YouTube videos by the dozens (thousands? millions?) show a dog’s twitchy anticipation of their owner’s imminent arrival. The pooch might move from the window to the door then back again, hop a little, their tail wagging back and forth so fast it seems in danger of flying off like a little furry missile. What I’m saying is, they’re excited and they’re ready to shower all kinds of puppy love on the whomever comes through that door.

Now, my cats, of which there are two. They have their own greeting, yes, but if the dog’s is one of love and joy, these cats regard my arrival in the strict terms of an economic arrangement that just became more attractive. A lucky break, if you will.

See, the kitties (correctly) recognize that I am a potential source for food, treats, and the coveted, most desired prize: a couple hours leashed up in the backyard (I hear your questions and I shall answer them at some later date – cat leashing is not the subject of this post, thank goodness). They are willing to provide some cuddle time in exchange for these things, and when I come home after several days out of town, well, they (correctly) perceive I am cuddle deficient.

Like an oil tycoon sizing up a small town for a takeover, they approach with the offer on the table, and it’s one I can’t refuse. Nuzzle here, nuzzle there, ok champ it’s time to go. If I think about pushing back, instead of hired muscle and town debts, the cats turn to endless yowls, scratching at the furniture, and pointed demonstrations of what gravity can do to our small plants, drying dishes, etc.

So I give in. After sitting in planes and airports for hours, struggling through rough sleep in hotels, I don’t have the energy. The cats have me, they know it, and so they get what they want – a chance to chew some grass and hope some chipmunk stumbles into their range.

It’s not quite puppy love, but it’s what I got.

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