Remember the blanket I referenced a few posts ago … the soft $7 throw blanket that screams “me” that has cats lounging in front of a bookshelf? Well, said blanket is of course the property of my two cats. While all new things entered into a home (from groceries to shopping items to the bags and boxes they came in) are fair game for immediate cat inspection, it is anything soft, fuzzy, and warm which becomes the express object of and sole use for cats. I may as well have bought it for them rather than for me, because their day and night nap spot at the end of the bed is on this folded up heavenly cloth.
If some of you know me, or have read my early posts, you know that I once lived in a 6 – 8 cat home with a friend. Grace was the oldest, at 5 years of age, and was the designated kneader of the cat clan. Having moved to a new location with my two cats, eventually Toby fell into the position of household kneader. To be honest, I’ve only witnessed kittens and middle to older aged cats knead. It’s as though the first few years of life are so busy living cat life that the early days of meditative flexing of the paws went forgone and lie dormant. So at age 2 to 2 and a half, Toby has remembered this luxury of long ago and several times a day finds himself zoning out on my side while giving my cushioned tummy a thankfully-light-on-the-claws massage.
I have yet to see Timba reach back into his youth and display this precious feline behavior. Until now. Until the uber soft throw from Walmart. For the past week I have caught him pawing at the blanket in a unique way. He is tentative and hesitant, like a wobbly baby taking first steps, or someone trying to walk for the first time after a long period of injury induced muscle atrophy. It is the cutest thing. There is a look in his eyes, an expression on his face, that is searching. Little kitty wheels of memory spin furiously and if he could talk I know he’d be saying “I know there’s something I’m supposed to do with these paws. Something I used to do a long time ago, but I can’t quite remember. I know it was good for sure, but, hmmm… kind of nice when I flex and squeeze on this squishy thing.”
Yes, Timba is in the beginning stages, at the age of 1 year, of remembering days gone by. His blissful youth spent kneading his warm fuzzy mama and drinking the milk that only mama made best, are starting to resurface. He hasn’t fully engaged in kneading yet, which is fine by me. His rediscovery is so comical and endearing that I hope he continues to paw cutely at the blanket with that perplexed expression on his face for awhile. Also, while he is my youngest, he is definitely the biggest. He is a big boy indeed, and him on my side digging those weighted paws into my stomach and ribs would be more like a brutal beating than a sweet massage.
The thing I love about the act of kneading is that it takes a cat back to the good old days. They zone out and sometimes drool in this blissful state of nostalgia and enter a state of complete comfort and relaxation. I think it’s good to get back to the good. People do it all the time when they reflect on good days gone by. Remembering people and experiences of the past bring our hearts warmth and affection, and I wouldn’t be surprised if pleasant reminiscing has the same biological effect as exercise does with its endorphins.
So the moral of the story is, go ahead and get your blankey, cuddle up on it, and flex your paws in remembrance of something good in your past. There’s so much going on in life, both good and bad, that we forget the wealth of good tucked away in the far corners of our mind. Bring a few treasures out this week and let them love on you and give you good cheer as you navigate the now. Take it from a cat, it is definitely a worthwhile exercise.