One of the stories my parents always share about my childhood is when we had our first pets, two brown tabbies named Tarzan and Jane. I didn't quite understand the mechanics of a cat at 2 years old, but I knew I loved them and wanted them around all the time. I used the techniques I had to carry my baby dolls and all the strength of my tiny body to carry those cats, wrapping my arms under theirs, in a loving strangle. I'd get better. This is where I began to learn patience and nurturing.
I fell into a dark place early this Winter. I left my home in the Sunshine State, lost a job I really wanted, lost a love I felt consumed by, and found myself, all my belongings, and my cat crammed into my parents' apartment. It was nice to have their support, but it's hard to be nearly 30 and moping around, struggling to get out of bed every day. My cat though, he clung to my side, bounding into my room, plopping on my face, burrowing under the covers with me, making me feel like whatever I was going through wasn't the worst. He didn't need explanations, he didn't judge me, he just needed to rest on my chest and stick his cold, wet nose on my cheek. He helped me feel my way through the sadness.
I remember the first time my new, tiny kitten sought out shelter in the crook of my arm, digging his head into my sleeve. That little snout, the big purr, it was almost too much to handle. Adopting my cat made me realize I could have selfless moments, forgoing decent sleep so he could get familiar and comfortable in my space or feeding him each meal before I prepared my own. I miss him when I'm on vacations and during nights away. My cat helped me realize I could feel even more than I had ever known.
The life of a cat is something to be admired. You make your own choices, you let particular people stroke your beautiful fur, and that is just how you are. I've always been so self-conscious and worried, but the more I embrace the attitude of my cat, the more I become a badass. I eat what I want, when I want it. I wear what I want, when I want it (covered in cat hair, it doesn't matter). I go to sleep early on Friday nights and it feels great. Cats make considered moves, but they stay true to their basic desires.
You don't need to have 20 or more cats to be a solid cat person. You don't need feline figurines lining your shelves to be a worthy cat person. In my head and my heart, I am a proud cat person. It's such a lovely person to be.