I was sitting in my chair thinking about all the things that need to get done—shopping, fixing my computer, office work, cleaning out a drawer, calling friends and family—when I noticed my cat, Patches, staring at me. Not looking; staring. I tried to understand her motive for this behavior, which would be quite rude in a human: Her expressionless face jutted at me, eyeballs fixed in the direction of my head but mostly, somehow, on the space between us. A true blank stare.

So I moved closer to her and began petting her and scratching behind her ears. She rolled over and allowed me to rub her stomach. She has often done this the past, and I never paid it much mind, but now it all became very clear to me. Cats have it just right. They have mastered what we always wanted but could never achieve. Patches “allowed” me to give her a massage, which gave me pleasure. If I want a massage I have to pay for it, but with the cat it is practically the opposite. A cat gives us pleasure by allowing us to give them pleasure, not to mention toys, food, and the best healthcare plan this country has ever known. I am happy they have learned how to use us to make them happy and safe, I just want to know where I can go to learn their magic for myself. Maybe I will just start by giving vacant stares to people I want to scratch my ears.

If you want the pleasure a cat gives, the shelter has a ton of fuzzy little critters just waiting to stare at you.


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