The Meaning of Cat

Baskets of fresh laundry, still warm from the dryer: linen-scented Meccas of the feline world. And should this laundry be of a contrasting color–fluffy whites to set off the shiny black coat–better still. It is good to “be cat.”

Sundays, you see, are my laundry day. And my cats know it.

I spend the afternoon trekking up and down the stairs of my building (a converted school, circa 1916) hauling last week’s accumulated dirt…and returning with this week’s sweet renewal.  In comes the laundry basket, and up perk the ears and tails. The lingering smell of dryer sheets, a wafting of “clear water,” “lavender” and the obligatory “fresh linen” fill the air. Oliver does a twitchy little dance; Bartholomew shakes his tail-end and walks on tip toe… And I dump the precious cargo on my bed, giving them time to wallow in it as I begin the folding process.

So yes, there is cat hair on everything I own.

But–in this, I find a lesson. Their playful rolling, their pawing and leaning and purring and stretching reminds me that happiness is all about perspective. Feline felicity consists in fleeting moments of now: ephemeral spots of sun on the carpet, the reflected light from a prism-like water glass, the flitting of birds to the feeder–and of course, the basket of toasty white towels, fresh from the dryer. No madcap plans for the future. No hanging on a wish for tomorrow, or next month, or next year. That is the meaning of cat, you see: take pleasure in the seconds, in the minutes, in the hours.

And of course, it is certainly a new take on laundry day.

3 Replies to “The Meaning of Cat”

  1. I’m going to remember this next time I am folding laundry and my toddler is flinging t-shirts around the room! Just to enjoy it.

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