Tova was the great white ground cloud, and she had the habit of walking up to strangers, sitting and stare up at them with soulful, kohl-rimmed eyes, and (just as they were crooning about how polite, how regal, how ladylike she was) would burp right in their face.
Macaroni was a grumpy old man trapped in a fat cat’s body, who loathed leaving the warm bed where we lay to visit the litter box in the basement, and would scream at us non stop when this journey was necessary. And I mean NON-STOP – I’ve never heard of another cat that could pee and howl simultaneously.
Both are gone now, having padded off this mortal coil and across the rainbow bridge where all pets go to play and wait to be re-united with their humans. But their quirks and foibles, along with their more endearing habits, as well as their unconditional love, remain fixed in our family’s memory.
At the moment, our home is not graced with the patter of four-footed fur kids, and given the isolation of the last 10 months, there are moments I find myself missing the warm-bodied, cold-nosed, drooly, smelly, flatulent companionship. But I recognize that memory plays tricks, even the memory of “perfect” pets. As with anybody who becomes family, their behavior which, in retrospect, was beloved, didn’t start out that way.
If I’m being honest, I didn’t appreciate some of Tova and Macaroni’s behaviors at first. I tried to change them, only later learning to live with them, and later still to accept them as a fact of life. Over time I began to embrace, and even celebrate these things which made them unique.
As with so many things, this lesson we learned from our pets could teach us about the world we’re in now, too.