April 2, 2010

New Ways to Ponder

Today, is a much better day for me. I still had a sleepless night, but it was less hectic and disrupted than the previous one. My cat, Gus, is on patrol again. I can not really explain it any other way, than to "suggest" that he is guarding me. Gus behaves like a dog, that is all I can say. I have trained him like one would train a dog. He knows my hand signal for "stop" as well as my gesture that tells him to go somewhere (like to move along). He also knows the word, "no."

I have been told that cats are ridiculously hard to train. Trainers generally use food reward to get cats to do tricks. I just started training Gus like I would a dog. I didn't really do anything special, I just did what I needed to do to get him to stop certain behaviors.

Gus is not your typical cat. He is part Siamese, and I would say that he is highly intelligent. He just acts differently than most cats. I really believe that he doesn't know he IS a cat. I think that he considers himself to be a person. That is my fault, really, and Cesar Milan would say "shame on you." Animals are animals and not people. Yes, I know. I didn't set out to make my cat a dog or a person. I simply wanted him to listen to me and stop offending behaviors.

So back to the guarding thing...

Have you ever seen a guard dog or a herding shepherd at work? Gus is this way. He herds me often, nipping at my heels or grabbing my robe or pants leg, in an attempt to get me to stop. He corrals me and tries to get me to sit still. It is funny to see, but deep down I know there is a reason why a silly cat would behave this way. It is not NORMAL.

Gus spends the night roaming from dresser (which sits under the window) to my bed. He walks a circle, over and over and over again. He looks out the window, then jumps to the foot of the bed, travels up and over my head and back off to the dresser. This circling happens for hours at a time, usually between about 3-6 am. My elderly cat, Zachary, sleeps on my pillow. My other cat, Winston, will either be at the foot of the bed or out in the living room on the chair. The other two do not seem to be worried or bothered by whatever Gus feels is a threat. I don't really get it, but it is frustrating to me. All his walking over me keeps me awake.

In the morning, when I sit in my comfy chair with my coffee, Gus comes and sits at my feet. I think he finally feels like I am safe and he can rest. Throughout the day, he sleeps (like most cats). He will come and hang out in the office with Winston for a time each afternoon, but other than that, he is on the bed asleep next to Zachary.

I have prayed over this situation, asking the Lord why Gus does this. Gus frustrates me. He has not been an easy cat to raise nor an easy cat to keep. I know friends of this blog will often "suggest" I get rid of the cat or cats because they cause me such trouble. I just cannot do that. I have had cats for over 40 years, and I am a devoted "cat person." I love them and can not imagine spending any time without a cat in my home. I would say that over the course of 40 years, I have had several troublesome cats. Most of my cats have been super wonderful companions, good, well-mannered, and loving. A few have been handfuls -- Zachary is one of them, but thankfully at almost 20 years of age, he has mellowed quite nicely. Gus, though, is cut from a unique cloth. I have never had a cat behave like Gus. I have had lost of Queens, lots of wanna be kings, and a whole passel of loving followers; but never a cat who acted like a dog and thought he was a person. Weird, huh?

The Lord has Graciously helped me deal with Gus, even suggesting certain things I can do to help "manage" him. All these things have worked well, and we do have a fairly manageable household. The night roaming thing is, I believe, part and parcel with the Spiritual oppression I have experienced most recently. In all my years as a cat owner, there have been times when my cats sensed another presence in the room. I can't really explain it, other than to say, my cats would react with arched back, tail plumed, and howl and hiss at the darkness. This was not common behavior for them, so when it happened, it always frightened me. I also have had a number of cats choose to sleep on my head. Again, some cats just like to do this, but mine don't always. They do when these observances are made, when there is something that causes them to feel uncertain. Zachary doesn't always sleep on my pillow. In fact, in 19 years, the only time he has done it has been within the last couple months. He now is on my head every night.

I have had one other cat do this -- in direct response to something in my room. This was when I was first a Christian, and my cat, Snowball, reacted to what she perceived as a threat. She would yowl and hiss, and then retreat to my pillow. She often slept up there with me, purring very loudly, as if to comfort both of us.

I have felt that damp coldness in my bedroom again. It was there a couple months ago, right when things were very dark for me. It went away after I did some removing of specific materials from my house. It has not been felt since. I started to feel it again yesterday, which seems to coincide with my dark day. I felt it last evening, and again this morning. In fact, I feel it right now as I type. If you have never experienced this feeling, all I can say is that it is like you are standing next to an open refrigerator door. There is a breeze and it blows on you ice cold air. You can walk away and check for drafts (I do this often to see if it is a draft or something else). Usually I notice the coldness on my legs and feet. I can sit or stand still and simply freeze. I can also detect it when I am sleeping. No matter how many covers I have over me, I will be freezing inside.

I used to confront what I was experiencing, because that was how I was taught. But after the last go-round, I did some web searching and found out that what I was doing was not Scriptural. The Word clearly tells us that this battle belongs to the Lord. We are NOT to engage the enemy. We are to confess the Lord Jesus Christ and LET HIM FIGHT FOR US. I used to call boundaries and hedges and the like, but this never seemed to work for me. Now, I just confess the Lord, trust that He is at my hand, and believe that He has the authority to ban or limit these beings.

So here I am today, blogging and having to deal with some oppression. Some Christian's don't believe such oppression exists. Mostly this is because they have never experienced it. I believe in it because my entire life has been a battle of sorts with these types of beings. I also find that every single time I take a deeper walk of faith, I get bombarded with these feelings. I experience the outward manifestations of darkness. I don't like it, but I no longer fear it. I used to run scared, hiding in my room, and praying in earnest for the darkness to be lifted. Now, I know that I have the Light of Christ within me, that My Heavenly Father is right with me. I am not alone, He will never leave me. His hand is holding onto mine, and He is shining His Light into the darkness so that He can illumine my path. I trust Him to lead me through these dark times. I know that we will come round about and be bathed in the Light. That time is coming, it is not far off, and until then, I just hang onto His Hand and let Him lead me through this time.

As far as Gus is concerned, well, I do need an intervention of sorts. I have changed my thoughts regarding his behavior and now consider it to be a blessing on my life. The Lord has provided a cat to guard me, a cat to give first warning of impending threat, a cat that will comfort me and confirm to me that what I am experiencing is really happening. I am thanking the Lord for His Gracious gift of a "watch cat."

Thank you, Lord, for giving me a cat to comfort and cheer me. I thank you now for the turmoil and difficultly in my life. I know that nothing happens without your approval and that you allow things come into my life that help me to grow stronger and become more and more like you. I give you all Praise for this circumstance and situation, and I am fully committed to offering you my worship today. You are God alone and through you and in you and by you -- have the powers of darkness been defeated. It is in your Name that I give Praise and Honor and Glory. In the matchless and mighty Name of Jesus I pray today...Be Praised!

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