A window into faith

by Felix Alexander

I have a pet cat. A lot of people think that’s not really true: the cat has a pet Felix. But I entirely disagree. The cat knows its place in the hierarchy: beneath everyone else stands the cat. It does seem to be demanding, but really it simply asks for permission for almost everything.

For instance, if I’ve opened the back door for my benefit, and the cat wants to go inside or outside, it’ll wait until I’ve paid attention to it, and given it permission to walk through. Or before it eats, even if there’s food in the bowl, it wants to be given very explicit permission to eat the food: Often it’ll come upstairs to where I am, wait for me to pay attention to it, then follow me downstairs—it won’t follow if I haven’t paid it attention—then it wants me to pour food into its bowl so it knows it can eat it.

Now she ask’ll for permission differently according to the context. If I’m alone, she will meow at me: but if I’m talking to someone, she’ll only brush up against my legs, so that she prays for her daily needs without interrupting my will.

The cat knows that it’s dependent on our family for its food and shelter and health and wellbeing. It also knows that we, the human beings, are absolutely her superior and that she hasn’t earned her place in this Kingdom of Felix, and never can and never will. But she’s absolutely loyal to us, and will submit herself to unpleasantness when we require her to.

Sometimes the cat puts a foot wrong, and does something we don’t want her to do, and I will be angry with her. She might jump up on my bed when I never let her, or she might refuse to get off a couch I want to sit on. Or maybe she’ll just ask for permission to go somewhere I won’t let her go. She accepts the limitations on her will and the consequences of her actions, because she knows she’s better off subordinating her will to mine, than trying to go it alone. She accepts that it’s better to trust me, than to get whatever she wants whenever she wants it.

The cat, it seems to me, is an excellent model of the faith all Christians should be showing towards God.