A short time ago, I put the storm windows on my house, in preparation for the coming cold months. I wrote about it on this blog and joked that the thanks I received for working hard in the blustery chill was to be ignored by six cats all ensconced in warmth and comfort.
But in reality, this is why I do much of what I do. Pets should not have to worry about being cold or hungry. As with children, if our pets don’t take warmth and contentment for granted, then we, as their protectors, are doing something wrong. Adults have to worry, about themselves and about those under their care. The price we pay for independence (or as much as society allows us) and responsibility is consciousness of the disaster that waits to overwhelm us if we do not constantly strive to stave it off.
It’s true that I would have to work at a job even if I didn’t have cats. My own survival would depend on it. But much of what I manage to snatch from under the daily grind goes to the cats. I come home and they start demanding food almost immediately. I scoop their poop from litter-boxes in a manner that, in terms of human waste management, went out of style a century ago. I play with them and give them their medicines and arrange my time around their needs. And then, when I am done my chores and they are satisfied, they fall asleep in soft beds.
A week ago we had our first snowstorm of the season. This was the scene outside.
And these were the scenes inside. This was the thanks I got for all my efforts: the storm windows, the feedings, cleaning bums, waking up at two o’clock in the morning to run drinking-water, carting thirty pound bags of litter home on my bicycle and spending my savings on their health.
And I could not be thanked better.