Pets have always been a big part of our lives. They are not just animals to us; they are family members. Studies have clearly shown that being a pet owner is good for both physical and emotional health; therefore, sharing vignettes about our own pets seems to be a natural inclusion in Sunny Side Up.
As Trinket currently holds seniority in the line-up of our family pets, I’ll start with her. She is an 8 year-old Seal Point Birman - a purebred cat with the most beautiful blue eyes and markings. She joined our family after we suffered a series of losses of shelter cats. It was highly coincidental, but being very emotional about it all, we decided, as a family, to get a pedigreed cat.
After extensive research, we agreed on the breed and identified a woman in South Texas who raised Seal Point Birmans. My friend Jennifer and I ventured off one morning after getting the kids to school.
The entire trip, she asked repeatedly, “Why exactly are we driving three hours to get a cat when you can get dozens for free at the shelter just down the road?”
“You’ll see!” I’d answer,ed over and over again.
We drove deep into the country down endless winding roads filled with potholes. We both had no idea where we were, and at that point, even I questioned why we were on this crazy mission for a cat. We finally found the woman’s home; as we drove up, dozens, if not hundreds, of stray cats raced toward our car. Jennifer shot me a, “See?!?! Crazy Lady!!!” look. At that moment, I had to agree.
“We’ve come this far…..let’s at least talk to the breeder,” I said with resignation. An older, casually dressed woman opened the door of the trailer. It was spotless inside - no sign or smell of any type of animal. As we stood there, four tiny balls of white fur with sparkling blue eyes sprang up around the woman’s feet.
“Awww!!!” Jennifer and I both squealed in delight. The woman explained that the cats she bred and sold were strictly kept in the house, but she didn’t have the heart to turn away all the strays that seemed to endlessly show up outside.
We played with the kittens, chose one - a female, and headed home. Jennifer and I both fell in love on that trip home. My husband, always the one who names our pets, immediately said, “Her name is Trinket!” when he walked through the door and saw the angelic ball of fur. She was so sweet and cuddly, and absolutely the most gorgeous cat we’d ever seen.
However, we quickly learned Trinket either viewed herself as being far superior to the rest of the family … or she was more dumb than a box of rocks. The saying “With a blank expression on her face” was uttered by every person in our family at least once a day when referring to Trinket. “Where is Trinket?” “Staring at the rug…..with a blank expression on her face.” “What did Trinket do today?” “Laid on the cat tower…..with a blank expression on her face." Trinket liked to sleep on my son’s bed…but when I changed the bedding, she would walk in, stare at the bed, sit there for awhile (with a blank expression on her face), and then leave as if she didn’t know where she was or why she had gone back there in the first place. The same reaction occurred if we moved anything in the house, and we quickly learned not to move anything of hers. We eventually leaned more toward the latter of our thoughts about her … that she was in fact a simple cat - a cat of little brain.
Did that change our love for her or her importance in our family system? Not in the least! We love and accept her for who she is; her “blank expressions” and very “blonde” behavior provides many a laugh for our family and friends. Just this morning, I was doing housework and opened a few doors to air out our home. Trinket, curious, wandered out and immediately got lost (although she was only around the corner of the house, she had no idea how she had gotten there or how to get back). One of the dogs, her loyal and protective big brother, retrieved her and guided her back in. She then went and stretched out by the chair where I lay my husband’s clothes every morning, so she’d be ready to rub on his legs and meow loudly for attention while he got ready for work.
Pets display a level of unconditional, nonjudgmental love and devotion that absolutely brightens anybody’s spirit. They have a way of jolting us out of any dark places we may have wandered to in our hearts and shining a beam of hopeful light in our direction, beckoning us back into a happier, healthier place. They lighten us and keep us balanced. The cat of little brain is a gleaming example.