There is a robust debate as to which human popularized the phrase “living my best life.” Contenders range from Snoop Dogg to Joel Osteen, with a strong case to be made for Oprah.
But at Tabby’s Place, we know with absolute certainty where the phrase truly originated: cats.
Let’s consider this word by word, as demonstrated by one Chloe Rosenberg.
Chloe knew one sweet life for 13+ full years. She knew love, which is life, and she was strong in its embrace.
Then came the terrible turn, more a hard crank than a simple “twist” of fate. Her father-man was suddenly, savagely down-and-out; there was no way he could keep his feline beloveds; not even his flood of tears could turn the tide or lift the Good Ship Chloe.
Life, as Chloe knew, it ended.
Life, for a shaggy aging calico, is not guaranteed.
Yet life goes — gloriously, grace-fully, and rather loudly — on.
Chloe came to Tabby’s Place, swiftly making it, and us, her own. With scratchy meows to shake the skies, she’s a rolling pin of back-and-forth bliss in the solarium. If you pet her, she will adore you, but if you don’t, she will still live and roll and rejoice.
There is no denying that Chloe is no spring kitten. There’s that ring of clouds in her eyes, the sticky-uppy fur that no brush will fully smooth, chicken legs where once kitten plumpness pranced. Chloe looks every day of her 14-ish years.
Chloe is hardly aware of, much less horrified by, this process. Chloe does not wring her hands over the fact that she can’t afford La Mer night cream, nor is she filled with shame when she compares herself to Helen Mirren at the equivalent age. She did not watch the shirtless-Brad-Pitt scene in Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood and think, “I should really start working with a trainer.”
She does not need training. She does not need anti-aging or anti-anything. She is fully in possession of her fullness of years, and if she even cares to catch a glimpse of herself, her observation will be, “My, my, my, I am pleased with the me that I am.”
None of us who have lived past the age of six can say with a straight face that ours is the best of all possible worlds. But Chloe is determined to make hers the best of all possible lives.
Not the life before.
Not the life ahead.
This very peculiar, precious, pain-pricked, wonder-struck life of the now.
Now is the time when the sun is baking her fur. Now is the time when some sweet volunteer is answering her every meow with a “and then what?” Now is the time when fish mush is arriving — o mirabile dictu! — and the light is changing colors, and the squirrels are teasing in Cherny’s Garden, and who in their right mind could question that this life is the best?
We are, all of us, alive. But we have the choice, moment by imperfect moment, as to how much we want to juice this life. Chloe is in the camp who takes the great bright orb of life between her paws and squeezes hard.
It’s messier that way. It’s delicious that way. It’s honest and holy and LIFE that way.
Available every hour.
Your move, kittens.