The other day I adopted a cat from the local animal shelter. It was a stressful experience for both of us. For me, because it was a big step to commit to sharing my home with someone I’d only met twice (and under difficult circumstances). For her, obviously, because it involved being shipped off in a carrier bag to an unknown place by a stranger. But now, as she is lying here in my arms, it seems neither of us needed to have worried. The only question that remains is: why ever did I wait so long? As a child my world was filled with cats. So much so, that the first word I uttered wasn’t the traditional ‘mum’ or ‘dad’ – but ‘cat’. They were my tribe: I spoke their language, they protected me. I’ve always felt out of sync when there aren’t any cats around. Over the years I’ve tried to fill that gap with other things. But it can’t compare to the sense of belonging and being at ease that I feel so instantaneously now. I realise that for the past couple of years I’ve been afraid of committing to someone. Afraid of having to give up my freedom. But commitment isn’t the opposite of freedom: committing to the right one allows your spirit to take flight.