The Internal Anguish of a Housecat Named “Lunchbox”

Trevor Woods
3 min readDec 25, 2020
Photo Credit: De An Sun via Unsplash

I have a cat named Lunchbox. I know what you’re thinking. What’s the story behind your cat’s name? No worries, I know why someone would ask that question, well, because who would name their cat Lunchbox without some reasonable explanation?!

Poor cat, having to live his entire life being referred to as a random food container. I’ll save that story for another day.

The story I want to share with you today is an interesting dichotomy Lunchbox suffers through every day. It’s a dichotomy of deficiency and self-actualization.

First, you must understand that lunchbox is a housecat. He hasn’t developed his hunting or survival skills like many of the seasoned cats in the neighborhood, but he doesn’t know this. To him, he’s the king of his domain; the dominant hunter of mice; executioner of the random fly that escapes the dangers of the outside world. Little does the fly know, once he escapes the dangers of the outside world, a new danger lurks inside the house. Lunchbox lays waiting to pounce to protect his dominion — a four-bedroom house with no danger aside from my 7-year-old daughter’s frequent Lunchbox-makeovers — poor guy.

Despite the occasional humiliating kitty-makeover, Lunchbox still seems to have the confidence of any apex predator who has the dominance of their domain, but Lunchbox feels like the house is not enough…he craves for something more.

You see, lunchbox’s favorite spot in the house is the kitchen windowsill that provides a unrestricted view of the backyard, or as lunchbox imagines it, the “great and wild unknown.” When lunchbox rests upon his sill, he meows relentlessly. There really isn’t a way to explain this meowing properly.

It has depth. It has sorrow. It has pain.

He has an assortment of meows that communicates different things. You should hear his, “I want a kitty treat” meow, it’s pretty pathetic.

When Lunchbox is not meowing pathetically for kitty treats, he spends inordinate amounts of time upon his sill meowing and meowing and meowing and meowing…and meowing.

One day, I decided I’ve had enough. I said to lunchbox, “Ok bud, you think you can survive on your own out in the world?”

It was at that moment I decided it was time to let him explore the back yard. I wanted him to realize he’s not the lion he imagines he is. The stray cats, skunks, hawks, snakes, and other dangers were more than he can handle. I didn’t want my little guy to get lost, or worse, killed by some predator higher on the food-chain.

But, in my heart, I knew it was time for him to explore a little. The insatiable need to hunt and explore was breaking my heart.

My hope was the trip to the unknown would teach Lunchbox a valuable lesson in humility. So, I opened the door to let him satisfy his thirst for freedom and adventure. (with owner supervision of course)

Immediately after opening the back door, he stood at the doorway for a brief second, then he slowly walked towards the door’s threshold. As he cautiously creeped to the door’s edge in a stalking posture — his little nose frantically examining the plethora of new smells, pulsating in and out — the inundation of new sights and smells seemed too overbearing for the little guy.

It took some time (and a little encouragement from me) for Lunchbox to place his little cat paw across the door’s threshold for the first time.

As gratified as I thought I would feel after showing lunchbox some tough love, I didn’t. As soon as he stepped in the wild for the first time, I felt terribly guilty. Guilty, because I suppressed his instinct to hunt and to spread his seed among the female kitties within his domain…even though he can’t because he’s neutered, but still.

To this point, he only extended the boundary of his territory to a 3x3 foot space right outside the door, because as soon as he ventured outside, he got frightened and hid underneath the doorsteps. Apparently, he’s not psychologically equipped to survive in the world yet. So, we pick him up and bring him to safety to try again another day…it’s been a few months.

But, without fail, his instinct to hunt and patrol his domain calls every day. Meow, Meow….MEOOOOOOW!

--

--

Trevor Woods

I’m a Father, Husband, and Veteran. I write about Personal Growth, Mental Health, and Careers!