Without knowing that they’re even there, you might not even know these two even exist. They’re silent predators of their own peace, existing in a world of wonders and content to keep to themselves, except when they take the lay of the land, small excursions like benevolent explorers to see what’s out there, free or perhaps full of ego, so that you love them without needing much in return.
They are cats, after all.
Ribsy told me there was a lot to learn from Remus and Tonks, much that was relevant to the mystery of Barky, how fine a razor’s edge all animals creep along, from independence and interdependence to the awareness of those around them and the need to retain boundaries. Cats in particular put the whole phenomenon in sharp relief, needing and demanding much in exchange for only a little. Some people equate pets to infants, but it’s an artificial relationship, derived from a false analysis. A cat as much as a dog exhibits a hundred times a day its instincts of self-preservation. They are captives of luxury, but captives all the same. The trick is to develop a bond, which in some animals is easier than in others, and the reason they become pets. Cats may seem aloof, but they know what it means to care for humans. They have a much simpler equation than most animals:
Distance/Time = Love
Remus and Tonks figured out the art and science of it, not just the math. They were regular students of the game, and they excelled in their classroom, which is sometimes called life.
The balance of the equation is always to know when space does not become neglect. Space is a mutual designation, whereas neglect is the absence of space, crosses the bounds of cruelty and constitutes a betrayal. Ribsy knew about that, and if he didn’t much want to talk about it. He said Barky knew about it, too. It was the reason the Roadkill Café existed to begin with. It was a destination that was defined by space, which is why it attracted so many visitors, and why so many of them chose to stay. It reminded them of home, or at least what it was supposed to be.