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Astro taught me something about bias

Updated: Aug 19, 2021

I have a black cat. That alone is cause for suspicion for some. I admit I never liked cats as a child. I know now that it’s because my parents didn’t like cats. My mom actually despises them! She thought all cats were sneaky, dirty, evil. So, before I had ever even met a cat, I envisioned them to be sneaky, dirty, evil creatures.

While growing up, some of my friends had cats and they loved their furry little pets. I tried to understand it then but I was too cautious of them to really give the felines a chance. I was scared. I was taught to be scared of them. I was told to not like them.

Fast forward to my 30's when I had a huge and successful garden in Las Vegas and needed a mouser. I really needed a roof ratter, as the city rodents were enjoying my crops nightly. Along come Astro ! My feline hero to the rescue - well not immediately - cause Astro was only 8 weeks old at the time and sat comfortably in the palm of my hand. An adorable, fluffy black kitty with a white star around his private area - the only break from his blackness.

This is where it started for me - I was the mama of not only a cat, but a black cat! Given my limited experience with cats, and my inherent caution around them, Astro spent his first few weeks sleeping inside a mailbox placed next to the vegetable garden. He thrived back there! I taught him which sandy area of the yard he could use as his litter box. Up until this time, I was a dog owner so training pets is what I knew to do. Astro was smart, like really smart! He learned his name and to come when asked to in just a few months. He also learned at a young age to defend his yard. He was a good 'mouser' and a neighborhood tough guy.

I’m grateful to have broken the cycle of kitty racism that was in our family. Both my brother and sister have also learned to appreciate and even adore cats now. Our mother still doesn’t trust them. Her loss.

Astro taught me to learn by experiencing, that there is good in opening up my heart to something new. Bias of all kinds are taught to us, not something we are born with.

Please comment with something your pet has taught you! They really do teach us a lot about love, and more.

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