Worth The Effort

Boston was pretty dull and droopy when we first welcomed him in. Gradually he has perked up and started grooming himself and looking healthier and more energetic. I am going through that too, trying not to spend so much time in dumpy old lady mode. I want to smile and dress up a little and look more attractive to attract people to my Lord. Boston and I are working on that together.

4. Life Changes, And That’s Okay

I need to stop being jealous of my time. For years hubby has been on the road as a trucker and I sleep alone a lot. Even when we are together I almost get annoyed when he wakes me up for a snuggle at night. Okay, yes, it’s not almost, I do get annoyed. And now I get awakened, sometimes several times a night, by kitties who need rubbies. (Yep. Both of them show up on the bed. That is the one place and time where they rarely get growly at each other.) You may say that I could just close my door, and I did that once or twice. But it’s better to learn a lesson I think God has for me here. I need to be generous with my time, even with my most jealously-guarded time, and know that people need me to be available as much as kitties do.

5. Change Takes Time

I really can grow in unselfishness because that is what God wants for me. Life gives us difficulties like big changes, invaders of our personal space, and general life adjustments that can be hard to put up with. But He wants to purify us, and that is seldom comfortable. It’s a process, and we have to give up impurities.

I am tempted to avoid hard jobs, to fight others over what I think of as mine, to fall into careless and sloppy ways when I don’t like how life is treating me, and I am especially guilty of being selfish with my time. Ruthie and Boston both have given me examples of my own failings. All three of us need to change our thinking. I hope the cats don’t beat me out in making such necessary life adjustments.

These cats are sharing some valuable life lessons. Share on X

Mary Findley

Mary C. Findley has poured her real life into her writing. From the cover designs inspired by her lifelong art studies to the love of pets and country life that worm their way into her historicals. The never-say-die heroes in her twenty-some fiction works are inspired by her husband, a crazy smart man with whom she co-writes science and history-based nonfiction. She’s a strong believer in helping others and also has books about publishing and the need to have strong standards in reading and writing.


Our feline friends teach us many lessons, from their days as a kitten to their quiet senior years. Along the way they keep us company, provide unconditional love, and share in the ups and downs of our lives. These 101 real-life stories will delight cat lovers of all kinds. You’ll laugh a lot, tear up at times, and nod your head in recognition as you read these tales about the wonderful experience of sharing life with a cat. Part of the proceeds go to support the work of American Humane, providing a better life for cats everywhere.

Chicken Soup for the Soul - Life Lessons from the Cat

20 Comments

  1. Thanks for introducing us to Boston, Mary! I was reading in Matthew this morning about when Jesus withdrew to be alone after finding out John the Baptist had died, and the crowd followed Him. Instead of being insistent for time to grieve, He got out of the boat and healed their sick. What an example to follow!

    1. Excellent words, Heather. Jesus was surely our example of unselfishness. Look at all the normal things He sacrificed for us.

    1. Thank you, Terri! I may compile the adventures of Ruthie and Boston into a book someday. They have taught me so much.

  2. Change is hard for all of us to accept! But my mindset is we can either run from it (but only for so long) or we can grow from it, and while it might be hard we will be better for it!

    1. Thanks, Amy. It’s true that I really didn’t expect a couple of cats to be my teachers! God is sneaky that way. 🙂

  3. I tend to really like change, but I notice that the older I get, the harder some changes are. I need to grow in unselfishness too–especially with my time.

  4. Oh man. I’m currently accepting hospitality in the form of living with my friends in their condo. Two families, nine people and three dogs in an apartment. I’m definitely very protective of my space and my time. I have no desire to share my sanctuary when I get my own home, or practice any semblance of hospitality. Thanks for the reminder that God’s will is not the same as my selfish desires.

  5. Aleida, I am being convicted so often about selfishness lately. Hoping I can share my lessons in progress. 🙂

  6. Cats have such interesting temperaments, hey? One of our cats sleeps on our bed every night – right by our heads. The other likes to be around us but hates being held. I like your point #5.
    Thanks for sharing on Grace and Truth.

    1. Yes, Boston sits by my head awhile some nights. Neither of them are lap cats and Ruth fights being held. We love them however they choose to love us. #5 is my big one, for sure. Thanks for commenting.

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