The Mystery Of Life Conspires With Sacred Wonder For The Healing Of Hearts

And Sometimes, In Hindsight, We Find Evidence Of This

This picture of Gilbert makes me chuckle and smile. He is actually posing for this photo, with a dramatic, far-away look and cute little 2 year-old bottom lip showing. His green eyes are all but glowing. This stance is one he often makes before making a playful sound and galloping off to play. Photo by C.S. Sherin, 2019.

C.S. Sherin, January 21, 2020; edited 22 Jan 2020

In hindsight, we sometimes realize, that within this existence there seems to be an undeniable, unique and perplexing way that seemingly disparate events, intentions, actions can conspire together, and become a pivotal moment that changes the course of our lives, hearts, and thoughts…from that vital moment, and onward.

Our youngest cat, Gilbert, wanted some attention and cuddle time from me today for a few minutes. This isn’t something he ordinarily will do, unless he has missed morning cuddle time before we get up from bed, which is rare. In sitting with him today, I began to reflect upon how he ended up in our lives in the first place. The second anniversary of our adoption of him is coming up soon, at the beginning of February. My mind wandered back to that day, as I held him and he gazed up at me. This led to me realizing that, our dog, Samantha was the reason that the adoption of Gilbert ever happened. As I realized this, Samantha, who was sitting right against me as I held Gilbert, peered at me with her beautiful universe-like eyes with a quiet, calm receptivity. As I write this, they remain on the couch together, with a respectable foot of space between them.

Two years ago, February, Samantha had been nervously chewing on her feet for some time. We had tried many ways to get her to stop (toys, sprays, CBD oil, Rescue Remedy, massages, Reiki, etc.) As a last resort, Jeff and I made a run to Petco to get her some indoor boots to protect her feet. Upon getting there, we discovered that it was Tabby Town adoption day. Tabby Town is a local no-kill program for homeless cats. We adopted our oldest, Wesley, through the same organization, which is mainly run through foster homes. Normally, I would have been happy to see this. But, we had, a year before, lost our not quite three-year-old ginger cat, Winnie, due to serious illness. We did everything to save her that we possibly could. I had fed her liquid food, and injected IV fluid under her skin for weeks to keep her alive, with the hopes that she would recover. We spent $3,000 in treatments (way out of budget). She simply wasn’t able to recover from the mysterious illness that resulted in an ominous jaundice. We took comfort knowing that we had thoroughly loved her, and given her a good home. Yet, that kind of loss, of a young cat, really has a rough impact. That was compounded by having had other losses of elderly animal companions, a few collective years before that, in a short amount of time. So, when we saw the kitties for adoption, I wanted to protect my broken heart. I didn’t feel capable of opening it to another cat. Yet, we were irresistibly drawn to look, even as I told Jeff that we could not seriously look.

When I think of Samantha chewing her feet back then, it makes sense. She is a sensitive dog, with a tendency to be high-strung at times, who had been through a lot before we met her. She struggled with abandonment issues.

Samantha and Winnie, 2015. Photo by C.S. Sherin

Winnie had been her best friend. From the time they first met, they got on like they had been born together. And Winnie was such a beautiful, sweet, and wonderfully mischievous girl. We were all grieving her. Even a year later, Samantha felt her own, and everyone else’s grief as well. It makes sense now. But, going through it…? Well, we do all sorts of things to avoid grief (when it isn’t actively asserting itself) in order to keep going through life. We turn away from, and close things that we need to, and at times, we overlook obvious coping mechanisms (that are being used to deal with grief), or casually misname them as annoyances. Everyone grieves in different ways, of course. Just as everyone copes in different ways. Some people bite their nails. Samantha chewed on her poor little back paws.

Winnie and Samantha napping together, 2016. Photo by Samara Sherin.

