|Waddles and I in 2004.|
I searched the magazine racks, back and forth, up and down. The only issue I could find was the next month’s issue, already on the stands, not the current month’s issue. Cat Fancy.
I took it up to the check-out at the bookstore.
“Oh, it’s their last publication as Cat Fancy,” the salesperson said.
“Yes, but I was actually hoping to find another issue,” I said. “There was an article in it that I wanted to read.”
“What was the article about?” she asked.
I was a bit embarrassed to answer.
“I’m one of those people who follow cats on Facebook,” I said. “It’s an article about one of those.”
I thought she meant which issue. “February,” I said.
“No, I mean which cat?” she asked.
I thought, She knows about cats on Facebook?
“Frosty the Frozen Kitten,” I said.
Then the salesperson named a list of cats that she followed on Facebook. It turned out that she, too, was one of those people who followed cats on Facebook.
I admit it. I follow numerous cats: Frosty, Champy Pants the Blind Siamese Kitty, Buhbee the Cat, Tenderness for Tyrone, FlowerPower.
It’s cute, it’s fun, and it’s relaxing. I’ve learned a lot about rescue efforts that are going on around the country and the world. I’ve learned about special-needs animals and the people who love them and take care of them. I’ve connected with other animal people.
But with connection can come feelings of loss. When one of the animals (mostly cats) that I follow get sick, or have a sibling that gets sick, or crosses the Rainbow Bridge, I feel very sad.
“Why do you look at those pages if they make you cry?” Larry has asked.
And I ask myself that sometimes: why do I do this to myself?
Because I enjoy reading about the antics of kitties. Because I can relate to what other pet people are going through with trying to give cats medicine, finding foods that they like, and dealing with sibling rivalry. Because I am part of an exchange of helpful information. Because it’s a group of people who value animals in the same way I do.
I know that Facebook is not the same as real life. If Chase Bird wants to play or sit in my lap, and I’m looking at Facebook, down goes my phone. I’m careful to limit my time online and keep my focus on the life around me. I’m aware that social media can be an escape from the worries and stresses of daily life. And it’s certainly been a stressful couple of months.
But online friends are still friends, even if I’ve never met them in person. I care about the animals and the pet parents I’ve connected with and want to be encouraging when I can. I’ve learned more about animal welfare and what I can do “in real life” to help animals.
So I say without embarrassment: I’m one of those people who follow cats on Facebook.
Have you ever been interested in learning more about a “famous” animal?