Inky the Cat

Note to readers: There is so much advice out there when it comes to marketing and building a successful business. I’ve consumed a LOT of that advice. Most of it is useful to a point. But I can’t shake the feeling that the person who wrote the advice is a very different person than I am.

I don’t love promoting myself. I don’t love “getting out there” unless “getting out there” means a hike in the mountains. I don’t love constantly hunting for new customers. I don’t want to crush it or kill it. I don’t want to hustle. Sometimes I feel like the people who are marketing and business development gurus are an entirely different species.

However, there is hope. I see people who are like me being successful entrepreneurs in the healing and in the arts. I choose to pay attention to what these people are doing rather than the people who love to hustle.

I wrote Inky the Cat as a reminder to those of us who don’t fit the mold that there are paths to success for us as well. And that part of this success requires us to be ourselves even if we don’t “fit” what others think we should be.

Please enjoy this story and add a comment to let me know how this story resonates with you.

Once upon a time there was a cat named Inky.

Inky was a really awesome cat. He was very handsome with shiny black fur and big green eyes. Inky was strong and graceful. When he jumped, he would land so lightly you wouldn’t know he was there. Best of all, he was very sweet. Inky loved to curl up in the lap of a favorite human and take a nap.

One day when Inky was outside enjoying the nice Spring day, he saw his neighbor, Ginger. Ginger looked very strange. Ginger was a big, orange, striped cat with yellow eyes. Today Ginger was wearing a costume which was made to look like a Black West Highland Terrier but mostly it looked like a big orange tabby cat trying to look like a West Highland Terrier.

“Hi Ginger,” said Inky (if you heard Inky it would have sounded like “meow, meow” because that’s how you say “Hi, Ginger” in cat language.)

“Woof woof,” said Tiger.

“Why are you talking in dog language, Tiger?” asked Inky, “And why are you wearing that stupid dog costume?”

“Oh darn,” said Tiger (in cat language) “How did you know it was me?”

“Because I can see your orange tail,” said Inky “West Highland terriers have stubby little tails and you have a long orange tail. But why would you try to be a West Highland terrier? You’re a cat!”

“You don’t pay any attention to what’s going on,” said Tiger. “Don’t you know? People don’t want cats as pets anymore. People want to have dogs. Cats are out and dogs are in, especially West Highland terriers. So I thought if I look like a West Highland terrier, my humans will want to keep me around.”

“Your humans like having a cat. They like you,” said Inky.

“Maybe,” said Tiger. “But they want a dog even more. I heard Dylan ask his mom for a dog yesterday.” Dylan was the boy Tiger lived with.

“Maybe they want a dog and they want a cat, too,” said Inky.

“I don’t know,” said Tiger. “But I’m going to be a dog just to make sure.”

“OK,” said Inky. “Have fun being a dog, then.”

But what Tiger said about dogs being more popular made Inky a little worried.

Was that true? Would his humans like him more if he was a dog instead of a cat?

Inky did some research. He watched what other cats in the neighborhood were doing and many of the cats were walking around in dog costumes. They were trying to bark like dogs and even do tricks like dogs.

“This is really hard work,” said the Kitty Thompson, who lived across the street and was in a Jack Russel Terrier costume. Have you ever tried to walk like a dog walks? It’s not easy!

“is it really worth it?” asked Inky.

“Oh yeah,” said Kitty Thompson. “Are you kidding? My humans are taking me on their next camping trip! And you should see how much more food I get!”

“But you hate car rides and they’re feeding you dog food,” said Inky.

“Yeah, that’s true” Kitty Thompson admitted, “But I’m going to meet lots of dogs at the camp grounds and I’m building a huge network! And I’m getting way more food than all the other dogs,”

“Why is it good to get more stuff that you don’t really like anyway?” asked Inky

“Because it means I’m better than a lot of other cats and dogs!” said Kitty Thompson, who was clearly getting annoyed with Inky’s questions. “Look, if you want to keep being a cat, fine. I’m just telling you how great things are being a dog.”

“By the way,” added Kitty Thompson, “My name is Doggy Thompson, remember that for now on.”

Inky couldn’t help wondering if Tiger and Kitty Thompson were right. He liked being a cat but he felt like he was missing out on even better things. Things that dogs got. 

So Inky decided he would be a dog and get all the great things he could get as a dog.

To make sure he succeeded, Inky hired a dog to be his coach.

Coach Scout, was a big black lab who lived down the block. Scout told Inky “You’re very lucky I have time to work with you. I have a waiting list of cats who want to hire me.”

Inky felt he was very lucky, too.

Scout was very expensive. Inky paid Scout with two freshly caught mice every month. But Scout had created a “fail-proof” system and if Inky followed the system, he would become an amazing dog in record time.

Scout told Inky that the system was based on lots of research. “I’ve watched all the top dogs and I know what works and doesn’t work. I have a 100% success rate,” Scout said proudly. 

Scout instructed Inky to buy an expensive dog costume. “You should get a Corgi costume,” suggested Scout. Did you know that Corgis are the favorite dogs of the English royal family?” 

“Wow,” thought Inky, “the Queen has Corgis!”

Scout also had Inky hire a special barking coach so that Inky’s barking would sound authentic.

“I strongly recommend that you leave your humans,” said Scout.

“I like my humans,” said Inky.

