I know what you’re thinking; all cats are important.
You are, as usual, right. (How do you do that?) But track with me and you’ll agree: some cats are exceptional at being important.
In my high school yearbook — maybe yours too? — seniors got to choose a quotation to appear under their mortarboarded portrait. There were always a lot of “Dance like nobody is watchings” and “Live, laugh, loves”, but one cliche has stayed on my heart after all these years.
I was a freshman; the quotation was chosen by a senior I knew only peripherally, a real Cool Guy with his own entourage and website and presidency of Youth in Government. He acknowledged my existence despite my freshmanity and my penchant for oversized hair bows. The quotation he chose was:
“It’s nice to be important, but it’s more important to be nice.”
Heavy stuff, I know.
But this, coming from the eminently important President of Youth in Government, said something. Still does.
Clearly, he was familiar with the ways of cats.
We all know plenty of self-important souls. (Some of them are even feline.) They are important, and it’s important to them that we know and remember and genuflect.
Meanwhile, true importance is flowering up through mud and trials and ooky eyes.
Lotus, one of the littles who launched our way all the way from Beirut, has every reason to feel important. She birthed two of the greatest kittens ever to walk this earth; she raised them to be strong and stellar; she made a scary journey of several thousand miles; she is arguably the single most adorable cat in the modern era.
But you won’t find either pomp or circumstance with this little tangerine. Lotus is far too busy being boisterously, beautifully, exuberantly nice. The instant you enter Suite B, Lotus is singing your song and your praises, announcing that she is elated you exist, and she loves you, and has anyone told you lately that you’re magnificent? She will continue meowing until you pet her, at which point she will continue meowing, and purring, and stretching her slinky sweet self for you to pet her as long as you like.
She is, quite possibly, the nicest living being you will ever encounter.
Well, not if you turn left exiting Suite B and swing into the Kitten Room. Lotus’s title will immediately be challenged by the least-challenging, most-cheerful, nicest living being you will ever encounter: Lex.
Lex, like Lotus, is inherently important. She came all the way from Baltimore, a kitten on the move despite her ooky, mysterious eye issues. Lex was so loved, so important, that she was one of just three fortunate felines chosen from a crowded shelter for Tabby’s Place. Her friends at the Baltimore shelter knew she was important.
But Lex was more concerned with figuring out to whom she could be nice. At every stage of her journey, up the coast and into Tabby’s Place, she squealed niceness, her tiny goopy eyes squinting with delight. Lex can hardly contain her excitement at the mere opportunity to be nice to you. She will follow you around the room, throwing niceness like confetti until you love her up, at which point her teeny-tiny being will grow a thousand times in size, taking over your field of vision and your very soul.
Powerful things happen in the presence of niceness.
Lotus and Lex’s niceness has made them very important in the lives of lesser creatures. Everyone has their favorites at Tabby’s Place, but Lex and Lotus are everyone’s favorites, the cats we turn to for comfort and cheer and the lift and light that only come from unselfish niceness. These two are focused on you, fully alive with friendship. Their orange coats must be due to their being aflame with affection. They are, simply, two of the nicest living creatures I have ever met.
They are very important.
They remind us that we are, too.
And we’re the most important when we’re the least concerned with that claptrap, with ourselves, with anything other than the niceness-needing person or cat or porpoise in front of us.
Be nice to each other, kittens.