Reflections: Cats Are People Too

Well, at least they think they are, or is it the other way around?

Queen Carly guards her domain

Queen Carly guards her domain

31 When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:

32 And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:

33 And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.

~ Mt 25:31-33

I once was listening to a sermon that was being given on the last parable of Matthew 25, and the remark was made that Jesus was using animals which the people of His day would have been familiar with. The possibility that if the parable were given today Jesus would have used dogs and cats was raised, but not seriously explored. Yet, I think observing some animals really can give us an insight upon how Our Heavenly Father sometimes sees us humans.

The rest of the sermon concentrated on sheep and goats and how they are different. I’m not going to explore the differences between cats and dogs today, but rather I’m going to explore how cats are really not that different from people. I used to believe they were very different, but it appears that there are a lot of misconceptions about cats in general, and I’m going to point them out here.

Carly turned 14 recently. She is a tortie (tortoiseshell cat), which is somewhat like a calico but with less defined and smaller patches (and very little if any white), and probably a Maine Coon, although she doesn’t appear to be a pure bred.

We got her when she was about 6 months old for my daughter, and as often happens the kid goes off to college and the parent inherits the cat. Actually, I was usually the only one to pay any real attention to her, so I suppose she really became my cat by default very early on. She was the only cat, and she liked it that way. She even once hissed at some kid that walked by our window carrying a cat in her arms.

So, I thought I knew a thing or two about cats. However, my only experience with dealing with cats in groups was as a kid on a farm dealing with barn cats. So, when a feral cat decided to have kittens in our garage, I was totally unprepared. I also learned that a lot of what I had heard about cats in general were myths.

Some of what I’ve observed is amusing, some is aggravating, but the biggest thing I noticed is how much like people they act. The most amusing of all is that most people I know that say they don’t like cats are usually the ones whose behavior resemble cats the most.

Myth #1: Cats Are Independent

Smoky jealously spies upon me feeding the kittens.

Smoky jealously spies upon me feeding the kittens.

This one is so far out in left field that it is actually amusing to hear it repeated so often. It turns out that cats are actually very dependent, but many of the things that they are dependent upon are things that irritate most people.

For example, cats love to pretend to be aloof. If you say their name or even obviously talk at them, they will look the other way, lick themselves or otherwise ignore you. In extreme cases, they may even walk away. It seems to me that this is where the myth comes from.

However, this is nothing more than a power game, and you are required to be part of the game. IOW, rather than proving independence, it proves just the opposite. The game cannot be played without you. Like a teenager, the cat wants to rebel, show you who is boss, but in doing all of this, you are a required participant, thus the animal actually depends upon your presence to play the game.

This is actually part of an overall feline behavior in which a pecking order is established. You have heard of alpha dogs? Well, cats show they are socially dominant in various ways as well. The ignore game is just one way. Among themselves, they may resort to hissing, or even striking another with its paws to show dominance.

Oh, and alpha cats own everything. “That’s my chair”, “that’s my bed”, “That’s my couch”, and my favorite is “That’s my human”.

Yes, cats will pick out their human, and they get extremely jealous whenever another cat approaches. One time, I had pet another cat, and I went upstairs where Carly, Queen of the Loft, was waiting for me on top of the stairs. She meowed over and over as I climbed the stairs, but when I reached out my hand with another cat’s smell, she immediately started hissing at me!

I see this activity, and I have to think to myself how silly human beings look to God whenever they are filled with envy and jealousy.
The nail in the coffin of this myth of cats being independent, however, was the fact that there would be no, zero, nada, cats in the kitchen until I would go downstairs and go get a drink of tea, a snack or lunch. Then, all of the cats would come in, wanting attention, and, worse, fight over the food bowl. Like people, they are social enough to get together to eat, and they will even wait until someone goes to eat, but they still have to maintain their pecking order in doing so. In fact, that seems to be the time to establish and maintain it. Worse, they have to get in my way to do their thing, which really shouldn’t require me to even be around!

