Cats are capable of great feats.
There are, however, certain activities they do not, will not, shall not do. Not for you, not for me, not for QuestLove and all the Roots.
They will not watch The Bachelor.
They will not listen to music from Paul McCartney’s solo career.
And they will not, most assuredly not, worry.
We, as you know all too well, are a different species. We will do all three of those things, and suffer accordingly.
But dunderheaded though we are, we’re not entirely ineducable…and the cats will never give up on teaching us their ways.
I thought of this recently while hanging out with Sherlock and Joan. Sherlock and Joan, for anyone unfortunate enough not to have hung out with Sherlock and Joan, are four collective pounds of pointy-faced perfection. They are currently the only residents of our kitten room, and they own every inch of it. Sit down for
five minutes an eleventh of a femtosecond, and they shall leap upon you over and over and over and over and over and over and over again.
They have only spent eight weeks on this planet, but they have endured much. Their madre either didn’t make it or didn’t want them, making them two very vulnerable puffs in the wild. Then they came to Tabby’s Place, which was the most wonderful but strange thing they’d never dreamed of. Next it was off to a phenomenal foster home, but just when they’d gotten used to that, it was back to Tabby’s Place. And why?
Perhaps we’d give them bacon?
Perhaps we’d award them a life-sized candy head of Lionel Richie?
Let’s try option 3: we’d remove their reproductive organs, at no cost to them.
Life was proving itself strange.
Just when all the strange started to settle and the Kitten Room seemed like a cool forever fort, Dr. C found something amiss. Sherlock has something going on with his ears that my nonmedical brain shall simply refer to as The Funk. It is likely — almost certain — that good medication and vigilant treatment will bring out da noise and bring out The Funk, but it’s possible that something sinister is going on here. But, that worry’s down the road a bit.
Then there’s the certain separation that we — the humans — know is coming for them — the kittens. Joan is being adopted.
By a very nice family.
Who is not also taking Sherlock.*
Sherlock does not know this. Joan does not know this.
All they know is that, today, they are in the Kitten Room together, with me, and
they we are leaping, and jumping, and alive. There is air around us to breathe. There is smushy smelly wet food to eat/walk through. There are toys to bite and shoes to bite and dragons to chase. (Humans don’t see the dragons, but that’s what kittens are for: to take out the dragons only they can see. We don’t know how lucky we are for this service.)
Actually, I take that back. Sherlock and Joan do know more than today’s joy. They’ve been through enough that they know, somewhere in the minds that are bigger than their almond-sized brains give them credit for, that life can be funky.
They know. But they don’t worry. They won’t worry. Tomorrow and tomorrow’s trouble will be tolerable tomorrow. They’ll have the grace they need to get through it — gleefully — when the time comes. Sufficient for each day is its own grief and grace. Cats may grow all manner of lumps and bumps, but you’ll never see them sporting worry warts. That’s our peculiar ailment…if we choose to let it grow.
And it is — even as I know I’m a hypocrite for writing this — our choice. Worry is not inevitable. It’s also not productive. Earlier this month, the meteorology monsters claimed that our corner of New Jersey was cruising for an “Oklahoma-like weather event.” (They were not referring to when the wind comes sweepin’ down the plain.) They used words like “convection” and “straight line winds” and “WE ARE ALL GOING TO DIE.”
Did I worry? Yes, I did.
Did we have 70 mph winds and apocalyptic chaos? No, we did not.
Worrying: once again, a warty waste of my time. I should have just asked the cats.
But what’s that — you’re worrying on someone else’s behalf? Spare them…especially if they’re a cat. Remember Adelaide, the calico champion who almost certainly had extremely bad cancer on her hairless nose? Did you worry about that? I did. Maybe you are not as much of a dunderhead as I am.
Is not cancer.
It is not flesh-eating bacteria.
It is not a tiny alien attempting to break through her schozzola.
It is harmless, curable, already-on-the-mend inflammation.
It is a result of sun exposure.
It is temporary.
It is…essentially nothing.
If Addy knew we worried, she’d be more embarrassed for us than if she saw our Backstreet Boys poster collection.
So fear not, my fellow warts. We can choose differently next time. Kittens and saints are not fearless because trouble doesn’t exist, but because joy always comes in the morning.
*Yes, I realize this calls their classification as “nice” into question. I assure you they are nice. If you are worried about Sherlock, please reread this blog post twice and call me in the morning.
Top thumbnail by Jess B, the rest by AT, who is awarding herself the Presidential Medal of Awesomeness for getting any photos at all while being besieged by Sherlock and Joan’s love. This work ain’t easy, dearies.