By Laura Ann Phillips
Belligerent, dour, obnoxious, murderous – what is it about cats that their owners can’t resist?
Cat-owners – actually, they’d say, there’s really no such thing. Cat-People will smother you with pictures of the imperious beast.
Often asleep, seldom awake. Squashed, twisted into impossible spaces, sprawled between the window bars and the computer’s narrow base, a naughty tail swiping, now and then, across the monitor’s screen. Snoring their little kitty snores ensconced on the couch or your head, claws slowly entering the soft folds of the neck. Your neck.
Somebody’s nodding now.
A human owned by a cat feels no shame. Their anecdotes would read like a Hitchcock tome or a Criminal Minds marathon, featuring some stone-faced stalker who invents new ways of playing with – okay, torturing – each new victim until they simply move no more. At which time, Darth Kitty stalks sourly off, leaving the serfs to clear the court.
Still a sweet kitty!
Someone owned by a cat would tell you of the uncertainty of affection – from the cat, that is. But, it does come in very definite ways: the rhythmic, pulsing purr is a typical sign. A tiny nibble that progresses to a bite that leaves an impression, but not blood. It’s love, not an attack; some humans haven’t learnt the difference.
Kitties will press their bodies against yours to show you’re in their heart, too. And, may cuddle your socks or pillow just to bask in your scent.
Yes, cats can love. And do. But, you have to know what to look for.
In humans, too.
St Paul gives a most insightful overview of love in 1 Cor 13:4-8. Love is patient, kind, never jealous, doesn’t hold grudges – you’ll find yourself nodding and grunting as you move along the list.
And, consider the people you love as you peruse it – siblings, spouses, parents, those with whom you live in community. Think: what does their love look like?
Careful – you’ll remember their faults first!
That they’re always shouting, pouting, quick to get vexed. Never on time, always an excuse! Leaves cap off toothpaste, ice-trays empty and never replace the toilet paper. Grrr!
But, when you get past those, what is left?
The years your mother wore the same dress so you could go to youth group and the mall lime, but you didn’t know it was “sacrifice” until you grew up. The times Daddy let you stay a little longer at those teen “fetes”, parked calmly outside, even though he was tired.
The times your sister worked out your taxes, or your brother let you walk with him, when they would both move so much faster without you.
Love is all around us; it comes swathed in squabbles and steupses and taking deep breaths.
But, like the affections of a dour house-cat, love isn’t earned; it simply is.
This month we celebrate Mother’s Day and International Day of Families. How can you show your affection to the family you’ve got? Whether connected by biology or the bare bonds of love.