“In ancient times cats were worshipped as gods; they have not forgotten this.”
— Terry Pratchett
I can personally attest to this.
And to the fact they have absolutely no qualms whatsoever about suggesting they be returned to this status. I have given up attempting to persuade mine they are mistaken.
Michael, a grey and white cat I received as a gift 14 years ago, will sleep on a pillow by my head. Period. Izzie, a large orange cat who is a mere four years old, will scratch cardboard boxes, and if deprived of this source, will substitute my jean-clad leg until I give him a box. Non-negotiable. Jakie, his litter mate, also orange, insists upon having a treat whenever I sit down to read, and not just any treat, either a catnip or salmon-flavored treat.
They must have canned catfood once a day or I don’t get any sleep, and not just any canned catfood, one of the fish varieties of Fancy Feast. When I eat yogurt, Jake and Izzie will share the last spoonful in the carton, but I had better have Yoplait Light and Creamy or Yoplait Whips.
The thing about living with cats, though, is this: their needs help structure life and they provide companionship. I sometimes joke it’s like living with perpetual toddlers, because they are demanding and affectionate, most often when I have the least amount of time to meet their needs.
At other times, though, I wonder if they’re angels in disguise. Saturday morning will roll around, and I will feel inclined to indulge myself by sleeping in or by grabbing a mystery to read in bed. They will attempt to persuade me that another option – like getting up to feed them – is more attractive.
Because little cat teeth nipping at fingers can be quite persuasive. I will crawl out of bed to open a couple cans of Fancy Feast. While I am in the kitchen, I will put on some coffee and before long, I will find myself engaged in something entirely unrelated to sleeping in. And feeling good about it.
Then I smile with gratitude, because my persistent little beasts have given me a gift I would have thrown away – time. There never seems to be enough time in a day. That’s a cliche, but it’s cliche because it’s true.
Morning comes, bringing work responsibilities. The work day ends and it’s time to face a to-do list which often includes household chores or community activities. Occasionally, there’s time to simply pause and savor the pleasure of doing nothing, or of engaging in an activity for the simple pleasure it brings. But, not often enough.
So, when my little beasties give me time to do exactly that, I have to wonder if they do it for themselves or if they do it for me. Are they cats, or are they angels in disguise?