The fat, spoiled, striped cat brothers.
They commended me to him by their early, purry acceptance of me, curling up as I slept, one in the crook of my arm and the other between my knees. His tenderness toward his beloved rescue cats commended him to me: what a loving, sensitive man!
They were mad at me when, because of me, they were moved to a new home. Cats don’t like change. One peed on my bag, and glared at me defiantly when I figured it out.
I was mad at them when I couldn’t get a full night’s sleep. I wanted them to be nocturnal in the garage, but he missed his “little tigers” and “just please could they stay?” (What kind of mean lady values herself over such a plea?)
They would cause his devastation by murdering lizards and baby hummingbirds, but because they’re just kitties they’d still be petted and adored and unconditionally loved.
I would get growled at for buying expensive organic milk or cooking too much dinner, then cold-shouldered for being hurt or mad about the growling. No petting for me. I guess I was jealous of them sometimes.
My impatience for them was an affront to him, but his impatience for my girls was expected to be justifiable. Lines were drawn.
Then he was gone for months, off and on, so they needed me. Their snuggling company was good for me, too. They insisted upon it when I needed it most. I even spoiled them in a few of the ways he did, to satisfy their learned expression of human-to-feline love.
We would all laugh about their different quirky personalities; make good-natured jokes at their expense. My girls loved driving me crazy by having loud, tonally matched “conversations” with them.
They made my allergic daughter sneeze, yowled and begged incessantly for treats every morning, and killed small wildlife. Their hair is still everywhere, and there are still paw prints on my car and on the table (I’m about to wash it off, for the record. Had to write this first for dramatic effect). But we loved and understood each other, and now they’re gone.
I guess, you know, they’re just cats. Right?