Yesterday, I stopped by the vet's office to pick up Inky's ashes. I plan to bury them in our little aspen grove in the backyard. While there, a man came out of the exam room with his little black cat. He put her down on the counter where I was standing, and she promptly proceeded to curl up against my chest and submit to my petting. Her name is Desert Storm, and she's blind (or at least mostly). She's 18 years old.
While owner paid the bill, DS sat quite contentedly against me, arching her back slightly against my hand as I pet her. As much as I try not to anthropomorphize, I can't help thinking this little kitty knew I need some purr therapy.
Ripley has also been acting a little different lately. She and Inky weren't exactly buds, but obviously Ripley is aware that something is different. She alternates between begging for extra treats -- because she expects to be spoiled as the only "child" -- and being nervous and clingy.
Again it's probably anthropomorphizing, but I really think animals know when something is up, when we need a mood boost or just a cuddle. They seem to be quite intuitive. That's on top of being lovable and cute, of course.