I’ve just realized (yet) another way we differ from cats.
We are continually, perpetually, all of us, defending our lives.
I don’t mean in the “battle in the octagon” sense, although I suppose that’s one way of doing it.
I mean in the subtle, sly way we are all doing it, all day.
“Everybody wants a piece of me today.”
“I listen to everyone’s problems.”
“I have a bleeding heart.”
Sometimes it’s subtle, backwards, can’t-see-it-ourselves stuff.
“I’m just a cog in the wheel.”
“I’m an average writer.”
“There are much better people than me for the job/chance/great husband.”
The real cry is so close to the top, you can see the whole outline through the skin, even the moles and bumps — an insecurity here, a question there, a scaredy-dream lurking to the side.
I give more than I take. I’m more good than bad. I have value.
I exist. Please be glad I exist.
Please see me as I see myself.
Please see more than I see myself.
Please see me. Please.
Cats, though, have no time for twisting in the wind.
They are not concerned about being the best minds of their generation.
They would rather sleep than be trending topics on Twitter.
Their egos are iron.
Their self-image is sturdy, stubborn…sage.
Consider Paco. Our speckled, serious-faced boy might not seem the picture of pride, but stay with me here.
Hour after day after week, Paco pours forth love. There’s no trumpet tantara here, no waving of his arms or nominating himself for a CNN Hero award. He’s just quietly, healingly doing his thing, looking after bat-guano-crazy Bertie and soothing battier-guano-crazy Bubbles. He licks them. He spoons his substantial self around them.
He loves, with no expectation of admiration. He loves, without pointing it out. He humbles himself…and he is supremely exalted.
And while we’re exulting in exaltation, consider the XXL cats of Suite C. Walk into this hall of hulks and see what it looks like when someone doesn’t really care what you think of her.
Zencada and Lorelai lumber over, bellies bobbing.
Hailey opens her squinty eyes, making them almost visible on that hidey-harlequin face.
Virginia cocks an ear, contemplates unbeaching herself from the shore, and then…nah.
Different though these dino-sized cats may be, they are united in ambivalence. Sure, they’d like your attention. Sure, they’d love your edible offerings. But are they worrying about their worth in your eyes?
Um, is Feti Wap singing “Strangers In The Night” with Andrea Bocelli on your front lawn?*
So there you are with the cats. What do you see? How do you value them?
Are they priceless in your eyes?
Do you see all the good they do in the world?
Have they been weighed and found wanting?**
Do the cats give 1/10th of 1/100th of a fig?
The cats think along these lines:
You see me? Good for you, you’re not a moron!
You admire me? Good for you, you’re not a moron!
You came bearing food? YOU ARE A GENIUS AND YOUR BRAIN IS HYUUUUUUUUUUGE!
You don’t see/love/worship me? Your loss, loser.
Come to think of it, a Suite C cat’s inner monologue is perilously close to a Donald Trump speech. But I digress.
Find me a cat losing sleep over her public perception, and I’ll find you a clown who isn’t terrifying.
Maybe it’s time we all laid down our arms.
All the better to bear 500 pounds of bacon directly into Suite C.
*If he is, please let me know immediately. I’ll bring all the fat cats, and we’ll get some freaky awesome press for Tabby’s Place.
**OK, not so realistic in the case of the Suite C cats. Unless what you’re “wanting” is an aircraft carrier full of Sumo wrestlers.
Photo credits from de top: AT x2, Heather, Mark, Heather.