get a cat. We have three. A Mama Peaches, a Sister Princess who thinks she is God’s gift to cats and Buster the Mighty Buzztail. I’ve always heard that cats are the independent sort. They are–they sure don’t like hugs or petting the way dogs do. But they do like to be around their humans from time to time. Perhaps it gives them a break from the hunting life or the sleeping life they love. And all those kitty dreams they have.
Curled up on my lap, Sister snores. (But she has to choose to crawl up on my lap.) And she loves boxes to crawl into, the bigger the better. When we give the cats a treat–a can of cat food instead of the regular dried they normally eat–she is the one who will lick the spoon and the can. There are times she’ll look at me and her eyes will say, “Who the hell do you think you are?” Other times her eyes will say, “I’m so glad you’re my human.”
Buster the Mighty Buzztail likes to be left to himself. He’s a great one for running outside at night. And he loves water. In the middle of a storm, he’ll be out in the rain, going, “Wow. This is so cool.” Then he’ll run into the house and expect me to dry him off. He loves that. When he sleeps in the house at night, he’ll wake me up at three in the a.m., wanting out. I’ll follow him through the kitchen. He’ll stop at the back door and take a gander at his bowl of food, then he’ll let me know that he needs a snack before he goes out. I have to stand there, at three in the morning and half asleep, and I have to watch him eat. He will settle for no less.
Mama Peaches was a feral cat. She was half starved when she showed up at our back door with her two kittens. Since I am in no way a cat person, I had to be persuaded to take the three of them in. Since then, Peaches has enjoyed the good life. She is very sensitive, very skittish. She’ll run off for a day, then show back up at the house. She eats but never a lot. But from time to time she’ll crawl up on my lap or my bed and lie there, feeling for all the world that she is at peace and is loved. As she is. She’s earned her reward, a safe home and the right to go and come as she feels.
So there you have it. Three cats who live at our house. But what does that have to do with God?
I have come to realize that in a relationship between human and cat, God is the human, we are the cats. He lets us roam free and independent. He watches out for us but doesn’t interfere unless we are in real danger. We run wild and free and go chasing things the way cats do. But when we need a lap to lie on, He’s there.
Here’s one of my favorite poems about cats. It was written by Christopher Smart:
For I Will Consider My Cat Jeoffry (excerpt, Jubilate Agno)
For I will consider my Cat Jeoffry.
For he is the servant of the Living God duly and daily serving him.
For at the first glance of the glory of God in the East he worships in his way.
For this is done by wreathing his body seven times round with elegant quickness.
For then he leaps up to catch the musk, which is the blessing of God upon his prayer.
For he rolls upon prank to work it in.
For having done duty and received blessing he begins to consider himself.
For this he performs in ten degrees.
For first he looks upon his forepaws to see if they are clean.
For secondly he kicks up behind to clear away there.
For thirdly he works it upon stretch with the forepaws extended.
For fourthly he sharpens his paws by wood.
For fifthly he washes himself.
For sixthly he rolls upon wash.
For seventhly he fleas himself, that he may not be interrupted upon the beat.
For eighthly he rubs himself against a post.
For ninthly he looks up for his instructions.
For tenthly he goes in quest of food.
For having consider’d God and himself he will consider his neighbour.
For if he meets another cat he will kiss her in kindness.
For when he takes his prey he plays with it to give it a chance.
For one mouse in seven escapes by his dallying.
For when his day’s work is done his business more properly begins.
For he keeps the Lord’s watch in the night against the adversary.
For he counteracts the powers of darkness by his electrical skin and glaring eyes.
For he counteracts the Devil, who is death, by brisking about the life.
For in his morning orisons he loves the sun and the sun loves him.
For he is of the tribe of Tiger.
For the Cherub Cat is a term of the Angel Tiger.
For he has the subtlety and hissing of a serpent, which in goodness he suppresses.
For he will not do destruction, if he is well-fed, neither will he spit without provocation.
For he purrs in thankfulness, when God tells him he’s a good Cat.
For he is an instrument for the children to learn benevolence upon.
For every house is incomplete without him and a blessing is lacking in the spirit.
For the Lord commanded Moses concerning the cats at the departure of the Children of Israel from Egypt.
For every family had one cat at least in the bag.
For the English Cats are the best in Europe.
For he is the cleanest in the use of his forepaws of any quadruped.
For the dexterity of his defence is an instance of the love of God to him exceedingly.
For he is the quickest to his mark of any creature.
For he is tenacious of his point.
For he is a mixture of gravity and waggery.
For he knows that God is his Saviour.