Reflective Caturday… Routines and Lives may Change but the Love Remains the Same…

Deb-and-table

This picture that was taken in September of 2010 was the debut image for Zee & Zoey’s blog. I was surrounded by my beloved furry family with Mr. Jazz front and center. As I reflect back, I realize that I am never alone… the circumstances might change, but the cats always adapt to be by my side.

There is no doubt that my cats are an integral part of my life and I have always lavished them with attention, both consciously and subconsciously. The conscious became especially evident the past few months as I spent nearly every waking moment taking care of the special needs that Mr. Jazz had to ensure his final time with us as comfortable as possible.  Now that he has passed on, I find my mind frequently wandering and I wondered if I had inadvertently given the other cats less attention than they needed or did they not even notice the difference at all?

I came to the conclusion that despite the general preference cats have for routine in their lives, they are also far more intuitive and flexible than what appears on the surface. For what had happened, I now realize, is that they adjusted around my needs with Jazz to suit their own. It was an implied, “we know you love us, but you need to take care of Jazz and we understand that and we will figure out our own unique ways to spend time with you when we need it.” And mind you, it was not as if I was ignoring them – far from it, but I just wasn’t myself, yet there they were, right by my side all along.

The past couple of months, my mornings began with me opening a special can of moist food just for Jazz – it was imperative I get something into his vanishing body and I would make the other interested cats, i.e., Zee, Peanut, and Harley, wait patiently for Jazz to eat however much or little he wanted before I would let them lick the remains of the feeding dish. Peanut was the most insistent that she partake in this ritual and even though I no longer open up that special can of food, she remains ever hopeful that I will and rather than disappoint her, I give her extra loving, hugs, and kisses. She enjoys the exclusive attention and I somehow feel more connected to the memory of Jazz.

Peanut-morning

Maybe this will be the morning, thinks Peanut, that I will get some of that special food. No? That’s okay… extra loving and kisses from human Mom is pretty wonderful too!

Jazz would also get a small handful of dry kibble anytime he would wander into the kitchen. Normally we don’t feed the cats on demand, but if Jazz was willing to eat, he was going to get food – end of story. He would stand next to the pantry and howl a meow that he was hungry and that was our signal to drop whatever we were doing to oblige his needs. Rolz keyed into this change of routine pretty quickly because it turns out, after an endless list of tries, the only food Jazz would eat was probably akin to buying your kid a McDonald’s Happy Meal and Rolz thought he had won the kitty lottery with that find. We still have some of that food left and Rolz is treated to a few pieces at night as a “snack.” It’s our special little secret and since it makes him happy, it makes me happy.

rolz-snack

“Hey snack lady, ” says Rolz. “I don’t have all day – this is our special little moment, you know, so if you could speed things up and get me my snack, I’d really appreciate it. Oh, and don’t get all emotional and start petting me or anything like that. Yeah, I love you, but that doesn’t mean you can go and get all mushy-kissy on me like you do with Peanut.”

Mia has made the most interesting evolution. She is slowly emerging from a shy, don’t pet me kind of kitty, to a very vocal and loving cat. Her special time for me – when I get out to the shower. I can’t dry myself quick enough for her – she hears the water shut off in the morning and will meow and chirp incessantly that I must pet her. The catch? We have a hamper in the corner of the bathroom with a flat cover that she jumps onto. That is where our bonding must occur and despite that it is a tad inconvenient, as I am trying to get ready for work, this ritual means the world to both of us, so now I just get up a few minutes earlier so I can spend more time with her. She will arch her back high up in the air as I pet her and purr her appreciation in chain saw decibels. Rarely am I am  allowed this special bonding anywhere else and I find it to be wonderfully awkward and charming – kind of like a teenager who wants to be loved, but as long as it’s not in front of anyone!

Zee-and-Mia

Things are a little awkward… Mia has begun to claim the hamper as her own… not realizing that Zee has been napping on it for years and  he is none too thrilled to be sharing the space…

Zoey continues to find me when she wants me, so it is not uncommon to find her on my lap when I am on the computer and she religiously sits on my stretched out legs on the couch every single night when I settle to watch TV. What is new, however, is how Kizmet has become a part of this. It used to be me, Dan, Zoey on my legs, Jazz on my chest, Harley on my stomach and Zee behind all of us on the couch. Without Jazz, Kizmet seems to understand there is a void and it is his role to fill it. Ker-plunk. As if dropped from a parachute, he lands next to my legs, settles to my LEFT side and snuggles in as close as he can to Zoey where he proceeds to groom her with an unbridled vigor. She happens to love the attention and will groom him back, but eventually he will push it too far, causing her to leave in a huff, but it is quite endearing until that moment.

Zee-on-couch

Our handsome Zee assuming his position on the couch…

Zee has made the most compelling adjustment and the dear boy is such a darling that it brings tears to my eyes thinking about it. Somehow he has taken it upon himself that he is responsible for the safety and emotional well-being of Dan and I and has made it his mission to care for us. Never is he not within eye sight of either one of us and when we go to bed, his job really begins. He is so torn with love for both of us that at various times he will take turns snuggling next to us. I will wake up to find him curled up at my side with my arm around him. Or sometimes he is on top of my head. But, Dan will also tell the same story, so I know he goes back and forth all night, making sure we are protected.  Ironically, years ago he was never a lap cat, yet now, he seems lost if he is not with one of us.

toys

A typical nightly offering from Zee…

He will also leave throughout the night to bring gifts to us. We will wake up in the morning to a bedroom floor covered with his prized plush toys and I am certain he does it as homage to his love for us. He also talks constantly, almost as if he has to check in with us to make sure we are okay. Poor little guy – I fear we are going to wear him out taking care of us but his intentions are just so precious and I know that is his way of acknowledging the painful and emotional journey we went through with Jazz and he is reassuring us that everything will be okay.

All I know is that the love and appreciation that I have always had for my cats, has now reached a level that takes my breath away. My senses have taken on a life of their own and I feel like everything they do, I am seeing for the first time. I am quietly reveling in this rediscovery and unconditional love they feel for me is returned to them a thousandfold. I miss Jazz every single day, but I also realize that he lives on through the others and I am forever grateful for that…

KizmetRolzSofa

I have shared this picture of Rolz and Kizmet before, but it just seems so fitting to share it again, as it so exquisitely showcases the unconditional love that animals have the capability to express.

What about your cats? Has something in your life triggered a different bond or relationship you have with them? Please feel free to share your stories on this reflective Caturday.

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  1. meowmeowmans says:

    What a beautiful set of reflections on the evolution of your life and relationships with your kitties. As Sammy got older and slower, his relationship with Moosey really changed. Moosey became so much more gentle and patient with his “big brother.” Now, with Zoe and Gracie here, it’s time for us to relearn the roles and relationships in the house…

  2. da tabbies o trout towne says:

    dood jazz does live on….honest lee N trooly….N sum day when ewe iz knot “lookin” for it, him will send ewe a sign; mite bee ever so slite; ore it mite bee one oh thoze…whoa…kinda moe mints…..but when ewe see it, ewe will noe itz frum him; and all iz well in hiz werld……

    heaven….

    this eye promise….. with all me heart

    sauce of fishbone =^..^=

    xoxo

  3. Rosemary says:

    Cats are indeed very special creatures. No two are exactly alike. I enjoy reading about your crew.