Monday, October 23, 2006

I wonder

Our oldest cat, Laurie, has entered her winter depressive phase. She is the feral who chose to be a housecat when the universe betrayed her by turning cold and nasty . Every year, when the climate turns cold 24/7 instead of just the momentary burst of weather, she gets depressed and needy. She only goes out to potty, then dashes back in as if afraid she’ll be caught out there. She starts becoming very clingy, needing reassurance that we really love her, that we didn’t allow the weather to become nasty as a punishment.

It can get very trying being loved so intensely. She starts sleeping in the bed with us- not at the foot, but worming her way up to the pillows and trying to get full-body contact across my head, or climbing onto my chest. As she’s a two foot long kitty, 18 lbs., this means that I lose a lot of sleep during this period. I tell her, “Can’t you see what this is doing to me? I’m a zombie all day from lack of sleep. Yes, yes, I love you, but this is very annoying!”

Then suddenly I wonder if God ever feels that way.


powderblue said...

I’ve lived with cats for many years and feel qualified to offer this advice about defending your territorial rights with a cat in bed: Give up.

As you probably are aware by now, cats are master manipulators, virtuosos at playing on the heartstrings of us humans. They’re not even subtle about it and still they win.

About the best my partner and I have been able to do is seek common ground with our feline bedmate. All three of us have agreed to acknowledge that our nighttime space is the “master bedroom” and leave it at that.

On a somewhat related note, you mentioned last July on your blog that you were thinking of writing a book related to your observation that the Divine pours out joys and pleasure in inexhaustible abundance. If you’re not already aware of it, you may be interested in Jonathan Balcombe’s book “Pleasurable Kingdom.”

He is an animal behavior research consultant for Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. As the review at Amazon describes, “Balcombe balances a general philosophical look at the prevalence of pleasure among animals (he rejects the view that all behavior must be explained in terms of adaptation for survival) with detailed anecdotal evidence of how specific animals experience pleasure in play, food, sex, touching and love.”

(I attended an engaging lecture and book-signing by him, but have not read his book yet.)

Joel Monka said...

You're right about the cats; they always win in the end. It's ok, her extremely needy period only lasts a few weeks, then she seems to resign herself to the fact of winter. Watching her joy at the return of spring almost makes it worth it.

I was not aware of Blacombe's book- thanks for the tip!

Jamie Goodwin said...

That last sentence;

"Then suddenly I wonder if God ever feels that way"

It was so unexpected, I still have goosebumps. What an amazing picture in two little paragraphs and a sentence.

Thank You

Joel Monka said...

Thank you, Jamie- that thought struck me just as unexpectedly as the written form struck you; I'm gratified that I was able to convey the experience.