Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Princess or Stray? (Part 1) -- Hope Chronicles 19

I remember getting up very early one morning in 1981. After all, England is several hours ahead. My sisters and I didn’t want to miss a bit of the royal wedding of Prince Charles to Princess Diana.

Princesses fascinate little girls. We learn about them very early on from stories like Cinderella and Snow White. And in our hearts, I think there is often a yearning to be a princess – to be someone very special.

Even though I’ve always considered myself more of a dog person, I adore both of my cats. They each came from the local humane society. Katy is three and I’ve had her for a little over two years. I got Mali in November. The best guess is that she is about nine months old.

As I’ve interacted with them, I’ve learned that they have very divergent positions on life. Katy is the princess. Mali is the stray. This distinction is most obvious when it comes to food. Katy is definitely interested in food. She routinely wakes me up each morning (even on weekends) when it is time to be fed. (How does a cat wake someone? Katy’s first tactic is to paw at the blankets by my neck. When that doesn’t work, she resorts to nipping at my fingers!)

While Katy is merely interested in food, Mali is utterly obsessed with it. She literally eats from both bowls. Luckily for Katy, she can only guard one at a time.

I got Mali the day before Thanksgiving. I went to make a pie to take with me. I had no clue that she would be interested in apples, but she was! A wide range of food related episodes have “taught” me that Mali needs to be put in another room when I am preparing food or eating a meal. (She is not above snatching something off a plate!)

Tomorrow we are having a food day at work. I am bringing yummy Southwestern Chicken and Potato soup. (I am pleased with myself. I’m not very domestic, but Jan 1, I bought a slow cooker and have been making lots of things. I often use to run out to lunch, but now I bring something really good. The slow cooker has paid for itself and I’ve lost 14lbs!) I started peeling the sweet potatoes, but I didn’t put Mali away. Even though I have supposedly learned from previous episodes, I underestimated what her interest in a potato would be. I knew I would have to put her out of the way when I was cutting the chicken, but I didn't want to leave her crying for too long. Mali jumped up and grabbed a long piece of potato peeling. I let her have it, as I didn’t think it would be something that would hurt her. Initially, she chewed on it on the tile floor. When she decided to take it onto the carpet, I decided I needed to retrieve it because I didn’t want to risk a stain. My little darling growled, spit, hissed, and swiped at me over a potato peel!

I managed to retrieve it (without the shedding of blood) and put Mali in the bathroom, but I am befuddled. For three months she has consistently gotten two meals a day plus various treats like tiny pieces of cheese. Yet, she hasn’t relaxed her food vigil one smidgen. How long will it take her to learn that I will always take care of her?

Katy also has a history as a stray before she was rescued by the humane society. But I think that the food distinction points to a larger distinction of the heart. Mali is still a stray at heart. Katy has moved from stray to princess. In Mali’s mind she still lives in a the “Land of Never Enough.” Katy lives in the “Land of Plenty.”

Tune in for more tomorrow . . . . But while you wait, reflect on which land you live in.

1 comment:

Renee Swope said...

I've been praying for God to show you whether He is calling you to NIU. I love your heart for being available but also praying He'll protect you from being pulled so deeply into the grief b/c I know your heart is so tender. You are one special woman!!