He doesn’t hate cats. He never has.
It’s just that my Dad thought cats should earn their keep. In an environment rich in prey for the furry felines, he expected them to do what God created them to do.
We didn’t feed the cats a lot.
They did their jobs.
Many hours were spent in my childhood, watching the sneaky critters hunt mice and lizards around the various buildings on the property. Stealthily and patiently, they would wait for just the right moment. Any error in calculation would result in missing the kill. Hunger was the result.
They became quite skilled at their task.
Even the most elusive of prey can be caught.
On several occasions, I would notice the cat giving up after waiting for a long period of time, only to return the next day or week. Nothing escaped them forever.
A few times, they were even lucky enough to find the nest of a cottontail rabbit. The fat little bunnies were no match for the cunning hunters. We were always unhappy to see the result of these forays.
But we were never as sad as the lady of the house was when she found the feathers of her beloved songbirds scattered in the yard, the result of some stealthy, sneaky kitty’s hunt. A slink—a crouch—a spring in the air, and the deed was done. I think she would have rather fed the cats daily than have the sweet songs of those winged creatures fall silent.
Nevertheless, I also remember the times when we set the feast out for the brood of feline hunters. Scraps from the table, perhaps the leftover from one of our fishing trips, would find their way out to the porch on saucers.
The purring kitties would devour the meal in seconds, with heads raised immediately to see if more was forthcoming. When it wasn’t, the cats would wander away to lie in the shade, still purring, those plump mounds where their hungry bellies had been now gorged with the bounty.
Funny thing. The next day they would return to the place they had been fed, in hopes that the generosity would be repeated. When it wasn’t, they slunk away disappointed. Usually, after the second day with no repetition in the feeding, they would return to their usual activities, once more catching mice and other prey.
It wasn’t a bad system. My father believed that things should work the way God designed them to. Cats are hunters.
Some may think it cruel to have let them fend for themselves. In this day and age, we pamper our pets, providing beds and central heat/air for them. Offering them gourmet meals, we wouldn’t think of making them hunt.
Dad believed them capable, and they proved themselves to be all that and more. Not one ever starved.
But beyond the discussion of our treatment of pets, I have to wonder: Do things actually work the way God created them to?
There is a deeper truth to be found here. We may have to hunt for it a little while.
It may take some skill.
Truth is so elusive at times.
Why is it that sometimes we have to struggle so hard to find it? I have questions—questions for which I need answers—but they are nowhere to be found.
Years, I have sought the answers in some cases. It is true that many have been revealed.
But many more, I still seek for.
And perhaps, that is the deeper truth we can learn from the feline creatures.
The hunt for truth, God’s truth, is a lifelong quest. Wisdom and knowledge, of who He is and what He desires of us, depend on it.
Our relationships depend on finding it.
Why then is it so hard to find sometimes? There are seasons when I feel I’m wandering in a desert, with nothing to be found. There is no truth, no direction, no comfort to be seen anywhere.
But, I remember the words of the Teacher, the one who wandered in the desert Himself, hungry and thirsty:
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness. They will be filled. (Matthew 5:6)
In the desert, we can still find His truth. The water He provides still quenches thirst, even if it does have to be wrung from the cactus plant.
I remember too, that He has plans to bless us, and not plans to harm. He wants to train us for a future, and a hope. If we seek Him with everything within us, He promises—promises—to be found. (Jeremiah 29:11-13)
There will be time for rejoicing later. The day is coming!
Until then, we hunt. We seek. We examine.
It is enough.
Before you get depressed about the desert, I wonder if I can remind you of something?
The same God who designed us to hunt in the desert also leads us by the still waters and prepares a feast for us. (Psalm 23)
The same God who sends us to wait in the wilderness sometimes simply puts the saucer down on the floor and calls out, “Here Kitty, Kitty.”
Taste it! Taste it and find that the Lord is good. (Psalm 34:8)
Full is good.
Is that purring I hear?
Where I found truth, there I found my God, who is the truth itself.
(Augustine of Hippo ~ Early Christian theologian ~ 354-430)
O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is; To see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary.
(Psalm 63:1-2 ~ KJV)
© Paul Phillips. He’s Taken Leave. 2016. All Rights Reserved.