I am writing this blog post after we escorted our, now adult, cats to the kitchen, where they spend the night. "Their chair" is there and this is the place they have been taken every night since they were kittens. Bree still will often 'require' the 'taxi service' in the arms of a human while Hobnob prefers to stroll on in. The ritual offers comfort, to break it is to sew concern and discord. To understand why this ritual is comforting, it might be useful to explain some of their transition to our home.
Hobnob and Bree were typical kittens in that they had tons of energy - bouncing around everywhere - until they didn't have energy anymore. But, unlike some kittens we've dealt with in the past, these two wouldn't just go to sleep. We've watched some baby animals go from full-tilt to asleep in seconds. Not this time. These tired kittens cried and would only calm down when we would pick them up and sit with them for a while.
After a little bit, we would set them on the shelf that they had claimed as their 'sleepy spot.'
Sometimes, they would be fully asleep. But, usually, they were just drowsy, soon to close their eyes the rest of the way. There was something comforting to us when we saw them finally relaxing and being willing to trust that the world was "right enough" for them to catch a few zzzzs.
As I recalled this memory I wondered: Is it more comforting to be comforted or to offer comfort?
Perhaps the answer is that this is the wrong question. There is no reason for us to worry about whether giving or receiving comfort is more valuable to us. The real question is why we don't offer and accept comfort more often?