Meet my cat “Smudge”. Smudge is a British Blue shorthair. She also believes that she is descended from the English royal family. If not the royal family, definitely the aristocracy. Smudge goes about everything she does in her own time and hands out affection on her own terms. If we do the wrong thing by her (in her eyes) then she will meow piteously and tear around the house in a hair-brained fashion until she believes we have been punished enough. She lets us know when she is hungry by pulling magnets off the refrigerator and leaving them on the floor.
As I was saying about sharing affection… this cat will not allow you to pick her up unless she believes that it is something that she wants. She is not a lap cat. She will sit beside you or jump into your place on the couch as soon as you get up to make a cup of tea but she will not allow you to show her any affection unless it is on her terms. Sometimes this occurs at ungodly hours of the night when my sleep is disturbed by her serenading me with her purr as she pushes her head into my outstretched hand. This is her signal for “I want you to show me affection. Go ahead. I don’t care that you are half asleep and the moon is still shining outside, it’s time to pet me.”
This morning as I settled myself in comfort on the sofa in the spare room and began my daily meditation time with Deepak Chopra, I was relaxed and looking forward to my ‘me time’. As I listened to the melodious cadence of Deepak’s voice speaking about gratitude I drank in every word. Gratitude is being grateful for the blessings wrapped inside that which may not look at all promising. His teaching over, the time of meditation began. I listened to his words, “Take a deep breath and relax”. I heard the door being pushed open. “Remove yourself from outside distractions”…. there was a thud and I felt a warm body land on the sofa beside me. “Clear your mind of all thoughts”…. what the heck is that cat doing??? She started her motor purring. I must tell you that most cats make a quiet sound, much like a four cylinder sedan on idle. Smudge is like a Harley Davidson firing up. I bought my mind back to the stillness and repeated the mantra. Smudge climbed into my lap and nuzzled my hands. Thinking a quick pat might suffice and she would go off and leave me to my solitude, I rubbed her ears and stroked her back. This only served to encourage her and she pushed her head into my hands again. Another quick pat and then I worked hard to ignore her. One thing Smudge does not do well is being ignored. She then jumped onto the back of the sofa up behind my head and proceeded to rub against my hair. I could almost hear her thinking “I’ll teach you to ignore me human. I’m offering you the opportunity to give me love and affection.” I bought my thoughts back to stillness for all of two seconds before she then began to bat the side of my face with her paws. Not content with this, she jumped back down and got tangled in the earphone cord of my iPad. I sighed and gave her another pat so she lay across my lap once more, her Harley on full throttle whilst she continued pushing her head into my hands. By this stage, the meditation had come to an end. I opened my eyes and looked at the mischief maker. Seeing that her work here was done, she jumped down and padded off to the corner of the room to groom herself.
Rather than being upset about it all, I reflected on just how precious this was. Smudge acted completely out of character this morning and showed me the affection that I often ask her for (and she just looks haughtily at me and continues on with whatever she was doing). She showed me how to look for the blessings in disguise. Yes, she had disturbed me but in the long run, is it really worth being upset about? I’m grateful for her bestowing upon me the affection that she has long withheld. So it wasn’t Deepak that taught me gratitude this morning, it was my four-legged feline friend.