Thursday, July 15, 2010


As a rule, Guinness is the funnier of my two cats. Because he is high energy and neurotic, his antics often make better stories. He plays a feline version of fetch and gets into trouble when he is bored. Like a very little boy, he also occasionally needs to be held and cuddled – usually just once a day.

But his adopted brother Herbie is indispensable. I’m about to go on a trip fraught with emotional challenges. Although I’ve traveled much of the world, I am more nervous about this particular journey – to a purely domestic destination -- than any in recent memory.

So when Herbie jumps up on my desk and strolls in front of the keyboard and onto my lap, I welcome his sensuous gratitude for my caresses. And when his purring vibrates against my chest, I am comforted.

And, it must be admitted, I am getting on in years (as they used to say) -- old (as they say now). Every once in a while, I just need to lay down – sort of nap. It doesn’t matter where I rest or where Herbie is when I decide to rest, he’ll find me, jump up on the bed, and find a good place to snuggle—resting his head in my upturned palm.

I am touched by this. Not just because it demonstrates affection but also, and mostly, because it is evidence of his complete and absolute trust. I am not just bigger than he is, and meaner, but I am also a member of an entirely different species. To me his trust is a signal honor.

Of course it’s not just me. Herbie loves all homo sapiens sapiens. Nothing perks him up more than company. He greets all my guests and salespeople, gently demanding full attention and attendant stroking.

On the advice of my vet, both he and Guinness are inside cats. Period.

Once when I was truly ill, I wobbled out to retrieve my mail and Herbie slipped out the door. Far too weak to chase him, I did the only thing I could think of to lure him back inside.

I rang the doorbell.

It worked. He trotted around the corner to see who was visiting and I whisked him inside.

Bless his furry heart.

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