Opera Cat

As much as I wish I could have another two or three lives to live beyond the one I’ve been given, and as fun as it can be to think about, I don’t believe in reincarnation.

That said, I’m pretty sure my cat was an opera singer in his past life.

I sing a lot — not always well, but I sing frequently. I have a few default songs that I’ll turn to at random times: when I’m walking into work, cleaning the kitchen, sorting mail or waiting for my car at the car wash. The Four Seasons’ “December, 1963” is one of them, and “Silver Bells” is another. Songs from Phantom of the Opera also make an appearance a couple times a month.

My cat, also known as “Babe” or “The T,” likes to lay under the kitchen table and scope our the happenings around him. While I’m cooking or cleaning, he’s sprawling and watching. And when my quiet but audible singing starts, he joins in.

His big green eyes stare at me with an intensity that’s telling me he’s interested in what I’m doing. He wants to make the same sounds, and appears frustrated that he can’t.

He flops onto his back and twists around a bit. Perhaps he’s in the mood for a massage. As quickly as he flopped down, he pops back up and sits at attention.

And then, from his little spot on the floor, he lets out a giant, soulful meow that speaks of a yearning for something beyond his furry, lizard-chasing, bird-catching life.

I face him and sing quietly, maintaining eye contact. He meows some more, then lifts his head toward the ceiling as a long, multi-second howl comes out. I reach down to pet him, and he seems quite pleased with his vocal stylings. As he begins to purr, I sing some more and he’s suddenly inspired to much on some cat kibbles. Yes, that’s our evening routine.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve wished I was a better singer, I’ve loved cats and I’ve been fascinated by performance. With that trio in my head, tonight I pictured The T as an opera singer-turned-cat, perhaps on his way to being a human in one of his next nine lives — given how much he appears to want to sing. And if his next stop is going to be in my world, would my next stop be one of an operatic nature?

No. But it’s fun to think about. And tonight I am thankful for my singing
Babe who unintentionally reminded me that another life can always be lived during the one that we have. It may not be the life we were meant to have as our primary role, but so long as we simply try our hand at something that makes our spirit soar, our heart can sing with pride and contentment at trying.

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