Friday, January 8, 2010

cat cuddles

He looks up at me and cries plaintively. It means, “Pick me up. I am lonely.” Or, perhaps, “I need some affection, a hug—some of your bodily warmth and reassurance. Please hold me and rub me ... until I don’t want it anymore.”

I may read it, “He loves me.” And in his little cat-way, I suppose he does, so far as he is able. But I don’t worry about that. I know what he means. I need ‘picking up’ too. So I pick him up and in the process, he picks me up.

I hold him close, rub his soft fur, feel his warmth and listen to his gentle purr. He’s not a young kitten anymore, but neither am I and so we are well-suited to one another. We sit together for awhile enjoying each other physical presence. It’s nice, very nice and there’s nothing ‘wrong’ with it. When he’s had enough of me, he wriggles free, stops to rub and bump up against my thigh. His sign of affection is to put his kitty forehead next to you and just hold it there ... almost in a position of submissive adoration. It’s so sweet and tender. I just love it. We calling it “bumping”.

While I watch him lick his ruffled coat back into pristine position, I muse: wouldn’t it be wonderful if we humans could do something like this?

Just look up at the person we care about—but don’t begin to understand—and meow, asking to be held? And just imagine if that loved one, a troubled teen or a disgruntled friend or even a struggling co-worker, could hold us in their lap for awhile and rub (or rock) us oh so tenderly and gently for just a little while without fear of ‘weirdness’ or sexual misunderstandings or gossip...

I know I’m being silly, but I think so many of our human problems could be solved if we could just do this.

But we can’t—for obvious reasons.

So we have pets.

Still, when my cat and I have our next cuddle (in about an hour or so) I’m going to think about the person I’m having the most trouble understanding – or loving – and imagine cradling her ... him, offering myself unconditionally and without fear like I do with my cat.

Then I’m going to see myself “bumping” that person: putting my own forehead up against my neighbor in an act of submission, trust and love.

Of course it would never work in “real” life, but oh, isn’t it nice to dream about?

And just think what cat cuddles and bumps – even just those we do in our imagination – could do for our relationships with others?

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