Sydney was adopted from the shelter. We brought her home to keep Lynxy company. It took more than one knock-down spat for the two girls to sort out the alpha-cat (though in truth that changes daily). Each has her preferred space–often, but not always in the same room, and they very seldom touch. Still when one is missing, the other is looking for her. It’s rather amusing. They don’t know how to get along, but without each other, each is lonely and bored.
I know a lot of siblings like that, my own among them.
Sydney doesn’t purr, at least not loud enough for me to hear. I know she’s happy because she performs the wiggly-tail dance, especially when my husband comes home. They have a particular routine of scritches and hand-head butts that is so much fun to watch. With me, she’s less effusive. With both of us, she’ll eventually plop down, but always just out of reach. No matter what, there’s an escape route. If such a route failed once, she clearly maps an alternative.
Sydney doesn’t trust me to protect her. Lynxy somehow trusts more.
The most frustrating thing about Sydney is her scrounging. I feed her consistently twice each day. If we aren’t home, we have amazing neighbours who fill in for us. When Sydney came to us, she was barely six pounds. She’s now eight, a healthy weight for her. In spite of our faithfulness, she steals from the compost pot before we have a chance to empty it. Half the time she takes something she won’t even eat. It isn’t because she’s hungry.
It’s because she’s afraid she won’t have enough.
Lynxy, too, has been known to get on the countertops but these moments are rare. Most often it’s because Sydney has taken her favourite vantage point for looking out the window. Sydney on the other hand, is seeking to fulfill a basic need, again not trusting that I’ll provide for her. No matter how often I prove to her that I’ll meet her needs, no matter how often I follow through, she won’t believe it will happen the next time.
She’s vocal enough about the matter, however. Though she’s stingy with her purrs, Sydney has no issue about sharing her opinion when she feels it’s time I meet her demands. If I’m in the kitchen and she wants to be fed, she’ll tell me in no uncertain terms. She circles the table indignantly, and if she had a fist to throw in my direction, I’m sure she wouldn’t hesitate. Her meows are insistent. Never mind that dinner almost always arrives at six and it’s only four. She wants it now, as though she knows what’s best.
It never works.
The other thing about Sydney is that she’s rather ferocious under the right circumstances. She loves to look out the big picture window in our front room. When another neighbourhood cat comes to investigate however, Sydney will not hesitate to scream. Perhaps you think I exaggerate but if you were in my house and you heard her, you would believe as I have, that someone has surely dropped a semi-trailer on her tail. You would, as I have, run down to rescue this poor eight-pounder cat, only to discover she’s yelling her opinion from a safe distance. She’s in no danger.
I wonder sometimes, how long it will take for Sydney to understand that I’ve promised to look after her, to love her, to protect her. I have a plan for her future, and I’ll always give her what she needs. I wonder when she’ll get that.
Does God look at me and wonder when finally I’ll get it too?