by David Lourie
Who controls whom? Appearances are often deceptive. A universal joke among pet owners is that dogs and cats have us humans well trained to supply their every need. Often our need to nurture them is at least equal to their need to be nurtured. Therefore I have come to realise that what we may perceive as 'control' is usually a matter of mutual arrangement -- not only with cats, but with all relationships.
But firstly, regarding cats: with free food, free lodging, free medical and dental and miscellaneous services thrown into the package, how could any pet be blamed for working the situation to gain maximum satisfaction?. For example, in our current cartoon episode, Dharma knows Bodhi wants him to come in at night, but Dharma stays up on the roof until he hears the sound of Bodhi rattling his food box.  Dharma has figured out that if he holds his ground he will get a late night snack -- and thanks to Bodhi's nature, it works every time..
My cat and I have a similar agreement: whenever he comes to my whistle I give him food. That way I can get him to come home any time I want -- almost. Many people are amazed when they see a cat coming to a whistle, asserting that cats cannot be trained like dogs can. However, I explain that this pinpoints the distinction between 'training' and 'agreement' (which is why I said 'almost' a moment ago).
In many years of owning cats I have observed that cats do indeed take on far less 'training' than dogs do, generally speaking. Thus my arrangement with my own cat regarding the whistle is just that -- a mutual arrangement, not training. Case in point: when he's not hungry, he won't come to the whistle, whereas a dog would come anyway, because a dog becomes 'trained.'
So, whenever two parties establish a mutual arrangement, who can say which one is "in control?" One could observe that I hold the key to the pantry, and I am the only one who can open the door to the house, and that my cat is dependent upon me for food -- and from that one could erroneously conclude that I have some real 'power' in our relationship. Nevertheless, I am still dependent upon my cat's cooperation to get him indoors at night, so my conclusion is that most cat owners, like myself, are not really in as much control of their cats as they might believe. 
Similarly, in a spiritual or marital relationship we sometimes tend to see one party in apparent 'control.' In most cases, if someone is controlling you it is because you are allowing it to happen -- if not unconsciously inviting it -- so there again, what appears to be control reveals itself, under closer and subtler scrutiny, to be a mutual arrangement. -- David Lourie