Randall Grabau ©2006
Any one of my kids will tell you that I am not particularly fond of cats. From my perspective, they are too demanding, too ungrateful and too self-centered. Since I am the one who gives them milk twice a day, after each time I have completed our daily milking chores, whenever I show up they whine, demand even beller for me to feed them.
And when they have cleaned up all I have provided them, they either whine some more as if to say, “Is that all I get?” Or they saunter away as if to say, “That was good and I deserved every bit of it.” Only rarely have I met up with a cat who actually seems to appreciate what I do to keep it alive. I buried one of those unique, different kind of cats this morning.
She was different right from the start when her mother first brought her whole litter out into the open last spring. She was a color we have never had before on Heritage Farm. Almost every cat that has ever been here was or is black, orange-yellow, or the brown-black, tiger-stripe kind of cat. In fact, the rest of her litter-mates fit that description. But she was different, a light creamy-tan type of color all over. As a kitten, she would hiss and spit at strangers just like any other cat, but she was never underfoot. As she grew, she would join the other cats at the cat dish, but not with the normal cat-attitude of, “I have to get as much as I can as fast as I can, before the greedy cats get it all.”
Summer passed. Fall came and, along with the colder temperatures, a flu-bug went through our farm. Some of our cows ended up with very loose manure and so did some of our cats, including the Cat-of-a-Different-Color. About the only thing to do in such a situation on a dairy farm is to wait it out and make sure there is plenty of fresh air. Our cows mostly got over it and so did most of our cats.
About five days ago our youngest daughter noticed the unhealthy Cat-of-a-Different-Color and brought her in the house basement for some tender, loving care. But the cat had little or no appetite and continued to decline physically. The third day in the house, I tried feeding her some liver from the chickens we had recently butchered. She ate it right down.
So yesterday and today I incorporated feeding the Cat-of-a-Different-Color as a part of my morning routine. That routine includes starting a fire in our wood-burning furnace and studying my Bible as I tend the fire. Both of these last two mornings, I fed the Cat-of-a-Different-Color after starting the fire in the furnace. Then I sat down on my bench to study my Bible.
The cat barely able to walk by this time, got up from its bed by the furnace, walked onto my rug, snuggled down next to my slipper, and laid its head against my foot. Now maybe she did that because my feet were warmer than the floor, but I know it was warmer by the furnace than by my feet. I think she was showing me appreciation for my efforts to help. It was her way of saying, “Thank you for trying,” even though she had little strength remaining. She died a few hours later.
What are we in comparison to God? We are weak, insignificant little creatures who “appear for a little time and then vanish” (James 4:14). Yet He reached down to help us. What is our response to His grace and mercy? Is it to whine and complain as if to say, “Is that all I get?” Or is it to smugly say, “I deserve all those good things.” What Jesus wants is for us to curl up next to His feet ( Luke10:39) as a way to tell Him, “Thank you for all you have done for me.” Then we, too, should truly be a Cat-of-a-Different-Color.