There are things we tolerate for love of our children. For me, one of those things is our cat.
Two years ago, a scrawny grey cat showed up at our house, and my kids immediately began showering love and affection up on it. Not being a cat-lover myself, I left the care of it to the kids. Thankfully, it was a tolerant cat, and it endured being toted around and dressed up with a quiet dignity. I made it clear from the start that it would have to be an outside cat, and so it was free to come and go.
Briefly it was known as “Katniss” (despite being a male), but over time it came to be known as simply “Kitty.” Kitty would disappear at night, and show up again most mornings to be fed and loved on by the kids. Sometimes it would be gone for a few days, then show up with battle wounds. The kids imagined that Kitty always emerged triumphant from its fight, and continued to love it, despite its raggedy appearance.
A few weeks ago, Kitty disappeared for about a week. I wondered if this was it, if Kitty had met its match in the neighborhood cat fights. But one morning – an especially busy morning, not one with much time for a crisis – Kitty showed up, missing its left paw.
My initial reaction was to shut the door on it, to pretend I didn’t see that awful wound. But, for love of my children, I let it in, tried as best I could to deal with the wound, and set about contacting the local vet.
The kids were devastated, and many tears were shed. The vet (who sent me out to local pharmacies searching for the supplies she needed) stitched up the wound, which apparently was caused by a string trap. Two days later bones were showing through the wound.
This was all very difficult for me to deal with as David was gone on an MAF-related trip – me, who doesn’t deal well with smells, animals, or wounds – and all three culminated in this one cat crisis. When David returned he encouraged me with a verse: “A righteous man cares for the needs of his animal” (Proverbs 12:10). Suddenly it didn’t seem silly that we were praying for this cat to pull through.
Kitty is a tough cat, and despite being three-legged, was restless to be outside. One night we let it out and it escaped our fence. As of this writing, it has not returned. For the sake of my children, I hope it comes back.
Life on the streets of Sentani, in Papua, Indonesia, can be tough on a family pet. Kitty did return a few days later, but his wound looks awful again.