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Monday, November 06, 2006

Unlikely Inspiration - Feline Fancies II

This is a continuation of the Unlikely Inspiration Series.

As a child my parents imparted a good piece of advice: Take what you want, but eat what you take. The idea was that you could eat what you wanted, but make sure you are actually going to eat your food and not put it on your plate only to waste it because your eyes were bigger than your stomach. I wish I could impart this wisdom to our cats. They have become spoiled in that they will cry for food, even if there is food already in their dish. I can't recall how many times one of the cats has sat in the hallway and cried, then motioned that they want to be fed by walking to their dish and sitting expectantly. I have no qualms with feeding them. I'm not some sadist who enjoys tormenting them or anything. Imagine my frustration however when I go to feed them and find a bowl still half full of food! There must be a reason for this behavior. I have experimentally ruled out that the food has grown stale and that is why it has been left. The only explanation I have is one of self-preservation. The cat knows that when the bowl is empty that it will be out of food. Now, that may seem trivial, but for an animal of limited cognizant ability, I consider this an amazing feat. The cat is actually planning ahead so as not to be without food at a later time, perhaps after I have left for the day. They will even go so far as eating food from the other cat's bowl so as to maintain the level in their own dish. Self preservation is a trait shared by almost all animals, from man, all the way down to the lowest orders. It is a part of our makeup, so I acknowledge it, but it also disappoints me. If the cat knows enough to know that eating its own food will cause it to be without food at a later time, then it should also be aware enough to know that I will not let it go hungry, that I always feed them. Since the cats petition me to be fed, I know they understand that I am the one who feeds them, so they have not forgotten that fact. However, they are so focused on the immediacy of their bowl and its contents that they ignore the aforementioned fact. Their faith in me is trumped by their desire for self-preservation, as they see it. Food is here and now, while what I will do later is up for speculation.

Unfortunately for them, I will not play the puppet to this desire. I force them to trust that I will feed them more. If they have even a morsel of food left I will not add to it. This leaves them with a choice to make. Trust that I will feed them more when the dish is empty, or go hungry so as to ensure food is around later. Do you see the irony in this, the insanity? They do not want to go hungry, and to avoid going hungry, they go hungry! My rule is, "Finish what you have and I will give you more." I have found the best way to reassure them is to sit down and watch them finish their food off. It lets them know that I am aware of their problem, and am there to resolve it, but that it will not be resolved until they do their part.

O, if only I had the faith in God that I require of my own pets! How many times has God placed something before me and told me to complete it, yet I look to the horizon for something else, all the while ignoring the nourishment right in front of me? How many times has God told me to, "finish what I have given you and I'll give you more?" Is this not the point of the parable of the talents? If I ignore what I have been given for the sake of self preservation, will I not anger he who gave it so that I might prosper? The LORD is my portion, therefore I have hope in Him.1 I ask God to give me more, to satisfy some desire, all the while ignoring that I have been given something for right now. How many times has God had to sit down beside me to reassure me that he is near and that he will provide for my needs? "Little man, why do you not trust me?"

"Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?"

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