If you watch a cat for a while, you’ll see it has two distinct personalities. One is darling. It’s little eyes go soft and it meows sweet little meows. It rubs up against you with its little cat motor running, lets you pet it, even hold it. And when it sleeps—my gosh, is it precious.
With the other personality, it’s ears point back like little horns and its slits for pupils tighten up and it unfurls it razor sharp claws and teeth.
The family recently expanded with the adoption of a kitten and so cat watching has become a small pastime. We’re not used to cats because we’re dog people. We love our big dog’s perpetually goofy nature. It’s “I’ll love you unconditionally all day and night” attitude does not get old. Well maybe sometimes. Either way, there’s no guess work with dogs. They’re not two-sided. At least ours isn’t. He’s a lover to the highest degree. If he could talk, he would say, all day long, “I love you, I love you, I love you.”
Kitty not so much. One night kitty meowed at the bedroom door all night. In the mornings he bites toes. He’s peed in the plants. He’s a kitten and has lots of energy, sure, but he’s not the dog. He’s something else. He’s a little messenger, perhaps, of the Dark Lord.
I used to have this dream about an evil presence in the form of an animal. In the dream a feline animal has its claws hooked into my head. They’re dug into my scalp and below my chin and its body covers my face. Pull too hard and the animal might rip it off. It’s in deep and wants to hurt me. I want it off and try to tug at it, try to pry it off without hurting myself. It howls and hisses.
Is darling kitty in my house the dream (or nightmare) incarnate?
What kitty is is a new presence. A presence that will do what it wants, when it wants, and how it wants. I can spray it, snap my fingers at it, raise my voice but it will do nothing. It has its own agenda and that agenda is to present a challenge: to worship it on its terms only. The consequences for choosing not to can be dangerous.