CATNIPS on Family 12/15/2009
A recurring theme during the holiday season is the importance of family. I don’t argue that having a close relationship with blood relatives is generally a good thing. However, some of us come from what might be termed “toxic” families. Our family members may have been absent or totally self-involved while we were growing up; may be emotionally or physically abusive; may have totally reprehensible beliefs such as bigoted hatred for certain people or groups; or may just be the kind of people who see other family members as tools to use for their own gratification and aggrandizement. Some of us have very good reasons not to maintain close relationship with our families.
On the other hand, “family” is often defined in a broader sense: close friends and even co-workers. While I have never believed that sharing a workplace automatically makes people “family,” I do subscribe to the belief that we are entitled to choose our families from among those who nourish, sustain, and support us emotionally; i.e., good friends, neighbors, certain co-workers, etc.
Bogie and Bacall have something to say family.
BOGIE: I don’t remember my cat mother. I’m sure she was an EXCELLENT cat, because I am such a handsome fellow myself. When it comes to family, my human Dad ROCKS! I am so attached to him, we might as well be stuck together with Velcro. My human Mom arrived when I was three years old. I like her well enough, but she wasn’t around when I was at a serious bonding age. She is OK, as long as she remembers I was here first and doesn’t hog my Dad all to herself. Also, I expect her to continue to bribe me with treats and lots of attention. In return, I will not bite her.
BACALL: Bogie is right, cats bond best when they are kittens. I bonded very strongly to my human Mom, and we have a whole Velcro thing going, too. I also agree with Mom that “family” is whomever loves, cherishes, nurtures, and supports me. Everyone else can just worship me from afar. The afarther, the better!