Cats are such a great object lesson in relationships.

My own new cat Elsa is perfectly happy getting a little physical attention when she wants it, and she can be very affectionate on her own terms.

In other words, she gets to make the calls. Imagine that.

Try to manhandle her or give her affection without her consent and she becomes distant and wary. Honor her autonomy and wishes, and she’s quite likely to be friendly and close.

I always ask before I pet her, not with my voice of course, with my hand. This is her saying no, not right now:

Writer. Runner. Marine. Airman. Former LGBTQ and HIV activist. Former ActUpNY and Queer Nation. Polyglot. Middle-aged, uppity faggot.