Lesson One: If You Want Something, Ask For It
If you have never had a cat, then you might find the concept of being in the house with your pet for an entire day without ever interacting with him a bit jarring. But, in the feline world, such days are business as usual.
However, whenever my cat is ready to need me, he has no problem making his needs known. He might meow loudly and arch his back at you. He also loves to plant his front legs squarely and heavily on the middle of your sleeping chest. If you are bald like my husband, he may even use the method of licking your forehead with his sandpaper tongue.
The bottom line is, the cat lets you know he means business. And the business he is always about, or at least mostly about, is being fed. In addition to his three squares, he also likes fish flakes, treats, and even carrots! Getting food and water for my indoor cat is the only essential need he cannot achieve for himself.
Lesson Two: Be Careful What You Ask For
Mastering the manipulative art of begging for his supper has an unwanted side effect for my isolationist feline. He often has to suffer my unwanted attentions.
Sometimes, despite his desire to be out of my arms, my cat’s body responds seemingly against his own will. A deep, melodious purr emits from his belly, a calming balm to me that seems at odds with the semi-wild look in his eye as he gauges when best to wiggle out of my grip.
Like so many of us, he seems at times like this, almost double-minded. He wants to be near me, but not so near that my person comes in contact with his catness. He has yet to master the actually comfortable position of being loved and free at one and the same time. Instead, he mistakes my affection for a cage he is all too eager to escape, even if he purrs while doing the escaping!
Lesson Three: Be Still
No one sleeps more peacefully than a cat. We humans toss and turn. Even dogs chase rabbits in their dreams. But cats know how to curl in a ball or stretch upside down and breathe in perfect peace for hours on end.
It is not uncommon to leave the house and come back several hours later to find my cat in the same sleepy position in which I left him. Just watching his fur slowly rise and fall can make me feel less stressed.
The rain may pour outside, the electricity may flash on and off in the house, and the television may blare away the hours, but my cat sleeps through all of it in perfect harmony with himself and the world around him, all he knows of reality.
Lesson Four: Go With The Flow
When I brought home a second cat many years ago, my tomcat’s first response was to run into the bedroom and hide under the bed! As I hauled him out by his back legs and carried him through the house to show him the new member of the family had been isolated for the time being, he even had the temerity to hiss at me.
After I told him he was being silly, he didn’t take long to figure out he still had reign over his domain. Within a few hours, he was sniffing at the door where the new cat was staying. In just a few days, he was so determined to meet the newest member of our family that we decided to take our chances, forget the two week isolation rule for new pets, and opened the bedroom door.
My tomcat didn’t take long to adjust to his new reality. He happily shared his food bowl and water dish, took turns at the bathroom faucet, and even slept within inches of his new buddy.
Despite the seeming closeness of my two pets, when I had to put the second cat to sleep, my tomcat also took this in stride. I never noticed that he even looked for his former housemate. If anything, I might go so far as to say that he is happier being the only cat in the house.
No matter if his household changes or he has to spend a few days at the vet’s, this cat manages to go with the flow. Because he knows that he has very limited control over what happens to him, he takes his situation at face value. He adjusts moment to moment. What else, after all, can he do?
I often think that if I were more like my cat, I would be a better servant of my God. God encourages me to ask for anything I desire that would please Him, assuring me that He will answer my request. He tells me that He will take care of my every need for the basics of this life. He makes Himself known to me best when I am still enough to listen for Him. And my relationship with Him is strongest when I face the challenges of this life in full knowledge of His promise to always have my back.
Most importantly, my God loves me enough to let me go, to give me the free will to choose Him. In the end, my devotion to my God is all the stronger because I long to know Him, not because He has made me follow.
Anyone who knows me knows that I am a virtual slave to my cat, but I love him all the more because, in his own way, he draws me closer to the Creator who gives us the freedom to choose Him as our Saviour.
May the peace of the cat, and of our awesome God, be with you today and always.