Wednesday, March 04, 2009

the theory of cat love

lila showed up at our house about this time last winter.
she was wild and her fur was matted. we couldn't get near her.
i started putting out food for her and talking to her nicely.
she warmed up and now she's the perfect housecat.
but she refuses to come into the writing house. i'm not sure why.
so this is a shot of her through the glass of the door, waiting patiently outside for us.
we think she's a norwegian forest cat.

i have a number of friends with whom i have a relationship that i call "cat love." these are friends who i don't see often, but exchange sporadic flurries of emails with maybe once every year or so. they're friends with whom, despite the long periods of time where i don't talk to them, as soon as i do, we're right back at a very comfortable level of closeness, as if months or years hadn't gone by.

i recently had a couple of gmail video chats with one of these friends. we met in macedonia and now she's living in the US. we had only emailed a couple of times in the past few years and hadn't seen one another since she and her husband (he is that fulbrighter who had to flee albania when it collapsed in a pyramid scheme) came through to visit us on their honeymoon trip in 2003(?). but we arranged to do video chats and jumped right back in to our skins as old friends--joking and laughing, even though our lives have moved on and the topics are different than the ones we joked and laughed about in the good old days in macedonia.

i call it "cat love" because it's how cats are. if you're not there, they're totally cool and go about their cat lives just fine, sleeping comfortably and not thinking of you or pining away for you. but when you come back, they're totally there for you and it's as if you were never gone.

now if there's "cat love," there also has to be "dog love," right? "dog love" is the fawning kind. the drooling, overly excited kind. the kind where the more you are rejected, the more you love. i have "dog love" for P at what possessed me. she doesn't even know i exist, but i still eagerly go back for more, like a slobbering dog. and feel totally validated when we post on the same thing (tho' i didn't see her post 'til after my post). i was just so proud that i found and shared the same cool thing she found and shared. i was, in my own head at least, validated in my level of cool hipness. just like a slobbering dog who finally gets a dog biscuit after making those eyes and begging ('cause those kinda dogs are way cool and hip).

and because i don't want to be an idea thief, i will give co-credit for the creation of this idea to my old college friend jill, with whom i struggled through russian class, once drove in my little gold fiero to an audition for into the woods in chicago and formulated this theory. she is my first "cat love" friend.


Molly said...

a moment of purrrrrfect clarity ...

Char said...

This makes sooooo much sense.

I love the theory. I have so much dog love for several people.

heidikins said...

Suddenly, so many of my relationships now make sense.

Meow. Woof. Etc.


tangobaby said...

Things I love about this post:

1. The photo of your cat is so heartwarming.
2. So is the story of how you and Lila got together is too.
3. How you break down relationships like that couldn't be more perfect. It's so true!
4. That "fulbrighter" is a word.

If I ever have need to steal any of these words and ideas, I'll be sure to give you full credit... but then that wouldn't be stealing, would it?! lol.

tangobaby said...

Number 2 on my list is so poorly written that I am embarrassed. You know what I meant to say.

Yoli said...

As a cat-love kind of person I thank you. Lovely post.

Delwyn said...

I had fun with your links today thanks J. and also saw you at Bees place and I wanted to tell you I went to bed with Mma Ramotswe last night - I picked up 10 volumes of hers in an airport - Hnl I think (books are 2x the price here) and am enjoying a relaxing read after finishing a heavier piece of fiction.

see you in Botswana

Barb said...

This is such a great post in how you break down relationships. I immediately thought a friend that I have only seen once in 15 years but we fell right back into a loving, warm relationship chatting into the wee hours of the morning ~ guess it's cat love. Barb xo

Heather Moore said...

Brilliant post. You've just added to concepts and words to my vocab. Also, I'm going to pick up the phone and call one of my "cat love" friends immediately!

Sandra said...

Really thoughtful. All I can add is, not all dogs possess slobbery dog love. I have spent my life with cat-like dogs...sight hounds. They don't care a whit for you! So I guess I am conflicted.

I will forever have a new term to use, though. cat love.

Bee said...

I've never named the concept, but I know exactly what you mean about cat and dog love both. I'm probably more of a cat person.