As far back as I can remember, when I was growing up, we always had some kind of pet at our house. My sister was the person who had a deep love for animals, especially strays, and would bring them in, care for them and incorporate the various pets, cats being the most preferred animal, within our household.
Over the years I, too, loved those sweet animals, but it was the cat I liked the best. Yet, ironically, when I moved into a place of my own, I never considered bringing a domestic animal into the house. Not even when the kids started asking if they could have a cat, or more enthusiastically, a dog.
“No. No. No.” I’d always say when asked.
Until the day Brad showed me a picture of a kitten, a multicolored bundle of fur. And her twin, a dark-haired beauty, both with green eyes. Not only did Brad beg and beg, but so did Roberto. They worked me. And it worked. Maybe because the boys were so adorable when asking, or because the kittens really were gorgeous, or maybe I was just ready to bring cats into our life.
No longer kittens, but full-grown cats, I find myself cuddling the girls, rubbing their bellies, and patting their tails bones. Something my dad used to do with the cats in the house I grew up in. At first he’d use his hand, eventually switching to a walking stick, to pat their heads, rub their chins, and vigorously pat the space between the end of their spinal cord and their tail. And boy were the cats in heaven.
I seriously love that I, too, attend to my girls with a very simple gesture, without thought, just as my dad did with the kitties he loved and that loved him. It’s such a natural way to give attention to my feline pets, Skyler and Cassandra. I find myself patting them in exactly the same way, with my hands. And every time I do so a visual of my dad pops into my head, and I remember him sitting in his chair, in the household library, reading, writing, thinking, or talking while passing his love onto those cats through the gesture of petting.