Different cats, different joys

There are two cats in my life right now. One's in Ireland and the other is in Hinsdale, and both of them have made this crazy time more bearable.

Moomin is my rescue cat. Like so many, lockdown inspired me to add a pet to the household. We found Moomin at the Hinsdale Humane Society after they featured her in The Hinsdalean. She's a white-haired beauty who won't give a cardboard box a second look but can spend hours stalking an elastic hair band. She's not much of a cuddler, except with Dad (well played, Moomin!), and has developed a relationship of toleration with Minnie, my Hong Kong rescue dog.

Billy is not my cat. After spending a few weeks walking across our garden in Ireland every day, this gray and white cutie with a weirdly arched back came inside for a look around. My daughter posted his photo in the Howth Facebook group and a nearby man informed us that this was Billy, who also visits him on a regular basis.

Billy has a happy home - he just apparently likes to share the joy that is him. He not-so-patiently meows outside our back door pretty much every day until we let him in and give him a treat. Then he's on his way after a quick cuddle, never failing to mark his territory on our garden wall to ensure that the ginger tabby with the Roman nose from two houses down doesn't get any ideas.

Both of these animals have made this COVID-19 year better for me and my family. Billy gives me something to look forward to every day. I think he's there mostly for the snack, but that's OK - I enjoy our time together. Moomin is part of the family now. When I'm visiting Ireland, she entertains Mom and Dad, although I'm pretty sure that Dad doesn't find it very entertaining when she jumps on his chest at 6 a.m. for breakfast. When I'm home, she keeps me company in the chair by my desk, giving me a break by allowing me to pet her while she sits on my keyboard. And for all of us, the dinner feeding time signals an end to the work day. Feeding Moomin and Minnie has become our evening commute, when we transition to our time together.

When COVID-19 is under control, I'm looking forward to having my human Billies and Moomins back into my life. I miss having my stop-by friends and my forever family around, but thanks to Billy and Moomin, I can continue to hold off until it's safe.

- Beth Smits of Hinsdale is a contributing columnist. Readers can email her at [email protected].