If you’re reading this blog, you probably don’t need this reminder.
But, just in case: never underestimate the wisdom of the cat.
Recently, a wise volunteer and I were reflecting on what separates human beans from felines. We concluded that the differences are two:
- Opposable thumbs
- The ability to use tools
If we expand the definition of “tools” to include, say, “sound psychosocial strategies for better living,” #2 falls away.
A visit to Suite C confirmed this for me today.
Suite C, of course, is the Land of the Titans, the Stomping Ground of the Substantial, the Weight Management Suite where “management” includes contacting the International Seabed Authority, since there’s real risk of the entire continental shelf shifting under the weight of one room in New Jersey.
The collective weight of Suite C’s residents is approximately 51 metric tons. The collective weight of Suite C’s egos exceeds 51,000,000 metric tons. There is a heavy need for sound psychosocial strategies for better living in Suite C.
I am not overstating my case, kittens.
Suite C (barely) contains the likes of one Archer, a cat so charming he could broker world peace, yet so volatile he sports a safety-orange collar, as in, “for your own safety, prepare to be bitten like a big beady-eyed McNugget.”
Suite C contains the likes of one Faye, a cat so imperious she could make Kim Jong Un submit to her authority with one glamorous glass-green gaze.
Suite C contains the likes of one Elijah, who is far sweeter than his prophetic namesake, but so large he could probably end you without intending it. (Which he wouldn’t, because he is 100% marshmallow. But it’s hard not to be dangerous when you weigh 14 metric tons.)
Suite C contains tremendous, titanic, thirty-ton Trillian.
And so it is to everyone’s elephantine advantage that Trillian is equipped with certain tools.
A gentle glutton, this globular tuxedo is generally a quiet soul. She’ll gobble up your affection like a bottomless bag of Funyuns, but she’s not a cat who clamors for much of anything (except Funyuns and/or Fancy Feast; no fussiness here). Trillian thrives on coexistence. If the peacemakers are truly blessed, all reverence St. Trillian the Large.
But, lest we underestimate the wisdom of the cat, may we remember: room-filling meekness is a tool of the great.
This was what I beheld when I bumbled into Suite C this morning. I slipped into the room, and the axis of the Earth lurched to one side as Trillian, Candace and Snoop all thundered my way. Candace’s eyes fired arrows in all directions but mine, as she was clearly not in the mood to share the human. Snoop swayed with sumo-sized uncertainty. Aloft on the ramp, Archer loomed, looking like an adorable turkey vulture but contemplating death from above.
They all stared at each other. This was decidedly Not Good.
And then, and then…Trillian’s eyes filled with something I can only describe as total tenderness. Her gaze softened. Her face relaxed. There was no fear here, no submission, no backing down — only the strength that comes from true gentleness. She was somehow turning the other cheek to three tremendous cats at once.
And she somehow succeeded in soothing everyone.
Without any slinky, low-to-the-ground groveling or any other signs of snark and fear and resentment, the former combatants eased off in different directions. In an angelic instant, Tristan had calmed all the cattle-sized cats around her. Everyone got their opportunity for love and snuggles; no cat was injured in the production of this visit.
Don’t tell me cats can’t use tools.
Perhaps we could get a bit better at wielding such plowshares ourselves.