Humans are interesting creatures. Life is so simple, but they feel so many things, and they feel deeply. Not like my kind; we are profoundly philosophical. The troubles and traumas of this world are for us to experience and live through in order to augment our knowledge of the universe. Sometimes, humans perceive my people as cold because our emotional perspectives are not shared. I think this is why they bond so well with dogs; dogs are feelers, not thinkers. I find that sadness is the most mysterious and difficult emotion to comprehend. It makes me sound callous to say that it is a pointless emotion; perhaps futile is a better adjective. And yet, the humans are cut more deeply by this feeling than any other.
One day last week, two humans carried their old dog in, and they went into my big couch room. This happens from time to time, and a hush falls over the building, like a blanket of fog rolling through, reaching its tendrils of grief into every corner. I hung around in the hall, silently watching and listening so as not to intrude. This sorrow-filled air doesn’t really bother me; I know that everyone’s time will come, including mine, when we have the big sleep. What gets to me is how much it bothers them. I can feel it when their hearts are sad. It squeezes their insides and makes water leak from their eyes and noses. When they are sad inside, it makes my stomach rumbly and my tail refuses to curl at the end. I wanted to tell them that everything is okay, there is no reason to be sad. When animals leave this world, we are ready to try the next one. We are much closer to the natural way of things than the humans, and death is part of life; there is no reason for it to cause fear or sadness. And then, as they held their friend and let their tears dampen his fur, I had somewhat of a revelation; they did not fear for their friend during his passing, they feared for themselves after he is gone.
When it was over, the two humans sat quietly next to each other, consumed with the despondency of their old friend’s absence. I knew there was nothing I could say to make them feel better, and they wouldn’t understand if I tried. I didn’t want to encroach on their mourning, but I felt compelled to do something; we are all animals on this earth together. So I did the only thing I could think of, and let them feel my warm, furry presence. I gently rubbed against their shins, and they stroked my back. I purred, and let them hold me, even though it’s not always my favorite.
After they left, the gloomy atmosphere slowly cleared; life in the hospital must go on. I think I may never fully understand that sadness, but I have begun to appreciate the magnitude of its influence on the humans. While sadness is futile for my people, for them it seems an inescapable element of their existence. That is why they need us; they seek happiness from any source in order to balance out the frequent sorrow that is part of their life. Perhaps the humans are more courageous than they are credited; to face the weight of so much emotional burden seems daunting to me. I would much rather analyze the world, the way my people have done for centuries, even though the responsibility is exhausting. It has been theorized that cats are so often caught sleeping because a certain quotient of sleep must be filled in order to progress the understanding of the universe. I think this is very true, and at this moment I think it is time for me to be caught in a cat nap.