idylls of the cat, or, a brief study of self-centeredness

I am compelled to write about my cats. Because it’s been that sort of day . . . well, month.

This apparent allergy to spring has dragged on for weeks and weeks — through some of the most amazing April weather we’ve had in all the 12 years I’ve lived here. [Insert sad face w/tear.]

One of my co-workers pointed out to me that I am a lot better on rainy days. And it is, unfortunately, true.

I even prayed for rain on my birthday.

What California-girl-living-in-Washington-who’s-never-quite-gotten-used-to-the-gray/coldness-of-spring-here actually prays for rain on her birthday?!?

However, good has come from this season of sneezing:

1. The discovery of Oil of Oregano. Which is, in a word, magic.

2. I am less likely to impulsively consider and buy a field. [A personal goal since college. See Proverbs 31:16]

That last point is important because the decrepit mini-farm short-sale down the road has been calling my name for months, much to Dave’s dismay. Which could be why, in addition to allergies, we’re getting the FULL dose of country living these days, complete with septic and well issues. God could very well be on Dave’s side on this one.

I can’t complain, because at least we have water. AND we aren’t likely to get typhoid since we don’t actually grow food in our yard [read: drain field]. Which is a good thing.

So anyway, as we look for a new dwelling place, I am now hyper-aware of the side of country life about which Eva Gabor so disparagingly sang-spake. Sadly. Because I idyllize country life. Yes. I am aware that is not a word. But idyllic is. And that is what the country is to me: Wordsworth, daisies, sunshine, chickens, apple trees, cows someone-other-than-me takes care of, and drafty houses. And cats.


Ah yes, back to the cats.

So, I have been at home quite a lot more than usual (because of sick), and I have noticed that cats are particularly self-centered. 

All they do, all day long, when they are not taking 7 hour naps, is cry to be fed. Or cry to be let out. Or in. Actually, only one of them cries. The other just stares at me until I do what she wants. She’s powerful, that one.

Also, both of them like my side of the bed. Which is fine, because really, it’s another sort of idyllism (again, made up word, but oddly appropriate) . . .

I sit in bed and drink a cup of coffee and read early in the morning and a cat cozies up to my toes. Or to the book in my hands. Depending on his/her mood.

But the cats can’t be on the bed together. Or anywhere really.

They actually hate each other. Well, she hates him. Her own offspring. 

Yesterday, we had a moment I was sure would end in me losing copious amounts of blood. She jumped onto the bed precisely where he had settled quite a lot closer to my face than my feet . . .

Ah, well. We survived. But it was yet another example of their innate self-centeredness. They have not a thought for each other and not a thought for me.

I’m convinced they bite and devour each other when we are out.

Well, at least she does. He’s a big fluffy oaf of a cat. I don’t think he hates her at all. Or maybe he’s smarter than he looks? That mama cat can be an angry little thing. So protective of her territory.

Is she afraid the oaf-cat is going to take her place?

And him? Does he think if he stops crying for a second I might forget he wants out?

[Insert Dave comment: Why do we even have these cats?]

Sometimes, I think that’s the thing. It’s a base instinct: If I don’t fight for my space, if I don’t yell loud enough and long enough, someone else is going to get what’s mine.

But then, cats are allowed to be self-centered. It’s their job.

Mine is to do their bidding . . .

. . . and be mom and wife and daughter and sister and friend and . . .

To love and be loved.

To give space.

To not demand my own way.

To let God do the making sure I get what’s mine. (To be honest, I’m not even sure I really know what “mine” is.)

Because self-centered can’t coexist with genuine love.

* * * * *

Sometimes, there are reasons for self-centeredness.

Painful reasons.

The picture of love can be as idyllic as a country house or reading a book in bed with a cat.

But that is for another post.

Also, cats return your love by cuteness. And that is why we tolerate their selfishness.