Tonight, I talked with my cat for 45 minutes. And I believe he talked back.
No, I wasn't drinking (although I considered it.) I wasn't depressed (although I should have been). I was merely frustrated, looking to figure out a vexing problem concerning my future and my life. Reo, or "Dr. Reo" as he should be called, patiently listened, his honey golden eyes gazing lovingly into mine. He purred as I lamented. As I explained my options and waited for his reply, "Meow," he said. He rolled over, exposed his tummy to me and gently put his paw on my shoe. It was enough.
I grabbed his toy feather ("Da Bird –the best darn cat toy in the universe"), stroked his furry chin, and we played for another quarter hour. In my 60 minutes with Reo, I noticed something amazing. I had gone from head-in-the-oven panic to tomorrow-it-will-be-better tranquility. All because he listened. Or maybe just because I talked.
The Humane Society of the United States estimates that 4 to 6 million cats and dogs are euthanized each year instead of being adopted. Reo was one of the lucky ones. And so was I, to have found him.
The companionship, the unconditional love, and the energizing spirit of an animal that depends on you, loves you and is happy to see you every day should be enough to empty the cages of every shelter in America. It should be enough to make every sad, lonely person get up out of bed and have a connection with life. It should be enough to cure blues, to lift hopes, to put the big things into perspective.
Because when it comes down to what really matters in life, Reo knows, as all animals do, that love is the answer. And a good talk with a good friend can make a world of difference.