If they were truly independent, they could go eat whenever the mood struck them, which likely would be at different times, thus no need for all of the games and drama.

Of course, people are logical and efficient at everything they do without the need of establishing a social order, right?

You know all of the posturing that nations and world leaders make, even down to the bureaucrats with the power of the pen, must make God very sad. However, when He sees the one-upmanship that occurs even in the Churches of God, I suspect there may be a little anger involved as well.

Myth #2: Cats Are Smart

I’ve discounted this one a long time ago, actually. Carly would go into fits of strangeness where she would suddenly grab a door frame and start batting things that were not there. She would meow to be petted, but then lay down an arm-and-a-half length’s away.

Oh, and every cat I’ve ever seen knows that the food coming out of the bag is better than the stuff in the bowl. Never mind that the bag has been sitting there open for two weeks, it comes from the bag and is therefore “fresh”. Carly is still the worst, however, at circling around the food dish licking her lips whenever the bag comes out to fill the dispenser.

The strangest type of dumb behavior, though, is what some of the litter did and one in particular still does. I’m afraid there isn’t much hope for her, BTW. She will never be adopted, and that’s the bright side of the equation. She, and actually I’m guessing even then because the one time I did get ahold of her I was more interested in not being bitten than checking her anatomy, is so scared that she will literally go hungry if I’m standing by the food dish. I am the one providing the food. I am the one trying to do good things so she can be adopted out to a good and stable family, yet in her mind I am the enemy.

7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.

~ Ro 8:7

There are so many passages about how God provided for Israel and Judah, but they would turn to other “lovers”. In one passage, God even said:

8 For she did not know that I gave her corn, and wine, and oil, and multiplied her silver and gold, which they prepared for Baal.

~ Hos 2:8

I guess we humans aren’t too bright either. We don’t know our Provider or understand that if we behaved a certain way, more blessings would come our way.

Myth #3: Cats Like to Be Held

Most cats, in fact I’ve only witnessed one personally ever that was an exception, do not like to be held. When people see a cute kitten, often the first impulse is to want to hold it. Good luck with that! Some will tolerate it, but many won’t even do that much. They eventually will squirm and want down, and often they want down now.

It is interesting that people will say cats are independent, mostly
because of their aloofness, but then will decide they want to be held. That’s a real contradiction, and it is brought on because they are projecting onto the cat because they want to hold them, not the other way around.

But, you know, people will shrink back from God in the same way. Maybe God isn’t so much trying to “hold” anyone, but still people back away. At Mount Sinai, Israel pulled back and wanted Moses to be the mediator. In fact, they were terrified of God at that point! However, Christians should want to be as close to God as possible.

8 Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.

~ Jas 4:8

God created humanity because He wanted to! I think we sometimes forget
that fact. He wanted others similar to Himself to be around. He wants a family. He wants to be close to you, but He will not force it.

Cats Are Majestic

"Take my picture! I'm a movie star!"

OK, this is the last one, mostly because I’m running out of time here, but it needs to be said. A lot of people claim cats are “majestic”. Well, if by “majestic”, you mean pompous, arrogant and authoritative, I guess they have a point.

I’ve remarked at times how some people think they are the center of the cosmos, but cats really excel at this. One cat, Smoky, is so jealous and fearful that someone else will get his food that I jokingly say that the song in the Korean Air commercial “It’s All About You” was written for him.

HWA used to talk a lot about the two trees representing the two ways of life: give and get. He also said half of the people attending WCG didn’t get it, and he was an optimist, it turns out.

What else is the height of arrogance if not the decision to choose for one’s self the definition of right and wrong, good and evil?

Are People Really Cats?

So, are cats people too, or are people really hairless cats?

I hope you enjoyed this whimsical look at some actually serious topics, which may or may not help you to see ourselves through the eyes of Someone quite larger than us.

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