Josie is not a demonstrative cat, though she has become more so over the years that she’s lived with me. She will purr, sometimes quite strongly, when I give her the right attention. She will get up, move about and bump her head against things when presented with the joys of being combed. But for the most part, she keeps her emotions obscured.
There was no doubt, however, how she felt when I placed a new cushion on a dining table chair last evening. The old cushions were getting pretty bad. I can never keep up with the amount of cat-hair such upholstery accumulates, and cats, though clean as animals go, will leave other debris behind from time to time. And then they simply throw up on things. So it was time for the old cushions to go.
I bought new cushions but was reluctant to put them out. I suffered from hard chairs for a while because I didn’t want the new ones to be covered with cat-hair. That was a silly attitude, of course, because it merely resulted in the cushions sitting in the basement, unused. I am reminded of the parent who told his child, “If you eat those apples, they’ll all be gone.” One wonders what the point of buying them was.
Last night, Josie, who enjoys slumbering on the cushioned dining table chairs from time to time, wanted to jump up on one and rest. She stood up, only to discover the chair’s seat was uncovered and hard. She dropped again to the floor, quite dejected. That settled it for me, and I retrieved the cushions from their repository.
What a reaction this elicited from Josie. I’d never seen her exhibit such spontaneous joy. She jumped up on the new, full, soft cushion and immediately started purring. She began kneading the hitherto untouched fabric. She turned this way and that, sniffing and smelling. Only after a few minutes, did she lie down. Even then, her purring continued.
It doesn’t take much to make our pets happy. Plenty of attention from us humans does the most, of course, but some tasty food, play-time, a few minutes with a brush or comb, a warm and soft spot on which to sleep... These are the ingredients of a joyful cat. It seems the more biologiclly and intellectually advanced the animal, the more it needs. It shouldn’t be the case, but there’s no point in asking why we can’t be like cats. We have bills to pay, people - and pets - to be responsible for, commitments to fulfill. But once in a while, we can stop and admire the ease with which our furry friends find gladness. At the same time, we can experience a little of it, too, because what makes them happy, makes up happy.