My life has been a bit hectic of late. I hit one of those periods up until a few weeks ago where I would go on autopilot from time to time, caught up in getting things done on a day-by-day basis. I tend to hit periods where I stop living in each individual day and live to get through each individual day. Usually I’m pretty good at recognizing it, and given that I’ve been trying my best to stay cognizant of the world around me and reminding myself to really live and connect within each day. I get frustrated with myself when I fall into a rut like that, as I feel like I’ve missed out on positive experiences. This is always a difficult feeling to shake for me – but earlier this week I received a very special reminder from an unexpected source: My two adorable cats.
Now, I’ll start with a disclaimer that I have an inordinate fondness for animals. I love to watch their thought processes and how to figure things out. I’m a guy whose senior thesis literally involved watching squirrels interact in the wild and write a play about it (Note: this is a very loose interpretation of my thesis). My fondness for animals probably gets to the point that I anthropomorphize them a bit and attribute them with greater thinking power than they actually have. The important note here, though, is that Piper and Ruby (the cats) are really freaking cute and I like to watch them think.
A few days ago, we had multiple fire alarms go off in our house while making dinner (classic). This was the first extended fire alarm experience that we’ve had in our house, and while my wife and I obviously knew the source, the cats did not. They, to put it lightly, freaked out. Because we were still cooking, our temporary solution was to remove the battery from the alarms, which of course meant that they chirped every 30 seconds or so to remind you that they aren’t working properly. Our poor cats did not know how to handle this. Being already tense from the cacophony moments earlier, they jumped with each chirp. They had no idea where the noise was coming from, which I could imagine would be frightening at their comparative size.
After dinner, I figured I should reinstall the alarm. I pulled up a chair and started climbing. As I did, the cats rushed out of hiding to see what I was doing and the fire alarm chirped once again. I saw them have a moment of revelation – they now knew exactly where the frightening noise was coming from. What was worse though, is that I was climbing towards it.
Clearly, such a big noise for such a small animal suggested that the alarm was unfamiliar and potentially dangerous. Now these cats are very vocal as is, but when I climbed onto the chair and reached for the alarm, they started making a loud whirring noise that I’ve never heard them making before. Both of them. At the same time. I turned around to see them standing at the base of the chair staring up at me. I was shocked what I saw. They were worried for me, I would swear. These two adorable little creatures were desperately trying to warn me of the danger at hand. They were genuinely concerned about my well-being and that in some sense relayed to me compassion. Again, maybe I am attributing more to them than they are capable of, but that moment was incredibly touching to me. Standing on the chair watching them worry really sort of shook me.
Of course I replaced the batteries and the night when on as usually, but I still haven’t gotten past their reaction. I felt strangely funny that these animals, while not human, view me as an important part of their life – enough to warn me of danger as if I was another cat. It reminded me, rather starkly, that I also should be approaching the world around me with this sort of compassion and care. The small things, the little beeping noises, should not be ignored. I have to live my life with powerful love on a daily basis. Life can be a struggle against monotony at times, but it is small reminders like this that help me to step out of the boring and truly experience each day.