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My cats are just getting disgusted by my up/down/over/out moods of late. One minute I’m telling them not to worry about anything. “All Shall Be Well,” I preach at them. And then next minute, I’m dampening their perfect fur coats with my tears. They have tolerated my need to keep adding yet more saints, more wise-sayings, more angels, more cards, more prayers and more positive rah-rahs to my wish-list for a home. But they have had it. They don’t appreciate me exhibiting my own insecurities in front of them. After all, they, and their consumption of food, are, through no fault of their own, attached to me and thus to my doubts.

If they could they would hold a mandatory boot camp for me on the skills needed to get through difficult times while keeping your dignity in place and your supper dish filled. After all, they remind me daily, they have survived birth in an alley in Chinatown with the mythical, but oh-so-real to them, threat that their tender little bodies might end up in a soup somewhere. After that they were moved to multiple foster homes, no one wanting to keep them for too long. “How would that make you feel, Ann?” they ask me as they preen on the back of the couch. They always remind me that for lesser cats that would have ruined them for life — especially since they had to deal with a name change in every house. Talk about identity-crisis material. At one house they had to spend their early years being called  Elvis and Harley. Rose was particularly pissed about going through even a small portion of her life named “Harley.” What were those folks thinking? She has, from her conception, thought of herself as royalty and deserved a title no matter what the name. (She isn’t too keen on Rose, either, and has taken to only talking to me when I call her Princess.) But, they remind me, that if I watch them and listen to them and follow how they live, I would be a much happier and healthier woman.

They  have drawn up a list of virtues  I need to learn — or re-learn — in order to make their lives and, as an afterthought, my life, better

Patience: Nick said to watch him as he waits, Zen-like, under the treat drawer. Enivitably, like manna from heaven,  the drawer will open and rewards will spill out.

Persistence: Rose totally believes that if you just keep at anything long enough all good things (usually food, in her case) will come to you.

Get A Good Sleep: Sleep everywhere, anytime, standing up or lying down. If  you get a chance to sleep do it. It prepares you for the previous two.

Stop Worrying about the Future: For heaven’s sakes, the food in front of you is the only food you have to think about. That’s it.

Always be Kind: a furry rub against a leg will get you far.

They’ve reminded me a few times today that I am scheduled for an all-day, silent meditation retreat tomorrow. They are hoping that these lessons will get a chance to mellow inside of me during all that silence and I’ll come home a happier person — and in plenty of time to get their supper ready.