My brother, Salem, and I have the typical, complicated sibling relationship that comes from being born of the same litter of kittens. He pushes and shoves to get the lion’s share of milk and I, in turn, lay with my butt on his face while he sleeps. Like I said, a typical sibling relationship.
As we have grown, we’ve both learned important life lessons from each other. He has taught me how to wake our human for breakfast at 5 a.m. by knocking her shit off the nightstand, and I taught him all about the beauty of a good catnip high.
Being brothers, we have had our share of scrapes, as well. In our younger days, he would hold my tail to my face exclaiming, “Why are you hitting yourself? Why are you hitting yourself?” and I would pretend to eat his birthday cake, sending him into a fury. We have fought over things like sunbeams and the “good” spot on the sofa as, well as whose turn it is to scare the dog.
We are much older now, and even though I feel as though I have gleaned all the useful knowledge I can from him, he still fancies himself as my tutor. Every now and then, he will toss out a bit of dating advice or whatnot. I smile and try to accept it with the love in which it was offered. From time to time, I reciprocate with guidance like these crickets are crunchier, that squirrel is too chatty, and watch out for small humans with lollipops. Our days are now filled with naps more than anything else.
Today, as Salem and I are watching an alley cat walk by our window, he elbows me, “Watch this.”
I glance over, and he taps on the glass and winks at her. She smiles back, exposing a mouth full of missing teeth and one slightly yellow, broken one.
“And…” I ask, bewildered.
“Notice how I made her day? I call it ‘throwing the uglies a bone.’” He smiles at me proudly, “It works for the aesthetically less pleasing as well as the financially unfortunate,” referring to the recent spike in homeless felines around our neighborhood.
He puffs out his chest, “See. I treat them like they’re as good as me. It does my heart good.” And he looks out, admiring the effects of his good deed.
I nod. “Does it work with the intellectually challenged ones as well?”
“Oh, the idiots?” he says nodding, still pleased with himself. “Yes. Yes, it does.”
I turn and pat the top of his head, tousling his fur, “That’s marvelous, little buddy. Thanks for teaching me something.” Then I wink at him.