I have been waking up to a new alarm recently. Consistently at 7am, Gobi, black and poised, sends faint meows thru my bedroom door. I imagine that she sits in the center of the archway, perched with her straight-backed posture that anyone would envy, wrapping her delicate tail around her legs for all of her regular twenty plus minutes of meowing. But as soon as I find my way up and open the door, she runs to my feet, circles my ankles, nuzzles my toes, and flips onto her back, her delicate poise turned into urgency. Each long night apart makes mornings a reunion to celebrate.
I have begun to wonder if she calls for our union each morning because she misses me or if she knows I hold the key to breakfast? There is honestly an answer to this question that makes me feel the best — one that verifies that I indeed have a pet who loves me the better than all other pets love their pet parents. You’ll see us on the cover of successful pet adoption stories. This is the story of success I tell myself — one hinging on interpreting her meows as love and only love. Food has no place in this story.
I although am not a cat. Gobi and I do not speak to each other in words, even tho sometimes I try. Yet — I have been a child, as Gobi has been a kitty. I too woke early and grumbled and yelled and sang and cried to my parents to feed me. I too am a child who communicates often without words to my parents, begging to be cared for, and often that has been in the form of requesting food. All of those times, I too loved my parents, tho the words for that came much later.
I am starting to think Gobi’s calls — for me, for food, for being next to each other, to not be alone, to be seen, to be loved — might not be so easy to divide into “for love” or “for hunger.” Both me and Gobi need to be fed and need to be loved. I have been fed by those who love me, and I feed those I love.
In my mundane mornings, I am learning to see love in new places — in the cat food that feeds Gobi’s body, in that body that laps around my ankles, in the feeling of my ankles against soft fur, in the meows from the furry body calling to wake me, in waking up a little bit early to feed someone I love.