Throughout the early years of my life until I left home for college, I always lived joyfully with animals, especially cats. Even when I was attending Beloit College as an undergraduate student, my roommate and I borrowed her family’s cat and tried to persuade him to enjoy living the life of a dormitory feline. Needless to say, it did not work out very well. Taliesin used to escape from our room and run around the halls, visiting our neighbors. Everyone loved him, but my roommate and I decided that his life would be better if he had more space to roam around without getting caught by the gloomy security guards.
A few Thanksgivings ago, my mother brought two kittens home. Although I normally live 2,134 miles away from my mother, I tend to spend long holidays in Erie, Pennsylvania. When Izzie and Ella were only a few months old, I was able to spend a few precious weeks with them. Although my New Year’s Day flight from Erie to Los Angeles was positive for many reasons, I was feeling dejected about leaving these kittens behind. I begged my boyfriend for two years to agree to get a kitten with me. He is allergic to cats, but I told him that he could always make a cat-dandruff tea to ease his discomfort. This logic did not seem to work for him, although many people attest to the value of such an antidote.
Recently, all of the pleading and begging finally paid off. A few months ago, we discovered and fell in love with Sophia, a six-month-old rescue kitten. (My boyfriend also discovered allergy pills.) We got her from Cats at the Studios, an impressive rescue organization that helped her after she fell out of a tree as a very young kitten. Apparently, she had been living in the tree ever since her mother gave birth to her and her siblings. My cat is truly my soul mate, considering that I have thought about living in a tree myself, as homage to Julia Butterfly and just because it sounds like an awe-inspiring experience. The closest I’ve ever come to living in a tree is when a friend and I swung ropes over some heavy branches and tried sleeping in a tree-cradle.
Our mutual love of trees is not where our similarities end. Sophia is a fan of tea. I do not feed her tea, but she seems to find a way to drink it, despite my protests. She likes to step onto the coffee table while I am absorbed in endless hours of homework. She is so stealth that I barely realize that she is licking tiny droplets of lukewarm white tea out of my mug. I don’t encourage it, I really don’t. All the same, she might be trying to tell me to take more breaks in between the never-ending assignments that seem to occupy my time. Perhaps I should follow her example and remember to savor the finer things in life even during trials of drudgery. After all, she is wise beyond her months, in addition to possessing impeccable taste. I could really learn from my kitten’s joie de vivre and carefree attitude. I just have to remember to be more cautious about monitoring her beverage intake.
Note—No harm has come to my cat as a result of her occasional sips of tea. I have never intentionally given tea to her, nor do I put any milk or sugar in my tea.