I am mindful of four main thoughts as I process and write this:

  • One, I haven’t been able to talk about Winnie in a public way until now, and it is good to finally be able to.
  • Two, losing a young cat is not like losing a human child, and I wouldn’t, nor would I think for anyone else to compare the two in a real and actual way. At the same time, like many, my animal companions are family, and it is a real and valid loss on its own.
  • Three, my mother lost a baby who lived only three days, and I was born two years later.
  • Four, a friend of mine, who had lost a baby, once expressed to me the inability to adopt an animal, like a cat or dog, because of how traumatic it was to hold and bury the body of their baby. I cannot (and most parents do not want to even) imagine the pain and heavy grief of losing a baby/child. I have experienced other losses and hardships, and I have held and buried six animal companions (cats and a dog) in my lifetime already. All but Winnie had lived within life expectancy… more or less full lives. Through those hard experiences, while I cannot imagine what it is like to live with the loss of a child, I can understand the inability of a bereaved parent to go there, in taking on the lifespan, death, and heart connection of an animal companion. That friend had shared this with me, because I was encouraging an adoption of an animal companion, and I didn’t know what was holding them back. That was something I had never considered. I apologized for not getting it at first, and offered my acceptance and support.

In general, there is no comparison, nor any need to compare losses or other hardships. There is always someone with greater and different experiences of both loss/hardship and joy/abundance than us, and always those with less, no matter what. The reason that I am emphasizing this ethical line is to establish proper context for my process and story. You see, these aspects are in my mind as I write this, because of what has happened to my heart since we adopted Gilbert. Let me explain…

Sometimes we gain insight and true understanding and/or compassion through experiencing something of life ourselves. Until we have that experience we aren’t able to access the insight, compassion, or perspective….even though the capacity for it is within us. Sometimes, we cannot know or begin to really comprehend certain things about people and aspects of life, until we have experiences that build us up and/or break us down into new comprehension, vision, and being. Losing Winnie and later, adopting Gilbert, was one of those life experiences for me.

Samantha’s grief and nervous habit led us to a place where we found Gilbert, all alone, waiting to be adopted. His mother and four siblings had all been adopted in the months before. When I picked him up, he immediately rubbed his cheek against mine and cuddled me. That was not enough to convince us, surprisingly. My heart was too broken. I could not make that decision this time. I could not make the choice to adopt, even if he had just chosen me/us. I told Jeff as much. We left. We drove away, heading into town to get groceries, but both us remained haunted by little eight-month-old Gilbert, alone in that cage. We both kept thinking of him. By the time we got home we decided that Jeff could call to see if he was still there. We had not decided to adopt him, we were only calling to see if he had been adopted or not. And then, we would talk about it. I stood by and heard Jeff’s end of the conversation:

Jeff talking on the phone with the Tabby Town person at Petco about Gilbert:

I am wondering if he is still there….

He is? Oh. You are? Okay. Yes, we are…

Yes, we do.

We will bring a carrier. Yes, we can be there in 15 minutes.

As I listened, my mouth began to gape open, knowing that he had claimed Gilbert for adoption. It was so unlike Jeff to make a decision like this without asking me, without really discussing it. Looking back, I know that he had to be the one to choose. His heart was ready. He was feeling strong, and sensed the importance of Gilbert already.

When we arrived at Petco for the second time that day the woman told us that if had we called one minute later, a man and his grandson would have gotten Gilbert. The man and his grandson ended up adopting a cat that looked almost exactly like our Wesley instead…an older farm cat looking for a forever home, where he could finally live out the rest of his years inside from the cold. At that point, in knowing how close it came to not getting Gilbert, I felt my heart warm and strengthen. I felt the importance of these events that were neither planned or expected.

Jeff and me adopting baby Gilbert, 2018.

What happened in the first year of life with Gilbert, is that he opened up a new dimension of love and healing to me, and my heart and life, and to the rest of the family — but in a special way to me. I have never in my life met an animal companion who is so consistent and persistent in pouring on love and affection every single day, to one person, as he is to me. E v e r y morning that I was home that first year, he would lay upon my heart and neck, nuzzling down, purring, and falling asleep. Having been a Reiki practitioner since 2003, I know powerful healing energy when I feel it. This cat healed, and heals my heart. And, like every animal we have ever adopted, he brought joy, love, humor, and a sort of heart resurrection for each person in my family…our other cats, our dog, me, Jeff and our daughter, Samara. Jeff and Samara exclaim all the time how he is my baby. And, looking at us, you probably would too. He comes to my heart every day, if not in the morning, at some point in the day, and rests there with love and purrs, and if there is time…sleeps there. It is the most soothing thing in the world. And, there has not been one day that he has missed doing this (when I am home). That is remarkable! I wrote a poem about it early on, called “Each Morning.” So, over the course of these two years, I really can see, feel, and appreciate the amount of healing that has come to be, because of this relationship.

