Make no mistake, I think kittens are about the cutest little things in the world. I’ve always admired them from afar, because getting too close results in sneezing and eyes full of tears. Yes, I’m sadly allergic to cats so I’ve never had the joy of raising one. My only other known allergy is to mangoes, which feels less troubling. Having a single fruit you can’t eat somehow pales in comparison to not being able to cuddle a cute little kitty when you happen upon one. It doesn’t always stop me, of course, as the urge to pet them is simply too great. And as long as I can limit my exposure, I can get a glimpse of what owning a cat might be like. It’s lovely! I love the strong personality that seems to say, “Yes, I could totally live without you, but please don’t let that in any way undermine the love we share together.” In truth, it’s likely why I ended up with a dog in the form of a basenji, with roughly the same personality. A bit of dramatic emotional distance, but never wanting to be truly ignored and always up for cuddles, even if incapable of admitting it at times. It just makes me smile to see such independence in a creature that is indeed, in the end, fully relying on us to live properly.
This personality reminds me of my youth, when I grew just a bit too old to be best friends with my mother anymore. I still loved her in exactly the same way, just as I do today, but I was a “big kid” back then and needed to push the limits of my independence. Bless her heart for enduring those years, and perhaps most of the years after. It’s definitely part of life, but I wish I’d known back then what I know today. That each wonderful family member in our lives is really the most important thing in the world. No amount of new friends, new dreams, or indeed grand schemes can ever change that. There’s a something else there, a connection, that sometimes can’t be described in words. I’ve forged a life that is often completely foreign to my extended family, but each time we meet, we know, we always share something in common. No matter how different you are, there’s always something there that makes you the same. A wonderfully invisible something that you can’t always see, but simply feel. That’s one of the best connections of all.
And I think with pets, when we happily make them our family, the feeling manifests in a similar way. We notice traits that mimic ours. Little signals that show we’re somehow related. Certainly not in scientific terms, as that would be perfectly weird, but in emotional terms. In those tiny moments that make our hearts smile with a joy that proves life is indeed worth living. Children are the peak of this feeling, of course. In both scientific and emotional terms, a strange replica of who we are and who we were. I’ve never had a child either. I’ve just been one, who grew into an adult before he even knew what was happening. And yet, I can still watch my nieces and nephews grow through the same beats in life. Those wonderful learning experiences that make us the person we will ultimately become. And I hope that I have a bit of wisdom to pass along the way. But, never too much as to block the beautiful failures that make us much better people. I would love to have a chance to nurture those early formative years. To make a positive difference. Perhaps that’s why I get a bit teary-eyed in a completely different way when I think about what life would have been like, if I could have a kitten.
About the Doodlewash
Da Vinci Paint Co.: Yellow Ochre, Quinacridone Red, Terra Cotta, and Cobalt Blue. Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen with sepia ink in an A5 Hahnemühle Watercolour Book.