“Yes, but you want to find even better humans,” said Scout. “Humans who want dogs are better than humans who think cats are good enough. Humans who want dogs will feed you more and do all kinds of cool things with you like take you on car rides, play catch with you, and buy you clothes.”

“That sounds really great,” said Inky. 

The truth was big portions of dog food, car rides, and doggie jackets weren’t things Inky wanted but if Scout thought these were valuable things to have and his other kitty friends agreed, then he should appreciate these things, too.

To find new humans, Scout told Inky to visit the doggie park three times a week.

One day at the doggie park, a human boy saw Inky (dressed of course in the Corgi costume) and asked his mother if he could take Inky home

So Inky was now the family dog!

“Wow,” said Tiger, “You are SO lucky!”

Inky felt lucky and he felt he should appreciate his good fortune. But the truth was life as a dog wasn’t so great and he didn’t like his new human owners very much.

“Harry, sit” said Billy, the human boy who brought Inky home. Billy and his family decided they would call Inky “Harry” after Prince Harry because it was the perfect name for a Corgi.

But Inky couldn’t sit like a dog. He wanted to curl up like a cat.

“What’s wrong with that dog?” asked Billy’s father. “That’s the dumbest dog I’ve ever seen. It can’t do anything.”

“It buries it’s poop in my flower beds,” complained Billy’s mom. What kind of dog does that?

Inky tried as hard as he could to be an awesome dog for Billy’s family. But no matter how hard he tried he kept falling short.

“You should go to doggy training camp,” said Scout, “You’ve gotta be willing to do whatever it takes to make this happen.”

Inky was thinking maybe he just wasn’t cut out to do the dog thing. But when he mentioned this to Kitty/Doggy Thompson and Tiger they were appalled.

“Are you kidding me?” said Doggy (formerly known as Kitty) Thompson. You’re so close to being the family dog. Don’t give up now. You just need to work harder.”

“And you’re working with Scout!” said Tiger, “All I hear is how amazing he is.”

One day while Inky was at the doggy park, he noticed a grey cat watching him.

“Why are you staring at me,” asked Inky?

“Because you look so unhappy,” said the other cat. 

“I am unhappy,” said Inky. I don’t like hanging out with dogs or cats that are pretending to be dogs. I don’t like running and doing tricks and sniffing dog butts. It’s just not my thing at all.”

“My name is Missy, by the way,” said the grey cat. “You don’t look like a dog. Are you a cat?”

“Yes, I’m a cat,” said Inky.

“Why don’t you hang out with cats and humans who like cats if you’re a cat?”

“Because dogs have it a lot better than cats,” said Inky, “I didn’t want to miss out on all the great stuff that dogs have.”

“If it’s so great then why aren’t you happy?” asked Missy.

“That’s true,” admitted Inky, “I guess no matter how great these things are, if I don’t like them, they aren’t great at all, at least not for me.”

“Do you have humans?” asked Missy?

“Yes,” said Inky “I live with humans who let me live with them because they wanted a dog but they don’t like me very much because they don’t think I’m a very good dog. I don’t like them very much either because I’m a cat and I’m not very good at dog things.”

“Did you have humans who liked you when you were a cat?”

“Yes, I did,” said Inky. “The humans who I lived with as a cat liked me a lot. I guess I thought they weren’t good enough because they wanted a cat not a dog.”

“Do you think you would be happier if you went back to being a cat and living with the humans who thought you were an awesome cat?” asked Missy

“Maybe,” said Inky. “I’m going to have to think about it a little.”

Inky decided he should first talk to Scout because Scout was really smart and had a lot of experience. Scout would know what to do.

Scout was worried about Inky going back to being a cat.

“Why would you want to do that? asked Scout, “You’re doing really well. You just need to have a better attitude. Be more grateful for what you have.”

That night, Inky’s human’s had guests over. The other family had two little girls who tried to dress Inky up in doll clothes and called him their “baby.”

“Stop it,” Inky yelled when one of the little girls tried to tie a baby bonnet on his head, “you’re crushing my ears!”

Of course the little girl didn’t hear Inky say “Stop it?” She just heard Inky hiss and started to cry when Inky scratched her with his claws.

“Bad, bad dog!!” yelled Billy’s mother. “You go outside you naughty dog.”

Billy’s father threw Inky outside into the back yard. It was a cold, rainy night and Inky huddled beneath the porch trying stay dry.

Do I really want to keep doing this,? he wondered. Yes, dogs have it good but what good is having dog stuff if I don’t really like dog stuff. Plus, I have to work so hard and I’m not even very good dog. How much longer can I keep doing this?”

Inky decided he was going to give up trying to be a dog. He would go back to being a cat.

When he told Scout, Doggy Thompson, and Tiger, they all told him he was making a big mistake. He would regret it after working so hard to be a dog.

But Missy agreed with him. “Just because your friends want to be dogs doesn’t mean you have to. You should do what’s right for you.”

So Inky went back to his humans who loved him as a cat. His humans were very happy to see him.

“Dad, dad, Inky’s back,” cried the human girl, Sarah.

“We missed you Inky!” said Sarah’s dad, “Where did you go?”

“I’m just glad you’re back, Inky,” said Sarah. 

And after a nice bowl of cat food and getting lots of love from his family, Inky curled up with Sarah when she got tucked into bed. “I love you, Inky,” said Sarah sleepily, “You’re the best cat in the world.”

“That’s purrfect,” thought Inky happily, “That’s exactly what I want to be.”

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