About a year ago, in the midst of this process of knowing and loving Gilbert, the panda cat (so much like Po from Kung Fu Panda), I felt the grief for Winnie, but it wasn’t so raw and hard, or heavy. It was tempered by healing. And a realization I never had before, came to me. I now had the faintest idea of how it must have been for my mother to have me after her baby had died. I have a little context now, of how and why she may look at me the way she does. This is something I never considered before. Sometimes I have been annoyed at how my mother raves about me, and thinks that I was born against all the odds, because that is what she felt at my birth. Me? I am just a regular, ordinary, average human born here, nothing special, or…no more special than any other person here. But, yes, it makes more sense now. And my heart has grown tender for her in a new way because of this insight. A little more patience, a little more depth of knowing has grown in me. My heart has opened up to a perspective of who I am, or was, for my mother, when I was born, that I could never have known before. Would things have been fine if I never got a glimpse of understanding? Sure. But, I appreciate learning and knowing more. That is joy and fulfillment for me. Would I like to take paths with less heartbreak from now on as well? Yes. For sure. Yes….and…..

An adorable, young cat who broke my heart did that. And, a little cat who helped me to heal my heart did that.

Life can be odd, and the sacred Mystery of it can be so mind-boggling. We would never wish these kinds of paths to wisdom and understanding upon anyone. We would never wish someone loss and hardship in order to understand our own. I am a big fan of learning from other people’s stories. That is one of the reasons why I tell personal stories. Sometimes, in the telling we can bring new understanding, healing, and perspective to others, while sparing them the pain of actual knowing through experience. We can’t always do this, but when we can, it is so good to do.

Even beyond this intention though, is the wonder and joy I felt today in realizing the far-fetched events that led to bringing such a courageous love-and-peace-warrior-cat like Gilbert into our lives. And, there was also the gentle brush of the sacred upon my head today, in a way, in taking the time to sit with a cat and dog, and allow them to inform me in new ways through their presence.

So, Gilbert wanted my attention today, at an odd time, Samantha gazed into my eyes, and their presences led me to ponder, how all of this happened, and it led to this story being shared.

And yes, we got Samantha her boots that day, two years and some weeks ago…but she didn’t need them for long. As it only took two days for Gilbert to charm and entrance Solomon, Wesley, Samantha, and us humans…so, Samantha stopped chewing on her feet so terribly pretty soon after that.

That would have ended this story nicely, but there is one more thing to say. What I saw in Samantha’s eyes today was that she was still missing Winnie. Of course, she always will. And we do too. But the roughness of it has given way to a softness that grants me a strong and sure ability to send her well wishes and warmth of love, to wherever her spirit traveled to after life on this plane, with more confidence and trust. I told Samantha that it is okay. It is okay to feel ongoing grief for a loved one. And, it is okay to be happy with what is now…at the same time. As much as the human world seeks to compartmentalize and dismiss such things, we are and do hold a great and vast ability to sit with all that is…in honesty, complexity, simplicity, peace, love, grief, and loss.

The two most hopeful things I have discovered in the midst of it all today is:

  • The ability to heal, regenerate, persevere, and to find renewal in the most unexpected ways….even after feeling and being broken, perhaps for the second or fourth time or more.
  • Seeing that events and choices we would most often ignore or dismiss as unimportant or trivial can be a key part of a confluence of waves and movements that are conspiring to help, and even heal us.

That is the kind of hope that makes me certain and rooted in positivity and optimism, even in the face of terrible odds and circumstances. I hope it does for you as well.

