The Feral Heart

cats freedom heart Mar 11, 2020

By Doug Snyder

A gray stray appeared at our patio door last fall. It was feral, fearful from the harshness of living outdoors. Several head scars unveiled the probable cause of it’s wildly vigilant state. I imagined threats and encounters with other cats, dogs, coyotes, and occasional eagle. It took 4 months of patient coaxing to earn “gray cat’s” trust. 

Our relationship progressed from feeding to petting, receiving medicine to entering the house. Eventually the cat relaxed enough to take a nap on my chair. The naming also evolved, from “cat” to “gray cat” to “holy smoke” to “Diesel.” 

This process is not isolated to animals. The human heart is feral too. It leans wild. At the same time, it longs to relax, to be at rest, to be “home.” It takes the heart time to learn trust, to move from wild to domesticated, from roaming free to finding “home.”

Is being free and domesticated...

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