Friday, April 19 2024 - 10:17 AM
Photo by Elvira Visser with Unsplash

Lessons from Cats

We have baby cats at our house again. It’s been more than 25 years since we’ve had kittens but we now own two darling little male cats. Or rather they own us and our house. We made the necessary purchases to re-supply for catdom: new technology cat box and litter, scratching tree, food bowls, water release jar and bowl, collars with bells, stick toys, scrunchy shiny balls, squeaky little toy animals, pressure gate, food, and cat carrier. Uninvited fleas came along with the kittens, necessitating cat dunking and some medicine, then vacuuming and washing things they had slept upon. All of that before their first veterinarian appointment this week.

Diego and Zorro have an operating system that declares everything as a toy: fingers and toes, bags and boxes, the artificial flowers on the dining room table (gone), the pillows on the couch; the mat in front of the door, pieces of leaves on the floor, and kitchen towels hanging in front of them. Early on they found the small openings between and under the kitchen cabinets. It’s only a matter of time before they find the bathroom rolls of toilet paper.

I’m brandishing some new scratches and occasionally wonder why on earth we thought kittens were a great idea at this point. I’m trying to let go of the concept that all upholstery must remain in pristine condition. There will be sacrifices for cuteness.

Our aging dog has started coming to terms that these felines are staying. For a few days his genetics kicked in and he spent time attempting to herd the kittens while whining. He has been hissed at but now all the critters have sniffed and touched and put up with much, except barking. Barking still results in exploding cats that run behind the couch. However, different species can learn to thrive together.

The grandsons have been to our home to visit the animals and us. The cat toys entertain small humans and kittens, until the boys get too excited. Smiles, squeals, chases and a few claws. We have to remind the boys, “These are baby cats and they take naps.” Kitten education for everyone.

Just like human babies, kittens are so alluring when they are sleeping. Or when you first pick them up as warm balls of fur starting to purr. As soon as they are fully awake they also seem possessed by strange spirits! Zorro loves to chase his tail. Diego refuses to stop chewing my shoelaces. Mewing, they realize that the kitchen is Ground Zero for food. Their energy and athletics are astounding for someone weighing less then 3 pounds– scaling the sides of windows, walls, chairs, and tablecloths. Their ceaseless curiosity and ability for intense play-fighting mimics the human boys.

These kittens have reminded me of a time years ago when we used to watch our first baby and say, “Who needs TV?” My husband is busy taking photographs so we will have kitten memories. If we sit still and they get tired we sometimes have a sleeping little cat on our laps. I enjoy feeling the little heart beating and the soft rumbling of a purr.

Research studies tell us that petting and caring for a cat or dog can do amazing things for human health with lowered blood pressure, less anxiety and depression, and knowing that someone needs our love and attention. The ears, paws, fur, eyes, tail, are all things of beauty that can delight and distract from human difficulties. The world is fresh and new and fun. The wise cats know there’s a time to nap, to stretch, to run, to examine, and to purr with contentment. Perhaps I need to purr more often too.

Kittens: a furry gift package that speaks of God’s original garden life, and His love of animals.

“How many are your works, O Lord! In wisdom you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures” (Psalm 104:24, NIV).

Questions for personal journaling or group discussion:

1. If you have had pets, how have they enriched your life?

Write a praise to God for the parts of nature that are speaking to you of His love.

Karen Spruill writes from Orlando, Florida.

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About Karen Spruill

Karen Spruill

writes from Orlando, Florida.

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