Your beautifully introspective memoir reminds me that I should write a book of cats. When the man I loved lay close to death I arrived home from the hospital to the phenomenon of all three independent prowlers and loungers lined up at the apartment door to meet me. They did that once again before he died, but never again.
I learned how easy birthing can be from calm, efficient Molly, whose nonchalance reassured me during the birthing of our first child. A few weeks later she would care not only for her own litter but often nursed the kittens of the skittish Siamese who almost devoured her newborns and tended to be neglectful of them.
I learned how a small impatience that brushes a cat away can deflect its daily perambulations into the path of a careless driver on a country road.
Many other feline lessons translate into paying attention to children in their unspoken needs, a teaching they can repay. That edgy Siamese, loaned to a cousin with substance issues, kept him alive, according to his sisters, until he found AA.