As I sign off for today, Wesley, our 10 year old Maine Coon cat is in my lap purring, pleased with my progress today. He and I have been on a long road together of meditation, companionship, loss, grief, love and healing. He has been a part of it all. And he only wants to add this:

We all grieved together. We all love together. Different kinds. Different ways. Just like you, I didn’t know that love would outweigh everything. Now we do. We’ve lived it…are living it. And I am so happy it is with you. Purring, purring, purring….we purr and blink our love without end…evidently this is true, you know, you feel the fire in your heart, you feel our loved ones, living on in there…

~ Wesley Sherin, the ginger Maine Coon Cat

And his words, transmitted, unleash tears in me. I am weeping now. For a little bit. And it is okay, and right, it is love, and honoring of love…it is beauty, folded in love, and flowing.

C.S. Sherin 2020@

Saving Solstice ~ A Cat Rescue Story

Boris William, king cat. Photo by CS Sherin

If you have been reading my blog posts for a while, you will have noticed that our cat, Boris, shows up in various ways…in stories about dogs, about life, and in poetry that I write. He really was an amazing cat with a big presence. His death, at an elderly age, was hard for us. The loss was exaggerated at night for Jeff and me, because Boris had set himself up as a night watchman. Every night he would lovingly tuck us all into bed, pouring proud purring affection upon us as we dozed off. It was soothing. It also seemed that he knew whenever we didn’t feel well, or even when we were having bad dreams, and he would come to stay by our sides. Loss is never easy, but some people and beings are larger than life, and when they are gone, the empty space feels vast.

In the last story series, I had mentioned that I could write a book about our dog, Samantha, and that is true. More than likely though, whatever animal or animals I would choose to write about would include cameos and lessons by Boris. Today’s story is one of those…

The third dog story, Samantha’s story, on this blog, mentioned the spiritual lineage — so to speak — of the cats and dogs we adopt, and how it is our legacy. This story will illustrate that statement more fully.

So, after Boris died, we were in a place with animal companions that we had never been before. Boris was the third animal companion to die from a quick and tough cancer in a period of two years. It began with our dog, Miss Honey, then our little ginger girl-cat, Abigail.

Abigail and Boris were like an old married couple. So, when she went so quickly, it left Boris without his dog and without his life partner. But, he still had us, and he still had Wesley, our ginger Maine Coon, who was truly like a son to Abigail and Boris. As I explained in Samantha’s story, we adopted Samantha nearly right away after Miss Honey died, because we needed to. We needed each other. So, Boris also had Samantha. And like Miss Honey, he welcomed her with calm authority and affection.

It was the same for us after Abigail died. We needed to rescue another life in her honor in order to find deeper meaning and solace to the loss. It was not right away, but not long after either. We went to a no-kill shelter for cats that we had never been to before. There, we adopted a little ginger girl-cat who looked a perfect combination of both Abigail and Boris. We named her Winnie, and she really looked and acted exactly as a kitten to the two of them would. Boris was thrilled to meet and know Winnie too. So, when Boris did die in the summer of 2015, he had witnessed a continuation of our animal companion family and lineage. Not only those I mentioned, but he also knew Aubrey (from the part one of the dog series) for some years, when he was first adopted. That generational connection felt and feels important. Boris was able to pass on some of himself to Wesley, Winnie, and Samantha. But, as I said earlier, his passing on left us with a big aching space, like a lost tooth.

Eventually, in the Fall of 2015, we went to the Humane Society, where we had rescued Abigail and Boris many years before. Who would be the special cat to be rescued in honor of Boris? I knew that we had to look for a cat that we could relate to and understand, not just one that we felt bad for, or that we liked for aesthetic reasons only. That led me to the cage of a very mellow cat, and he so happened to be a ginger as well.

His name was Solstice…because he had been found on the Summer Solstice. There had been countless compassionate people who gone out of their way to save Solstice, and that is something I am always amazed by, mindful of, and thankful for. This is the story that they told us about him at the shelter:

He was found in the countryside of a small town, near a farm, about twenty minutes from the small city we live in. He was small, thin, weak, and raggedy with ringworm and parasites. Both ears, at the tips, were split apart slightly. The workers believe the ear tips were damaged by being exposed to severe cold. He also was found with a stud tail, meaning that he had most likely fathered many kittens in the area. Overall, he was in very rough shape, and wanted to be saved from an early death that mostly likely would await him if he kept going out on his own through winters. The shelter workers saw that he was so mellow, sweet, and gentle, in interacting with him. Because of the kindness of his spirit, they felt especially moved, to do everything possible to bring him to health, and find him a forever home. He went through a lot of care from the shelter, and spent some time in a foster home to rehabilitate from the ringworm.

