With a few notable exceptions (genocide, using the phrase “dad bod,” putting vegan cheese in baked ziti), I’m inclined to agree with John Lennon.
Whatever gets you through the night is all right. (It’s all right.)
On the midnight-blue sea of 2020, many of us have taken comfort in the meaningless but mirthful buoys of online purchases. Although I have gallons of guilt about “comfort shopping,” I also recognize that there’s a legitimate place for a little Amazonian self-care. On that great modern solemnity known as Prime Day, I purchased one acorn-scented candle, one book by G.K. Chesterton, and one pair of sneakers guaranteed to make me resemble an elderly mall-walker.
Also one $4.99 egg poacher. And three microfiber sponges. And ten cans high quality mushrooms (no, I am not making this up, and Target will ship them to you free, which makes no sense, but I digress).
I would turn to the cats to grant me absolution, but they wouldn’t understand the request.
Cats are magnificently understanding creatures, but their empathy ends when it comes to guilt over self-care, or self-indulgence, or self-centeredness of any sort. There are many ways in which cats will help us along the path to sainthood, but “encouraging self-denial” ain’t one of them.
In fact, I have it on unimpeachable feline authority that they actively endorse comfort shopping.
Especially when it comes to cat shopping.
I’m not talking the purchase of self-warming cat mats or carriers that look like intergalactic travel pods (although there is a very legitimate place for both of those items). I’m talking about shopping for actual cats.
Yep, I’m looking right at you. I know you’ve done it. In the dark of the night or the too-tiny wee hours of the morning, you’ve found yourself clicking on “Adoptable Cats,” hitting “sort by newest” and then “refresh,” and scanning the faces for the soulmate who will make you feel better.
It’s OK. We all need to feel better right now.
Maybe Pluto‘s face will suddenly shoot you beyond the Milky Way, sending you soaring through memories of the first black cat you loved.
Perhaps the tastiest trinity of McNugget, McFlurry and McMuffin will whet your appetite for the kind of chaos and comfort only a kitten (or three) can offer.
Or maybe you’re the sacred sort of soul who gets immediately bitten by the face of a Mr. Dracula, all bones and medical mysteries and fragile glory. The ones who need you are the ones that you need most.
You may never add them to your cart. You may never complete the checkout process. But, on the right nights and the right wee mornings, you corral some comfort just from the thrill of the hunt.
Just be careful, kittens. Shop long enough and you will close the deal.
And you will be comforted.
Shop on. Shop early. Shop often. And may the faces and the imaginings and — if we’re all lucky — the adoptions bring you comfort and joy.
Whatever adopts you from the darkest night is alright.