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The Sassy Sandpiper: Confessions of a Cat-Mom

Pixel | Sassy Sandpiper | Cats

On Mother’s Day, the Sassy Sandpiper reflects that the joys and frustrations of motherhood come with “children” of all shapes, sizes, and species.

By M.R. WILSON, Columnist, TB Reporter

Today is Mother’s Day. I have to confess it’s a mixed bag of emotions this year. Okay, it is every year since my own precious Mom died in 1995. I avert my eyes when passing racks of Mother’s Day cards, Mom-themed gifts, and vendors proffering roses on street corners for last-minute daughters and sons.

I’m comforted by the enduring love of my stepson, Luke, and memories of the challenges and triumphs we share.

Yet, I’m saddened by turbulence that surrounds Mother’s Day for many. Perhaps it’s about a selfish, manipulative mother who bullied her children well into their adult lives, making even one healthy rebellion impossible in their youth, and their present lives a guilty servitude. More succinctly, such relationships are described by therapists as “dysfunctional.” It may take years of counseling to heal. Human attachments are too often treacherous. Fixing them can be like trying to untangle a tumbleweed of greased barbed wire.

Feline families make much more sense. No hidden agendas. Everyone is honest-to-paws authentic. No subterfuge or drama. Communication by hiss, claws and teeth is unambiguous.

I love being a Cat-Mom. Boa delivered my Crazy Cat Lady Starter Kit five years ago. Her offspring treat me like their second mother. They cry-meow, begging for treats and attention (brushing, petting, snuggle places) and access to the coveted single indoor litter box. (The others “go outside” to the Kitty Kabana.) They walk all over me like I’m part of the furniture. They nuzzle and love-bite. They gaze into my eyes and purr. They throw themselves on my lap or legs or clamber onto my side when I’m napping. The youngest, Thomas, threads himself between my ankles, nibbles my toes and yowls if the food bowls are empty. They also ignore me when I “nag” them to stop climbing the tapestry, using the woodwork for scratching posts, and fighting each other.

The Starter Kit, aka “the Six-Pack,” has been so much fun that I’ve adopted three from a local pet retailer and rescued another from Joe’s Creek Greenway Park.

You may already know much of this story if you’ve been reading my columns. My feline companions are sources of joy and inspiration, even if they are exasperating at times, just like human children. Of course, there’s no substitute for bearing a babe. It’s one of those universal experiences missing from the hand of cards I was dealt In Dis Life and thus another reason Mother’s Day is bittersweet.

All that said, I still believe that what is “maternal” may be the best in all of us — human and nonhuman — excepting perhaps langurs (a type of monkey), Galapagos sharks, and house sparrows.

To each and everyone, Happy Mother’s Day! That includes Daddies, too, because without you, quite absolutely none of us would exist.

Woman | Cat | Pets and Animals

Main Photo shows Pixel helping his mom write a column. Courtesy of M.R. Wilson.

Sassy Sandpiper | M.R. Wilson | Mother’s Day | Cats | Tampabay News

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