Saturday, February 26, 2011


Just as I am convinced that dogs will always be secured a place beside the Creator, I am equally convinced that cats will be welcomed in Heaven, as well.  The big difference is that dogs will enter the kingdom with gratitude and joy in their hearts, while cats, on the other hand, will consider it more of a favor that they are bestowing on God.  I think this stems from the fact, that though dogs demonstrate God's unconditional love, cats demonstrate that love can have all kinds of conditions. Now I am not an authority on cats, since Copper, the cat who presently owns us, is the first cat that I have ever lived with, but if she is any example of the way cats behave I am fairly confident that I have made an accurate assessment.
Copper came into our lives as a kitten; not a brand new baby one but more of a pre-teen.  Once again, we were vacationing in Port Sanilac when, while shopping at the local IGA along with my husband and my youngest daughter Olivia, I noticed a small kitten hiding underneath the back tire of  a pick-up truck; motor running. I alerted the driver and then rescued the sweet little tabby bedecked in her bright blue collar and bell.  Although she had no name tag on her collar I felt sure that someone would recognize her and be filled with joy upon hearing of my heroic rescue, so I took her inside the store.  Sadly, the only person they suggested as a possible owner was me!
Olivia was, of course, delighted with this news and she wholeheartedly concurred with their thinking.  I reminded her though, that our pup Sophie, despised all other animals except for Emmy, the Border Collie who lived next-door to us. Bringing the kitten home was just not a viable option for our family. To this end we began our quest to locate the kitten's rightful owners. We traversed the nearby homes going door to door in the hopes of locating them, but not only did no one claim her, two homeowners actually released their drooling, growling dogs out after us, to clarify this point!
By now we were growing desperate, so I went to the police station to secure some insights as to what we might do to resolve our dilemma.
"Nope, never saw that cat before." came the officer's reply.
"Okay, well what do you suggest we do with her then?"  I inquired. "We can't keep her, because we live with a Kairn terrier who becomes unhinged when other animals are in her presence."
"Well," the officer answered. " You can take her to Carsonville.  They have an animal shelter there, but they are probably going to put her to sleep. (this was followed by a brief silence allowing the meaning of his words to fully sink in) Or, of course, you could keep her."  he added cheerfully, while looking directly at Olivia.  Clearly, due to his training as a law enforcement person, he was able to correctly identify the weak link in our group of three.
As Olivia's eyes opened wide with horror, he suggested our only other alternative was to drop the kitten by a nearby church in the hopes that someone might take her.
On our drive over there, our ten year old daughter began to recite a plaintive prayer:
"Dear God, Please don't let my parents release this defenseless little kitten out alone, by the church.  She will be torn apart by mean, drooling dogs, and she is just a baby."  I tried to cover my ears.
Dave stopped the car at the side of the church and then we proceeded to wait... in silence.
Finally Dave said to me, "Well, what are you doing?  Grab the kitten and put her on the lawn."
"Are you crazy?" I asked.  "I'm not going to be the one that puts that kitten on the lawn to be torn apart by a pack of mean, drooling dogs, so that Olivia can hate me for the rest of my life.  You do it."
"Well, I'm not doing it either." was his reply.  Clearly, God had taken Olivia's prayer seriously.
"Fine," I said. "Even though it will never work out, we will take the kitten back over to the trailer and see how Sophie reacts to her."
We returned to our trailer and were greeted by the rest of our daughters.  While they were filled with delight, Sophie, true to form, became unhinged at the sight of the interloper and began to bark and jump wildly. With that the tiny kitten hissed, and, much to our shock and dismay, Sophie ran and hid behind my legs terrified at the menacing three pound creature that we had brought home with us.  Our fate was sealed.
Our life with Copper was filled with surprises. Sophie and Copper became best of friends, as was illustrated by the team work they demonstrated when getting into trouble together.  Unbeknownst to me, for example, was the affinity cat's possess for climbing up ones Christmas tree and then pouncing on unsuspecting souls who came close to the tree, to admire it.  So as not to exclude Sophie in these Christmas festivities, she would also bat the ornaments down to our pup so that she would have a ball to play with; a form of entertainment they utilized frequently during the holidays.
Most disturbing to me however, was Copper's ability to catch small animals to present to the family as gifts; sometimes while they were still breathing.  She deposited a live chipmunk in our family room early on and one can only imagine the reaction of all the women in the house as the chipmunk went scurrying off out of sight.  Of course, this was not as horrible as when she deposited the ones that WERE NOT breathing any longer, on our doorstep; a sight made even more gruesome by the fact that they were often beheaded.  I have always suspected that Copper, like many hunters, has a trophy room somewhere in the house in which she has proudly mounted the evidence of her hunting prowess.
Copper loves us I am sure, but I quickly came to the realization that it is always on her terms.  She often jumps on our laps as we type at the computer, but once there, if we should stop petting her to type, she has no qualms about biting us to remind us that this is unacceptable.  When she decides to go outdoors her request is to be met immediately or she speaks to us in a disrespectful tone of meow, AND if we do not respond quickly enough after that, she slaps one of our dogs to demonstrate her annoyance at our pitiful lack of training.
Even so, I am sure that Copper will someday be waiting for me at heaven's gate alongside all the dogs that I have shared my life with.  I believe her tail too, will be wagging behind her.  The difference is that when a cat is wagging its tail it is usually a sign it is getting ready to pounce you. This will probably be in retaliation for keeping her waiting too long.