France Insider/Paul Ben-Itzak

October 31, 2010

The cats came back again

20 years ago today I adopted my cats Mesha and Sonia from the pound in Anchorage, Alaska. A year and a half later I’d adopt my third, Hopey, from an adopt-a-pet stand in San Francisco. Mesha passed on June 22, 2007; Hopey on Nov. 28 of that year; and Sonia this past February 24, at the age of 20-something. 20 years!

I just took a bike ride along the canal here in Walnut Creek to pick up a cheap bottle of rouge for dinner. On the way back I stopped to look up at a circle of light peering through the gray clouds, and imagined it was my cats, and imagined what they might tell me on this day 20 years after I rescued Mesha and Sonia. They told me that not only were they rescued, but — what lives were in store for them! I thought of the 20 years and of how much I had to give to them (vice versa too), not just how much love but the adventures we had — from Alaska to San Francisco, to New York, Paris, and for Sonia (and Hopey for an all too brief time), the countryside in southwest France, and a river (which Hopey, a real water fiend, loved — the largest water faucet in the world that river was), then still for Sonia, all around the south of France and back to Paris twice. I mean who knew that Mesha would go from the pound (or as I liked to say, the Alaskan tundra) to the couch of a charming Parisienne on the rue de Paradis (the day he escaped from my apartment and went upstairs to my neighbor’s). Back here in the San Francisco Bay Area, I’ve felt that my family, or at least my brothers, are taking me for granted. So I asked my cats for advice. The advice they gave me is that from those packed 20 years, those intense and adventurous 20 years, they know how much love I have to give, and also the richness I offer to my entourage — those around me. So — I deserve better. I’m wasted here. On to New York, my real family, the family who came to me not because of what I am but because of who I am.

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