15 April, 2007

Cat Seeks Attention, Gets Affinity

I looked at my cat this morning – that's him on the left – and felt a sudden affinity with him. Now, I've got to say, this doesn't happen very often: especially not of late. He looks so sweet that you probably can't imagine how anyone could feel anything but kindness towards him. But looks can deceive. Under all that soft fur and behind those ingratiating ways, all cats are self-obsessed little killing machines. It's true that most of them tend to save that side of their nature for the quiet moments when they are alone with something much smaller than themselves. To us, they show another face: an innocent, round-eyed, beseeching face, that pretty much gets them whatever they want.

So there I was, lying in bed, slowly coming round to full consciousness and reading a novel. Outside, the butcher birds were tooting and the ravens were bellowing. The sun was already high and bright (we're not too far from the Tropic of Capricorn and the sun goes up and down much more and much more quickly here than it does in places closer to the poles.) Yuli (we named him after a character in a science fiction novel) trotted into the bedroom and hopped up onto my side of the bed. Then he made his way up towards my chest – a spot he finds convenient for being stroked and petted.

So I gave him a few cursory passes of the hand. This usually suffices and he either moves on to Wifie – who is much more enthusiastic about pleasuring the little chap – or settles down for one of the many naps he needs to squeeze into the day. Today, however, he walked up onto my chest, effectively stopping me reading and ensuring that he had my fullest attention.

With his head just inches from mine, the moment of affinity suddenly struck.

Here was a fellow traveller, another life-form, stuck here on planet Earth for his allotted span, doing whatever it took to get him through the days, surviving, the way the rest of us survive, the only way he knew how, getting pleasure where he could find it, staying out of harm's way when he could, and seeking out the comfort that creatures like us find in the company of others.

1 comment:

Bex said...

I had a cat-induced realisation today as well.

I was watching Aleister pull grass-seeds from his tail, very laboriously, and with a great look of distaste every time he got a lump of fur in his mouth. It looked utterly unpleasant. So I wondered what motivated him to do it at all, and I realised that in all my years of living with cats, I haven't once seen a day when a cat couldn't be bothered to clean itself (unless, of course, it's very old).

It made me quite annoyed to have "free will". Every day, at some point, I consider the dirty dishes, or the laundry, or the maths assignment, and I think "I'd really rather not do that!"...And yet, I always reach exactly the same conclusion: that it's better, on the whole, to do whatever it is than not do it.

The period of reluctance seems to be a complete waste of energy. Why can't I be hard-wired, like a cat, to do the grotty-but-necessary jobs?

~ Daughter (currently not-writing-an-essay)

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