The View from the Mountains: The universal language of love

Published 12:32 pm Tuesday, October 18, 2016

By Jean Brody
Sun columnist
Everybody who reads me knows my love for animals.
I missed them so much when we traveled, and we traveled a lot. One of my animals that I was especially bonded to was named “Perry Fat Cat.”
Let me tell you the amazing thing that happened when my husband Gene and I drove through the French Alps years ago.  This story appeared in one of the 19 Chicken Soup for the Soul books I wrote for and it won many awards. I am not sure why it became so popular. Maybe it is the brevity of it and the fact that, with no words spoken, I touched on my belief about universal language and love. Here it is.
Recently my husband Gene and I traveled throughout Europe.  We rented a car as we always do and drove along the back roads, staying in quaint out of the inns. The only thing that distracted me from the wonder of the trip was the terrible longing I felt for our cat Perry Fat Cat.
I always miss him when we travel, but this time, because we were gone for more than three weeks, my need to touch his soft fur and to hold him close became more intense. With every cat we saw, the feeling deepened.
We were high in the mountains of France one morning, packing the car before resuming our trip, when an elderly couple walked up to the car parked next to ours. The woman was holding a large Siamese cat and speaking to him in French.
I stood watching them, unable to turn away. My yearning for Perry must have been written all over my face. The woman glanced, turned to speak to her husband and then spoke to her cat. Suddenly she walked right up to me and, without one word, held out her cat.
I immediately opened my arms to him. Cautious about the stranger holding him, he extended his claws, but only for a few seconds. Then he retracted them, settled into my embrace and began to purr. I buried my face into his soft fur while rocking him gently.
Then, still wordless, I  returned him to the woman.
I smiled in thanks and tears my eyes. The woman had sensed my need to hold her cat, the cat had sensed that he could trust me, and both, in one of the greatest gifts of kindness I had ever received, had acted upon their feelings.
It is comforting to know to know the language of cat lovers and cats, is the same the world over.
Now that you have read it,  could you feel the softness of his fur?  Were you surprised that a foreign cat would settle in my arms and retract his claws? Actually, I had no fear that he would scratch or bite me because I do believe in certain things in this world are universal.
Just as the French cat trusted me within seconds, my two cats today are exactly the same way about people.
It is a universal understanding animals and humans have and share. Isn’t that amazing? Love and language do not have to be spoken. It only has to be felt.
The view from the mountains is wondrous..