Monday, January 21, 2008

Marj and the "Redeemed" Anastasia

Today we welcome Marj, and Maddie's...well, they aren't exactly friend's so we'll say...Maddie's "acquaintance."


This is Anastasia. We acquired her a year ago October. Anastasia was a stray, found by my boss's friend Dan as she was nursing four kittens under a hollow in a rock wall. Although she was pathetically thin (starved, really), she was clean and friendly with an air of elegance about her. That's how she came to be called Anastasia - she was a sort of an aristocrat living in reduced circumstances.

After the kittens were weaned and placed, we brought her home, and took her for shots and to be spayed. The vet said she was only about a year and a half old, and apparently had had a family at some point, since she was so comfortable with people. They probably tossed her out when they found she was pregnant.

She's a funny little thing. Although she's friendly, she isn't very affectionate - well, not cuddly, anyway. She follows me everywhere, insists on being as physically close as she can be, as long as I don't try to hold her. Sometimes, when she's feeling particularly mellow, she may allow herself to be held for 4 or even up to 6 seconds as a time - but no more. She likes to sit on my lap, but there is to be no cuddling. Absolutely - no cuddling.

There are things that she didn't know how to do when we got her - like opening doors. Most cats will work away at the side of a door with their paws until it opens enough to get through. Not this one. At first, she would wait and mew until somebody opened it. Then she started to watch us - and took to standing on her hind legs and trying to turn the knob with her front paws. I'm afraid it wasn't very successful. She finally got the hang of doing it in the usual cat way, but it took months.

There's another thing she wasn't up to speed on right away. Early last spring I discovered why she was so scrawny when we got her - she can't hunt. I learned this after she came to get me one morning to show me something. We were both perplexed by the presence of a large, bright green, live frog in the living room. Anastasia would oh, so tentatively, give it a gentle poke with her paw, and it would hop up and away, and she would hop back, and then forward, and so it went. She was interested enough to go after it (slowly) but didn't have the least idea what to do next. So I scooped it up and plopped it outside.

Many months later I woke up in the middle at night to use the bathroom, and there, laid neatly next to the toilet, was a little dead mouse. "By gum", I thought, "she's finally figured it out." Then I went back to bed, being unwilling dispose of the unfortunate beast at that hour. Anastasia beat me to it, anyway. My husband found the back half of that mouse at the bottom of the stairs when he got up.

Later it occured to me that really, it was very nice of her to give me her mouse. It must have represented quite an accomplishment to her (I'm not just anthropomorphising - she was positively preening all next day), and it was quite touching to think that instead of immediately consuming the fruit of her labor, she was willing to give it to me. And then I felt ashamed, because my odd little cat knows more than I do about how to show love and appreciation to her master.

It isn't easy to give your first-fruits to God. It's much easier to rationalize - "I need this", "I worked hard for this", "I deserve this". But what better way to demonstrate the depth of your attachment than to give away, with no guarantee of getting it back, the things that mean the most.

It's even better than cuddling.


Kay said...

what a pretty kitty. And she seems sweet.

At our house growing up, we were often presented with gifts. On occasion, they weren't quite dead. One especially funny time, (to me) was when a cat presented a live mouse to my sister -- on her pillow -- while she was using it! Ha ha. She sat up just in time, though.

Pam Halter said...

It IS hard to accept that dead mice, birds and grasshoppers can be love gifts, but we cat owners have learned this and accept it for what it is.

It does give one pause to consider the type of gift we offer to our heavenly Father. But He knows our hearts and lovingly accepts what we have to give.