What a Christian Learned From a Feral Cat
There is a nice blog post on the Huff Post Life Lessons website, written by Carl McColman. Carl and his wife encountered two feral cats outside their house. One was a grey tabby and the other a tuxedo (black with some white). One day the grey tabby cat disappeared and he understood why. He knew that feral cats had a harsh and short life. Then one day the black-and-white, still a kitten, came back to their home with three little kittens in tow. Despite being very young she had a family and this prompted Carl to think about how to deal with things. He decided something should be done. He had been told about trap-neuter-return programs. He also knew that feral cats often carried nasty diseases which were contagious but despite these barriers he wondered whether he could domesticate them.
Before he began to trap the cats two of the kittens went missing and never returned. Such is the short life of a feral kitten. He managed to trap the remaining kitten and her mother. They were neutered and checked out by the vet who said they were all clear. Then the domestication began and he knew it would be a long and challenging process. However, he says that the worst-case scenario was that he would simply release them back to where they came from if he failed to turn them into house cat companions.
As expected, the little kitten, who they named ‘Pete’, adapted quickly to domestication; much more quickly than his mother who they called Little Mama. After twelve weeks she was somewhat domesticated. There was progress. After weeks of great timidity, recently she has begun to follow Carl and his wife around the house. She even joined Mr. and Mrs. Colman for an afternoon nap, becoming a lap cat at last.
He knows there is a long way to go but at this juncture he has reflected on what has been achieved and decided that Little Mama has taught him something. What this petite, little semi-feral cat has taught him is Christian values, as I see it. Or reminded him of these values. He says that “love is more about giving and receiving”.
He also says that calmness and tenderness are ways to heal. He is referring to his tender, gentle and indeed quiet approach to domesticating Little Mama.
Then there is patience which is always a virtue and it’s certainly ‘an essential’ when it comes to domesticating feral cats. You could say that patience is the key. He knows that it is alright to have bad days and good days along the way provided that overall there is some progress.
Referring to his cat he says that “it’s important to feel safe before you can play”. I like that. That applies to us all.
The last lesson he says that he learned is that his relationship with Little Mama is a metaphor for how humans relate to God. He says that God wants to love us but people are so often afraid. They run away and keep God at arms length. God is patient and when finally a person chooses to trust God, he is met with God’s unconditional love.