Alfred Hitchcock filmed The Birds in Bodega Bay, California. My pal Dusty and I stayed in the cat-friendly Bodega Harbor Inn facing the bay and left the door open to the courtyard so we could enjoy the breeze and sound of the ocean. We hoped to see sea lions, but alas, not this time.

I had a client’s newsletter on my agenda, but the wifi was dodgy and progress was slow. Waiting for a page to load I listened to the ocean breeze and brewed a cup of tea. Dusty was having better luck with her iPad’s data connection, but let’s not get started on that sensitive subject. Bandwidth, give me bandwidth!

The tabby who owned the place

A tabby sauntered in, jumped on each of our beds as if to welcome us to her abode, and eventually laid across my laptop so that no pesky work got in the way of a chin scratch and back rub. California cats and Carolina cats certainly have that tactic in common. I wondered if this cat had shrewdly sized me up as an animal lover or if she just assumed an air of chin-scratch entitlement with everyone.

Speaking of animal lovers, Mark Twain, whom I adore, had a particular fondness for felines. He observed, “If you shamefully misuse a cat once she will always maintain a dignified reserve toward you afterward—you will never get her full confidence again.”

What if we treated people who’ve burned us with the dignified reserve of a cat instead of shrewish backbiting and revenge-seeking? I bet there’s a relationship to which you can apply this cat wisdom today. I’ll be doing my best, too.

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