When we met him, I was struck by his wise and kind eyes and face. It was wild how very placid he was when anyone would hold him. He was someone we could feel comfortable with and relate to. His being draws out compassion and awe, really. We decided to adopt him, and so I got to speak with the woman who had fostered him, since she also worked at the shelter. She told me that he fit in with other animals easily, and with a sheepish look told me that she had let him sit on the table during meals, because he only wanted to be near them, and was respectful. Having lived with cats since I was born, this didn’t faze me at all.

Once the papers were signed to adopt, we had to wait for approval. In less than a week, we got approval and went to pick him up. They sent him home with a mini handmade crocheted blanket. That was so sweet! From the beginning, it was clear that there was great love and appreciation for this amiable cat.

At home we came up with the perfect name for him — Solomon. It fits his face and demeanor. We kept Solstice as his middle name. His introduction to the other animals went really well. Like Boris, he did not become aggressive or scared when faced with new animals. He had a very rooted and calm approach to dealing with others — most of the time. If he felt weird, he would simply keep his distance.

Solomon Solstice, Feb. 2019. Photo by CS Sherin

That first day, I will never forget — holding him in my arms, and feeling a heat like a burning fire build and build until I couldn’t hold him anymore. Even though I was no longer running my professional practice as a Reiki practitioner and teacher, I still did and do share Reiki upon request for friends and family; and for myself. Sometimes, when an animal is in need, they will simply draw on the Reiki energy for healing purposes. They often sense who regularly facilitates it, and go for the hands to get what they need. Since I have shared Reiki with many animals, I have been in many situations where animals that are not open to strangers, would spend inordinate amounts of time letting me touch them — their people always being amazed. This was for the Reiki. I actually started energy work for animals before I learned Reiki — and was taught how to do it by a Franciscan sister (nun) who was quite skilled, and an animal whisperer.

I had learned early on that when the energy heats up to that intense of a degree — unbearable, really — there is a serious issue going on that most likely requires more than energy work. Most often, that means that there is a medical condition that will need to be addressed. As I put Solomon down, I exclaimed to my husband and daughter that something must be wrong with him. I made an appointment to see the vet the next day.

What we found out is that there was something very seriously wrong with Solomon, but it was hard for the vet to figure out why. What they did know is that Solomon was anemic, and on the brink of needing blood transfusions. They began trying to treat him with medication, but the cause was eluding them. The funny thing was, our vet was the same vet who worked on Solomon for the Humane Society when they rescued him. So they had all his records, and the vet remembered him. She told me how small and thin he had been, and that he was looking better. She also mentioned how sweet and kind he seemed, and how important it felt to help him. We went through a long period of ongoing blood tests and medication for Solomon, and it was touch and go. I was really upset that he had to keep being put through so many tests. Finally, the vet realized the cause of the anemia…it was a side effect of the ringworm medicine they had given him. After some time, that health issue was resolved for good. And, knock on wood, Solomon hasn’t had any health issues since.

Something really changed after he recovered from that illness. We hadn’t realized that his coat and hair in general was thin and sparse, not a reflection of his true, full glory. He grew back all of his hair and it was and is…magnificent! He has a tail like an ostrich plume! His long hair is very Maine Coon like, actually, though he is an average cat size, not large. It was a surprise to one day realize his tail had filled in. We didn’t even really notice it. It was not long after his recovery. Boris had had an exceptionally long tail. Our Maine Coon, Wesley, has a great foofy tail. So, when Solomon’s filled in, we overlooked it for some reason. Friends from the east coast visited and mentioned his tail and how amazing it is. I was confused, because in my mind, Wesley had the grand tail. I was amazed to look at Solomon’s tail and see that breathtaking plume that had grown in. Well, he wins. He has the best tail ever!

