Have you ever felt like you’ve been abandoned?
Sure that no one gave a rip about you
Convinced you didn’t belong
On your own…
A few weeks ago, our cat, Witty, thought he had been abandoned …again.
Wait. Before you say, “Oh, come on, Heidi, I don’t want to hear about your cat!,” stay with me another minute or two.
When I was in high school, I had a cat I dearly loved- an orange tabby. But he was hit by a truck out in front of our house. I know, TERRIBLE. (Well, for a cat-lover it was terrible.)
Then, Brian and I got an orange tabby kitten right after we got married. It died on our first Christmas Eve. *Sigh*
I know- I should have sworn off orange cats but I still dreamed of having another orange tabby someday.
Ten years went by.
2011 was a seriously sad year. My mom fought cancer and I grieved hard as I watched her slowly slip away.
It was during those months, one fall afternoon, a cat showed up on our doorstep.
An orange tabby!
I welcomed him as a surprise gift from God. We fed him, made a little bed outside for him and even put a collar on him.
And then a friend called. “HAVE YOU SEEN THE NEIGHBORHOOD FACEBOOK PAGE?”
Uh-oh. I checked the page and saw a picture of our new cat, eating out of someone else’s food bowl! The message read, “Would the person who put the collar on my cat please call me?”
What? I stole someone’s cat? That’s not good. I’m a pastor’s wife. We don’t typically steal things from neighbors.
I called her and greatly apologized for my thievery. But she was only too happy to give him to me as she had other animals and the cat was due for a vet visit.
So, we named him Witty, took him to the vet, gave him tasty tuna treats and many scratches behind the ears.
We discovered his background from the neighborhood dog walker. She said he had been born a few streets away and had lived at a number of different houses. His first name was “Thomas.” (And don’t worry, he was fixed.)
Once, the people who cared for him moved away and left him to find a new family. So he wandered and meowed until someone else had compassion.
He was the neighborhood vagabond.
But now HE LOVED US, I was sure of it. He had good food, clean water, and even a donated doghouse to sleep in on our deck. He stayed outside most of the time and somehow always managed to get his collar off. But he came inside occasionally to curl up on
a little boy’s lap
or sleep upside down on a soft blanket
or… bop our bunny on the head.
However, last month, we went out of town for two weeks. And two weeks, in a cat’s mind, must seem like eternity.
Our neighbor was checking on him to make sure he had food and water while we were gone and the first week was uneventful. But by the second week, I started seeing messages and photos like this one…
on our neighborhood FB page. Lots of them.
“Anyone know whose cat this is?” “He’s been on my deck all day.” “He’s meowing like he wants to come in my house.”
I wrote back as quickly as I could. “He’s MY cat! Tell him we will be home soon!”
And then I got a message from the lifeguard at the pool. It was serious. “Your cat has been hanging around here and animals are against health regulations. We’ve put him in the guardhouse, but it’s really hot in there. We’ll have to call animal control if you don’t come get him.”
Animal control? I’m in Wisconsin! Can’t someone tell Witty to go home? That we love him and will be home soon?
I called my neighbor and her daughter who were caring for Witty and left them a frantic message. They had been inundated with calls and messages, too. But down at the pool, they discovered the lifeguard had already let Witty out and he was gone again.
As we were driving home, I saw this photo and a new message from a neighbor on the outskirts of the neighborhood.
“Is this your cat? He’s really sweet. He seems to want to come in our house but we’re all allergic.”
Witty! Could you really forget about me that quickly? Don’t you know I LOVE YOU and you belong to me?
I told my 12-year old that I thought there was a spiritual analogy here.
He said, “You mean like times when God seems silent and we think He doesn’t care about us anymore?”
We drove into the neighborhood, straight to the last person who had sent me a message. She wasn’t home. I walked around the side of her house and there was Witty. Laying in the sun on top of a cement wall.
“WITTY!” I scooped him up. “Let’s go home.”
We brought him in, gave him tasty tuna treats and scratches behind the ears. He bopped the bunny on the head and curled up on a little boy’s lap.
He was home. Right where he belonged.
Whenever you feel abandoned…
You are NOT alone.
God has promised, “I will never leave you or forsake you.”
His thoughts about you are even more than all the grains of sand on every beach.
Does He seem silent?
Listen, for the voice of Love is calling your name.
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are MINE.”
Do you have a friend or loved one who needs to be reminded she is loved? Check out my LOVED t-shirt collection by clicking HERE.