I started to title this post “How to Kitten-proof Your House,” but then I realized I would have to leave the page blank. Try as we might to deter her, our little rescue kitten, Annie, can get into anything. At seven months she’s beginning to look more like a full-grown cat, but her energy and curiosity levels are kitten-like to the max! She’s part angel in fur, part domestic terrorist. Like a toddler, Annie has two speeds: full throttle and off. When she’s in the speed mode we call “the rips,” she can race up and down the stairs, across all the furniture and countertops, and up and down two bookcases all in about 17 seconds.
Decorating for Christmas has been challenging this year. We put up two trees but only hung non-breakable ornaments, and none on the bottom third of each tree. Still the little darling leaps for the lowest hanging ones, pulls tissue paper out of the gift bags, and chews on ribbons. We aren’t sure how the advent wreath full of candles came crashing to the floor one day, but we have our suspicions. After all, someone said if the earth were flat, cats would have knocked everything off of it by now!
Annie has been shut up more times than Alcatraz escapees. She’s been in the pantry a few times, in the bedroom closet, the storage room, the office…just any room into which she has followed one of us unobserved. We did buy her a collar with a bell so we could locate her, but she managed to shed that and hasn’t told us where. It would have been helpful the day she jumped in the dryer and I slammed the door and started it without knowing she was in there! Gratefully I heard a few “ka-thunks,” so I stopped the dryer and opened the door to see what was wrong. She came jetting out with eyes as big as saucers. Now when I’m switching the laundry she stays at least five feet away. (Who says cats can’t be trained?)
So why put ourselves through this agony you non-cat lovers may ask? Because of the pure joy! She makes us laugh several times a day, valuable during these trying times, and we get to experience her wonder as she discovers everything in her small world for the first time. Who knew water dripping down the back of the shower door could be so fascinating? Or gazing out the window at magpies? Or snow?
There are many mental and emotional benefits to having a cat in the house. In Professor John Gray’s Wall Street Journal article “Cats are the Best Philosophers” he says, “Cats have no need for instruction from humans. They already know how to live. Their default state is contentment, to which they return whenever they are not hunting, mating, or playing.”
Annie’s contentment blesses me when she curls up on my lap during early morning devotions, or stretches out between my husband and me while we watch TV. And like a toddler, she looks perfectly innocent when she’s asleep!
Gray goes on to say about cats, “In a time of pandemic and pervasive uncertainty, they have become necessary for the health of the soul.” He concludes the article with, “Just by giving us their presence, our feline companions lighten the burden of being human.”
Don’t like cats? Might I suggest you’ve never really spent time with one. If you do, you may find yourself saying, “Well, I still don’t like cats—except for this one.” No two are alike, but all have a lot to offer us humans. So we put up with Annie’s antics, and know she’ll make our Christmas more joyful!
Readers, may you have a safe and Merry Christmas! At least temporarily, try to put aside the sadness of these times and celebrate the Savior who came to earth to be God with us. Look for the joy!