I was half asleep this morning when Franki plopped his fat body right up against me. I started rubbing his tummy, and he adjusted his body so that his tummy was fully exposed, allowing me to really get in there.
And he was purring. Oh, he was purring. So loudly.
And I started tearing up thinking about how he just wants love. How that's all any of these babies want or wanted. Jasper. Trooper. Blondie. Grizzy. Chappy. Milagro.
I think about how not too long ago, Franki was a scared cat living outdoors, scrounging for food and shelter, fighting other cats for territory, and how now he has a home with two gay dads who love him very much.
He doesn't seem to miss being outside at all. I see him looking out the porch door, but it's mostly out of curiosity and doesn't seem to be any sort of longing to get back out there.
He has become so much more trusting than he was when he first moved in because he realizes we aren't going to hurt him, that he's safe here.
I think of my little shadow, Grizzy, who follows me everywhere I go and finds every opportunity she can to sit on or near me. I think about how legitimately sad she gets when I have to go to work or when I choose to spend time with Chappy or Blondie rather than her.
Grizzy is literally right next to me as I write this, purring contentedly. A little more than two years ago, she was a ragged, matted, scared ball of fur seeking protection and finding it in us and a special cat named Milagro.
I think of my little Chappy, so mentally fragile and scared of everything, and how comforted she feels when I pet her and lie near her and how she just wants to be with us.
I think of how super excited Blondie gets when I sit in her chair, how she runs like a kitten and purrs and purrs and purrs. How she nuzzles and bops my elbow to get me to pet her when I am not paying attention to her. How she cries when she wants me to pet her.
I think of our little Jasper, so sick and untrusting when we first found him, but how all that scrawny little guy wanted was love. How he nuzzled his thin, little body against my chin and slept on my chest, so contentedly. How that abandoned and lonely cat lived the last five months of his life full of love and died knowing his life mattered.
I think of my little Trooper, who was my girl, who would scrunch up on my shoulder and want me to give her affection. Who would sleep right next to me nearly every night.
I think of Milagro, who wasn't ours but who we took care of when he was at his lowest and who came to visit us all the time because he knew he was safe here.
That all they want—all anybody really wants—is to be loved and valued.
I'm now in Chappy's room as I finish this, and she is happily marching next to me, her loud purrs echoing through the room.
Love. That's what it's all about.