Cats. Pets. I love it when we have a pet that can channel the things we want to express, can't describe, would like to be or do or state. We assign them quirks, and narratives, we tell their stories, or pretend that they tell our stories. We relate to their personalities, and share with each other a common recognition of each pets' unique behaviors, attitudes, habits, foibles, limitations, endearments, charms... and it gives us a means of projecting our own faults and gifts on these dear beings, so we can better face them in ourselves, with humor and humility. Somehow, blaming the cat for messes and weirdness makes my own messes and weirdness feel more human, more forgivable. Chango has a soft belly, like me. Mister Foo is moody, like me. Cairo loves his naps, like me, too. They are the members of the family that we can, with impunity, point a finger at, blame for anything, dote on, adore, laugh at, tease, deride, and love. Am I making sense? Do you see it, too... that there is something in our pets that can bring everyone together to participate in a communal contract of admiring, mocking, caring for, and blaming, protecting and loving, and that it affords a shared language for feelings and ideas that we might otherwise withhold, or direct at a person who would take it too much to heart?
Chango is indifferent to the fact that we call him Old Man, and Grandpa, that these namesakes are derived from his doddering age, his advancing senility, the long stories he meows aloud at 4 o'clock in the morning, his gentle affections. So long as he has his water bowl on the night-stand, and wet food for breakfast, he only knows that we love him. And thanks to him, we can express pent-up frustration, which might otherwise be suppressed, or directed at any innocent by-stander, when Chango hangs his claw in a pant leg, or waits to go out, and wants right back in.
Mister Foo's story is one we each know, and tell. We build our own family story, our connectedness with each other, through recalling that trip, when Foo climbed the walls. The time Foo fell from the second floor. Maybe it's the removal of ego that makes these narratives and connections between us feel easier to share, and retell, that makes them comfortably relatable. By being a proxy, our pets can represent humor, grief, worry, embarrassment, struggle, flaws, bad smells, affection, and thus we can safely express our own qualities and sentiments, without liability, unencumbered by accountability or justification. It's a release.
Something like that.
It's hard to explain.
Here... look at my cats.
With Infinity More Monkeys, a picture a day.