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  • Writer's pictureW. Austin Gardner

Cats and Dogs

But I’ve noticed that dogs and cats are very different.

Any time I turn into my driveway, my dog Jasmine jumps out of her dog house and runs to the car parading around as the official welcoming committee. She’ll run parallel to the car until it comes to a stop. Then she barks until I open the door. Once open, she puts her front paws into the car where I begin to scratch her behind the ears. As I do this, her tail begins to wag feverishly. We enjoy the brief moments together, and it’s evident to anyone watching that we share a deep bond and love!

When I go into my house and walk into the same room where our cat is, there’s no evidence of love from the cat toward me. I’ll make a loud kissing noise toward the cat, but the cat won’t even acknowledge me. In fact, he doesn’t even move. Any acknowledgment that he does give me comes in the form of walking over toward me and “marking” my leg with his head which is his way of saying, “I own you, pal.” But then he’ll then go and “mark” a chair. (It’s rather humbling to be relegated to the importance of a chair in my cat’s life, all I am to my cat is warm-blooded furniture!) Yes, they’re quite different.

There is a big distinction in the way they go outside as well.

When Jazzy wants to go outside, she jumps at the kitchen door and barks, letting you know she wants outside. When the door is opened, she bolts out the door and runs into the yard.

When Simba wants out, he stands by the window next to the front door. That is the signal that it is time to let the cat out. So I go to the front door, open it, and proceed to open the second screen door. What does Simba do? Nothing. He just sits there and looks outside (knowing full well I’ve opened the door). After staring outside for a while, he’ll look inside for a while as if saying, “Am I sure I really want to go outside?” He’ll then look back outside and occasionally lick his paw. (I think he’s checking some kind of cat watch—I’m not sure.)

Now, patience isn’t one of my greatest strengths, so I call out his name, make some kissing noises, and wait some more. Again, Simba looks outside through the window and then looks at the open door, then back outside, and then inside. He will repeat this process a few times. Finally, with no sense of urgency, he will cautiously walk over to the inner door and slowly make his way to the beginning of the great outdoors. And in the process, he’ll take great patience to mark the door.

Yet right before he takes the final steps to his new destination, he stops and sits. He’ll then look outside, then inside, then outside, then inside, and then back up at me. This too can be repeated a couple of times. All the while I am holding the door open and waiting. (Now remember, patience isn’t one of my greatest strengths.) I finally get so frustrated that I end up kicking the cat out the door (lovingly, of course, because my kids may be watching me!).

What I’ve heard others say, I claim is true: dogs have masters, but cats have staff. This is why mankind has traditionally attributed characteristics such as loyalty, service, and faithfulness to dogs. But cats have acquired traits like independence and aloofness. There’s a joke about cats and dogs that conveys their differences perfectly. A dog says, “You pet me, you feed me, you shelter me, you love me, you must be God.” A cat says, “You pet me, you feed me, you shelter me, you love me, I must be God.”

This difference between cats and dogs is very similar to how Christian theology is being lived out today. We call it “Dog Theology” and “Cat Theology.” Dogs say, “Lord, You love me, You bless me abundantly, You gave Your life for me, You must be God.” Whereas Cats say, “Lord, You love me, You bless me abundantly, You gave your life for me, I must be god.”

Did you notice the little “g” in god? Please note that Cats, or people with this theology, never really say, “I must be God.” They know it would be politically and biblically incorrect. That’s why pure Cat Theology is never taught from the pulpit. It is never sung in a song. It is never taught as a seminar. This is because while Cats never say, “I must be God,” They do say, “It’s all about me” or “It’s all about us! God did all this for us! Life is about us! I must be what God not only died for but lives for too!”

Bob Sjogren, Cat & Dog Theology

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