Audrey Pavia
May 30, 2011

Photo by Audrey Pavia

Stanley is one of my four cats that keeps me company when I work.

When I’m surrounded by horses, chickensrabbits and the most charming Corgi in the world, it’s easy to take my cats for granted. My four felines spend most of their time sleeping, curled up in balls in different parts of the house. They only really come to life when they hear the cat opener come out of the drawer.

Last night, I slept over at my sister’s house. A vet who ends up taking home every orphan kitten that finds its way into her hospital, my sis is currently fostering three 5-week-old kittens. She got them when they were only a few days old and bottle-fed them diligently until they started eating solid food. They are adorable: a tortoiseshell, a dark-brown tabby and a solid grey.

I laid on the bed with them while they crawled all over me. They took turns posing on their backs with all four feet in the air, waiting for their tummies to be rubbed. They were so cute—it was almost too much to bear.

When I came home from work tonight, I found my crew of cats, all of whom are fully grown, waiting in the kitchen for me, expecting their dinner. Once fed, they found spots around the house to crash.

I made my way into my office a little while ago and started to work. One by one, they came into the room and found a place to lie down. Bodhi claimed my lap, while Stanley stretched out next to my printer. Erma found a spot behind the monitor, while Cheddar lounged on the floor.

As I checked my email and posted some stuff on Facebook, it slowly dawned on me that my cats could have chosen to be anywhere in the house right about now. The guest room has several cozy cat beds where they love to sleep. The living room couch is a favorite, along with the ottoman and the wicker chair. But instead, all four of them chose to find spots in my office—with me—to take their after-dinner naps.

When a dog loves you, it’s overt. No one can mistake a wagging tail, wriggling body and a slurping tongue. Cats, on the other hand, are much too dignified for such a garish display of affection. Instead, they are subtle. They will gently rub against your leg, quietly curl up in your lap, or carefully find a spot on your messy desk to rest their furry bodies. It’s all about being close to you, being in the same room with you. It’s because they love you.

As of today, I am taking an oath. I’m never taking my cats for granted again.

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