When I saw the cat post from 40 acts on the 1st April, despite knowing it was a “fool” my brain started thinking about cats and humour and imagination. The cat post really did make me smile – because loving cats as I do, but being most like a dog myself, I find it rather amusing to make fun of cats and their ilk. I’m also very familiar with the cat – we’ve almost always had cats in our house, and my sister was a successful breeder for a time – so I understand cats and cat people.
There are no other animals that have been so anthropomorphised as the domestic cat and dog. We’ve invited the wolf into our living room and the tiger lies on our rug – and because we’ve made them part of our family (although they think we’re part of their pack) they are a really great mirror for us to see ourselves, our shortcomings and successes – and a little bit of our relationship with God. Yep, it might seem a little bit crazy to draw some learning points from a cat – but you know, this life is crazy sometimes, this life has something to show us from every aspect of itself, and God is in every aspect of this crazy life and smiles when we finally recognise him.
All cats are evil.
Yep, that’s what some very dear friends of mine constantly tell me. Don’t trust ‘em, they’re plotting our demise. You can’t tell what they’re thinking and they have claws, and they’re growing thumbs – and when that happens we’re all doomed I tell you! ^_^
But of course cats aren’t really evil. There are a variety of reason why we assign this human/demonic motivation to mere animals – (I just googled “Why do people say cats are evil – some very hilarious answers! Go have a look) but perhaps it’s more about our own fears and possibly shortcomings. Owning a cat – or in fact any pet – is an exercise in developing your non-verbal communication. What disturbs those who haven’t fully developed this skill is that sphinx-like look that those kitties can give you that make it seem like they know something you don’t. And not knowing something, not understanding something creates fear. And of course that which we fear, we start to treat as our enemy, as evil.
So when Jesus calls us to Love our enemy the cat shows us how to start. For to truly love our enemy, we must move away from our fear of the unknown, from our fear of their motivations and judgements of us – we must move towards understanding them – and that takes simply spending time with them, learning to hear what isn’t said, learning to know their hearts from a look, or touch, learning to know that they’re loved by God just as much as we are.
Cat Dignity – or aloofness
They’re two sides of the same coin – that dignity, that seeming untouchable quality, that “I’m ignoring you” attitude. The cold shoulder of the “superior being” is one that many cat owners are familiar with. Perhaps another reason why some would say cats are evil. For what is the true opposite to love? What is the truly evil and self centred attitude? It is that of indifference, not hate. Those who hate, still care, their passion is just aroused in an opposing way. Those who ignore you, who are indifferent and distant, who don’t even waste their breath on an “eff off, you’re bugging me” (because you’re not even worth that), yes, they’re the ones who are truly the enemies of the God who is love. But for all their indifference and aloofness, us dog-like folks still love ‘em.
As for the dignity side – the funniest moments (well if you have a sense of humour like mine) is when humiliating things happen to dignified folk – like cats and then they pretend that nothing happened and try to maintain that dignity. Makes me smile every time.
And here’s something you might have not known about cats – they have amazing imaginations. I mean you didn’t really think that they genuinely thought that piece of paper (or twig, or Vacuum or apple )was real prey, did you? No matter how old a cat is, they will all have “play” moments – and true play takes imagination, takes inner storytelling. They might pretend to be all dignified and above that kitten stuff, but wiggle your toes in bed and the most regal of cats will wiggle its behind and jump on those toes. When Jesus calls us to be childlike, its imagination and the embrace of play that is one of the key elements of this (in contrast to being childish – stroppy, petty, habitual ignoring of others, ye that’s a cat on a bad day too). Follow that cat’s example and just start to stretch those imagination muscles – imagine what one object could actually be. It will seem foolish at first, but it’s surprisingly liberating, helps you express that part of the God image inside that is a creator and will be a step to storytelling and true community. Here’s a great example of a cat using his imagination – and it’s truly funny. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8-1F-CokXNU
Yep, affection and comfort is something that cats readily share. Faithfulness isn’t a strongpoint but they do give really great cuddles. Surprisingly they also make very good mums – they protect their young from wandering off by chewing their whiskers off – and are excellent adopters of motherless young (I’ve seen a pair of squirrels suckling from a adopted cat mother – classic!). They might have their moments of turning their back on you, but somehow just know when you need that snuggle – but don’t be too needy, or squish them too much, they are very adept at defending themselves!
God’s a cat?
Yes, here it is, God is a cat. Well He is the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, that’s just a big cat. He’s affectionate and the Great comforter, He’s a great problem solver (cats open doors, answer ‘phones, unwrap your defrosted chicken – all without opposable thumbs!), and he’s the most dignified but least arrogant person you’ll ever have the pleasure of meeting. And if you doubt His imagination – just check the Duck-Billed Platypus, the Crab Nebula and the Rose – all came from the same mind. So cats can’t be all that bad if they’re like God, right? J
God’s a dog?
He can’t be both a cat and a dog, can He? Of course He can, God confounds all our expectations and is the perfect example of being able to balance contrasting traits without destroying yourself. Because yes, read Psalm 23, the great shepherd sends his sheepdogs, Goodness and Mercy to track you all the days of your life. Like a dog he is utterly tenacious, completely loyal and never ever lets go. He will defend His pack, provides for the pack, disciplines the pack. ( see how I’m using my imagination here? 😉 )
I don’t have a great conclusion today so I’ll say, hope you’ve enjoyed my most bonkers post yet, and that even in the slight tongue in cheek-ness of it all, you’ve heard God’s voice speaking to your heart.
Meow for now!