There are three kinds of animal lovers: (1) cat people, (2) dog people, and (3) a small percentage that are both cat and dog people. I have recently joined the third group. I have always been a dog lover and adopted a “working cat” to help with chipmunk control in my garden. I didn’t expect to fall in love with Molly, but she quickly taught me that cats can be cool. She turned out to be a great hunter (bringing me dead chipmunks in various stages of dismemberment) and became an essential part of the family. Then one day, Molly didn’t come home and it stretched out to several days and weeks. I was heartbroken. A few weeks later, I decided to adopt two kittens from a local breeder of Maine Coon cats. Maine Coons make good outdoor cats. Their long hair and raccoon-like tails protect them from the long New England winters. There was a young adult cat named Boots that nobody wanted. Once cats are no longer kittens, their chances of being adopted are pretty slim. Boots lived in a house with 14 other cats, mostly kittens. New litters of kittens would come and go, but Boots was still there. She was shy and didn’t get a lot of attention. She just blended into the background. Then I came along and felt bad for her and brought her home.
For the first two weeks, Boots hid in the basement. The kittens were upstairs in the main house at the center of attention and Boots was the proverbial “scaredy-cat.” What was she scared of? She had just hit the jackpot and didn’t know it:
- Better ratio of humans to cats (1:3 compared to 1:14).
- More area to roam in a bigger house.
- New playmates, including other cat buddies and a dog.
- Wet cat food every night.
- New opportunities to go outdoors for the first time.
Boots didn’t know about all these wonderful things because she was scared—afraid of change like many of us when suddenly faced with a new environment or owner. After a fashion, she warmed up to the other animals and me. She learned that change is not always bad. In fact, life is pretty good here on the Murphy farm. She has proven herself as a hunter (five mice and counting), and is teaching the “kids’” and getting accustomed to the good life. How cool is that? Next time you find yourself being a “scaredy-cat,” come out of the basement and see if the change might be good! I don’t share the pervasive view of doom and gloom in healthcare. Granted, things are changing, and we can’t see the future as clearly as we’d like. I still see lots of opportunity for clinical laboratories to drive new revenue and margin. We are becoming more entrepreneurial, efficient, and customer-focused—a better version of ourselves. Change is difficult. We want the good parts of it but not the bad. Sydney J. Harris summed it up perfectly: “Our dilemma is that we hate change and love it at the same time; what we really want is for things to remain the same but get better.” Kathleen A. Murphy, PhD Chief Executive Officer Chi Solutions, Inc.