There’s something about tea that attracts cat lovers. Or maybe there’s something about cats that attracts tea lovers. Clearly there’s something … because so many of us dearly love them both.
It’s certainly not because tea-drinking is easier with cats around. Cats sniff or bat at the tea leaves, even try to eat them. (Although there’s no consensus on whether a small amount of liquid tea is harmful to cats, it’s pretty much agreed that in dry leaf form it’s not good for them.) Once the tea is made, they’ll try to lap some out of your cup, play with it with their paws, or walk by and drag their tails in it. You can’t have a candle teapot warmer – around cats it’s a serious fire danger. Even an electric cup warmer is iffy: those sweet little furbags just love to play with hanging cords, even if it means dumping warmer, cup, and tea, then gleefully running for the hills to avoid the resulting tumult.
Okay, maybe “gleefully” is a bit of hyperbole. But it certainly doesn’t faze kitties when you have to fix yourself a new cupful and clean up a mess, and they’re really baffled about why you might not want to drink anything that they’ve dunked any part of their anatomy into. If you’re careless enough to get up from your comfy tea-sipping spot they’ll slip right into it, giving you the hairy eyeball if you try to move them. And forget about inviting guests with dander allergies.
So what is it that bonds tea to cats and cats to tea in our lives? Well, we often drink tea to slow ourselves down, and cats, as we all know, are grand masters of relaxation. When we want to shut out the world to enjoy the tea’s taste and aroma, we have only to follow the example of our cats, who are always focused and in the moment. Cats are quite discriminating (or, if you prefer, finicky) in their tastes, liking only certain foods, toys, and people – just as tea-drinkers can have their very specific preferences about types of teas, how they’re prepared, how they’re served, and even who we share them with.
Then there’s that streak of independence. Cats never need peer approval; they’re not concerned with anyone’s opinion of them. Tea is not (yet) as mainstream as other beverages – at least in the USA – and tea lovers couldn’t care less what others think as we enjoy our favourite brews.
Maybe we simply love the soft, warm comfort of kitties purring in our laps, just as we love the warm comforting aroma and taste in a cup of tea. Whatever the ineluctable reasons, and whatever the equally certain challenges, we cat lovers aren’t about to give up our tea any more than we tea lovers are about to give up our cats.
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