Tales to tell! Great tails! From left to right: Gilbert (our youngest), Solomon, and Wesley. They all have amazing tails, but Solomon’s is the fanciest. Photo by CS Sherin
Solomon’s tail

Some of Solomon’s personality had been muted by his illness. Once he had recovered, we discovered more of who he really is. Though he is his own unique being, as we all are, there are many similarities between he and Boris. This is why I see it as a spiritual lineage that we care for. Like Boris, it took Solomon several years to feel comfortable lying right next to us or in our laps. This is something I see more in cats that have roughed it before being rescued, where human companionship hadn’t been good, or hadn’t been present. It takes years to build up the trust it takes to cuddle and stay near one another. Another strong quality Solomon shares with Boris is the need for a schedule and the inner sense of authority to demand that the schedule remains on track. The times when schedule is most important to keep to? Dinner, snacks, and bedtime. When either one is late, there is a lot of talking, complaining, pleading, and interrupting that goes on. Solomon also has a very specific meow with inflection that means snack. That is unique to him. That’s the other thing, like Boris, he is mentally very present, and is able to communicate and talk in a way that gets his needs met.

Solomon relating to the fox. Photo by CS Sherin

Where Solomon diverges into some of his own unique qualities: he adores water. If there is a bath or shower going on, Solomon wants to be there. He not only wants to be there, he wants to rub his cheeks on the the walls, furniture, and sliding doors to the shower/bath repeatedly and with great passion — to celebrate the shower or bath, and that he is near it. When taking a bath, it seems like he is verging on coming into the bath as well. He will head butt an arm or shoulder and receives wet handed pets upon his head, neck and back with glee.

For a while, when he was younger (he was around 3 years old, maybe, when we adopted him), he also had a dark side, from his more feral days. When he would play with Wesley, wrestling happily and then bathing each other afterwards…it was lovely. But, in the beginning, sometimes the wrestling would trip a wire in his mind and the play would switch into a terrible viciousness. It was kind of scary. And it caused some major behavioral problems linked to fear for Wesley for a while.

Thankfully, we were able to address and completely change that stress response, from when Solomon was on his own, and would have to fight for his life with other males. We established the time-out in the bathroom. The time-out is not a punishment, exactly. The bathroom is a place he loves. But when he would turn vicious, we would tell him that he needed a time-out, and we put him in the bathroom with the door closed and light on. We left him there until he had switched off that trauma based reaction and had returned to calm, loving Solomon. At the same time, we conditioned Wesley as well. Once Solomon was in the bathroom, we retrieved Wesley from his hiding place, calmed and comforted him, and put him in a place that gave him more confidence — like on a bed or in the cat tree. When the time-out was over, then we would tell Solomon why he was in the time-out and that it was over. After a year of this process, even asking if he needed a time-out would cause him to stop, separate, and calm down. This process has been completely successful. Solomon doesn’t break into that viciousness anymore. Though he can get carried away with other instinctual responses….

Solomon, so content in 2018. Photo by CS Sherin

Solomon is still a mellow, sweet, loving guy. But, there is a dark side he shows sometimes when each of us needs to shower in the morning. Sometimes, just as a person has disrobed and is about to get in the shower, he positions himself so that he is quite near the entrance to the shower. At that point, if you catch a glimpse of his face, it is no longer the loving Solomon we adopted. He becomes a giant tiger lying above a waterfall, waiting to catch his prey. His ears go back, and his eyes look like he is planning to destroy you! At that point, fear flashes through our minds, and he sees it. The person quickly steps into the shower and screams out, because Solomon has just swiped with nails out or bit — the person’s behind. It is terrifying. At first, he was only doing it to Jeff and Samara. But they hadn’t told me about it yet! Then, one day, he did it to me. I couldn’t believe it. I yelled at him, saying “NO!” But, I noticed, yelling only made him worse. So that wasn’t the way to go. We keep coconut oil in the bathroom, and I know that he adores a little bite of it. So, instead of feeding his mad energy with my own, I offered him some coconut oil. That changed everything.

He no longer tried to attack. However, he still likes to swipe from time to time. But it is more of a funny game, than the predator-prey type feel that he first was giving off. Of course, we all handle these kinds of issues in our own way. Samara just kicks him out of the bathroom. Jeff simply screams and puts up with it. But, Solomon never really hurts him. And I think that Jeff thinks it is both scary and funny. So, yeah. I can see the big cat in Solomon. And I respect him, and know that he had hard times, combined with instincts that sometimes brings out his dark side.

