I have theorized that people who are weathering this pandemic with dogs are going to manage better, generally, than those of us without pups. Having to walk the dog contributes to overall health and to stress management, and caring for the dog preserves an owner from becoming entirely self-obsessed. Then there is that intangible wonderfulness of the canine personality. Never met a physically well dog who wasn’t also a cheerful pup.
But ya know, cats aren’t all bad. The nicest thing about cats is that they purr. There I will be, typing away, focused on a scene between Sycamore Dorning and his lady fair. I carefully craft dialogue that resonates with each character’s true essence, and I add in sensory details that draw the reader into the story world and I… hear a cat resonating with itself on the credenza beside me. I look over, and I get that scrunchy-eyed expression of regal condescension. “Permission to carry on, human.”
Thank you, Your Majesty.
Cats are also very pleasant to pet. I have some long-haired kitties among my feline associates, and also–at present–some kittens. Petting them is my privilege and also my pleasure. When I go outside to feed, cats strop themselves against my calves, and when I sit down to write, usually a cat or two has taken up picket duty elsewhere in the kitchen.
Cats are pretty. Some of my cats, the torties and cream torties in particular, are gorgeous, and I think whatever is beautiful to you helps your mind stay focused, relaxed, and happy. I am also friends with some all black cats, and their eyes are especially lovely.
And cats are entertaining. I’m impressed by the mama cats who play-wrestle with their kittens, and the unrelated adult cats who turn a tolerant eye on kittens leaping upon a waving tail, or kittens copping a random cuddle with any adult heat source. Some of these guys clearly skipped a few pages of the Alpha Predator World Domination Manual.
I like observing cat behavior. Who is da boss, who is laid back? Who will slap his mama to get to wet food, and who never eats until everybody else is gone and darkness has fallen? They have their personalities and their stories, most of which I will never know.
And finally, for my cats, there is no pandemic. Life for them has gone on without missing a beat. They eat, they spat, they play, they hangout in the sun, they yowl at the moon, or they watch me write. There is no election drama unfolding in their feline lives, no virus decimating their nursing home population, no jobless report to fret over. S’all good as long as the wet food shows up in the evening, and the dry food is put out in the morning. I learn calm from the lilies of the field and the cats of the porch.
Are there animals in your life these days? What do they add, and what do they cost you? If you had to do this year over, would you change your beast/life balance in any way? I’m ready to send out ARCs for My Heart’s True Delight, and today’s commenters get a shot at being added to that list. (And print readers, the Amazon print version should be up any minute…)