Me and Solomon, November 2017 selfie.

I would say that the last two years he has truly blossomed. Having told you about some of his difficult behavior, I have to adjust the picture of him a bit. Solomon is a reserved, respectful, and shy cat. He wants affection and attention — very much so, but he will never ask for it. When he wants it, he will come near enough for us to reach out to him, and then run away. When he wants to lie down by us, he is just out of reach, but near. When he wants to lie on me for a minute, he waits until deep into the night, when we are all sleeping, and then climbs on my back and lays down, or head butts my head, and then cuddles me. It only lasts for a short while, and then his instinct to run kicks in. We have such a tender spot for him because of this. What we understand is that he didn’t have affection from people when he was a kitten. He learns a lot from our youngest cat, Gilbert. Gilbert is the most demonstrative and affectionate cat we have ever known. Solomon has blossomed a lot in trying out cuddles the way that Gilbert does it. He can’t do it for long, but his quiet little purr tells us that he likes it very much.

This October marks four years since we adopted Solomon Solstice. He is a gorgeous, really good cat! An endearing thing he has done since the beginning: if he is sleeping somewhere in the house and we walk by or near him, he will quite suddenly raise his head and make a vocalization that sounds, not like a meow, but like a: “Hi! What’s up?” And while he never asks for affection, we find that we can lean in and give him a hug and a pet, or a kiss on the forehead, and the little purr motor turns on in gratitude. We make sure to pick him up and carry him around, letting him know that we see, know, and love him. He really appreciates it. And he is just as placid, being held now, as he was back then. It is a happy place for him.

Left to right: Wesley, Gilbert, and Solomon; August 2018. Photo by CS Sherin

I told Solomon that I was telling his story today, even though his story is ongoing. He was extremely happy and excited, and couldn’t stop talking and rubbing against everything. We picked him up and gave him hugs and kisses. He understands so much English that it’s scary sometimes. When he talks so much, I wish I could understand every word, but I don’t. I told him this. Like Boris, he knows that humans miss a lot, and he is willing to work with where we are at in this life journey. What I do know is that the Summer Solstice is made more special in knowing Solomon — and in knowing that that was the beautiful day that the universe set the plan in motion to send him to his forever home — with us. And October is that much more beautiful, seeing his loving, wise eyes light up when we tell him, “Happy anniversary, Solomon! We are so glad you are here. We love you buddy.”

Life Advice From Cats

CS Sherin, September 4, 2019

Having lived with and loved many exceptional cats in my life so far, I am finally getting around to sharing some of their sage advice for life and living. The cats I know and love, and those that have since carried on across the Rainbow Bridge, all are/were the best kinds of cats. The best cats aren’t really aloof, mean or uncaring. Quite the opposite. Anyway, please enjoy some of the wisdom I have gleaned from generations of fur family companions, as it comes straight from them. πŸ™‚

Baby Wesley. Photo by: CS Sherin

Life Advice From Cats

  1. If you are a leader: lead with love and encouragement. Purr and smile when things are good. Also, correct bad behavior swiftly, and mean it. Hiss if necessary.
  2. Become good friends with the dog. Keep it on the down low. And hit the top of her head (not too hard) if she gets rude.
  3. Hold your loved ones paw until they fall asleep when they are sad. Stay beside them when they are sick.
  4. Smile, run, play, eat, cuddle, nap.
  5. Ask for what you need when you can’t do it for yourself. Be as loud and creative as needed.
  6. Take your jobs and duties in life seriously, and keep your humor.
  7. Vow to be true to those in your care. Watch over a child. Protect and guide them.
  8. Be king or queen of your own life. Be just, valiant, fiercely passionate. Do this without apology or arrogance.
  9. Be tidy in the bathroom.
  10. Take sun baths whenever possible.
  11. Cuddle with your loved ones.
  12. Jump the fence. Even if it is quite tall. Do this to really live — not to run away. Go just a little ways past the fence and sleep under garden plants for the day, where no one can find you.
  13. Get home in time for dinner.

May we all make the most of the life we have, with the luck of nine lives, and the health of a happy purr in our hearts that abides. Meow!

CS Sherin, Β©2019 all rights reserved.