We have had serious animal drama around here, and it doesn’t even mainly have to do with the large gray animal I found heading into a large tunnel under our driveway.
It all started with one small sweet cat on a Saturday afternoon. She didn’t seem like she’d bring anybody trouble; she was a beautiful calico drinking out of a salt water pool (which couldn’t have been good for her), and she was very skinny, obviously needing food. Greg was out of town, so the kids and I took pity on her and gave her some food and water. She hungrily ate up the food and drained the water dish at once. We let her in the garage, and she became particularly fond of a small space behind a pile of boxes. Saturday evening, I locked her out of the garage, and she had to stay out until Sunday after we returned from church. She ran in the garage then, and that’s when I found a two or three day old kitten wriggling his way out from behind the boxes. We think she already had the kitten when we met her and had brought it to our garage sometime when we weren’t watching on Saturday (we don’t know what happened to any others that might have been). The poor baby had been trapped in the garage all Saturday night and Sunday morning without his mother or her milk.
After that, we took care of the little guy and his mama as best we could, trying to keep them safe in our garage in a comfortable place. The kids and I played with them (especially the kitten) every chance we had. I was excited that the kids would get to watch a kitten grow up, and that they’d have more than an elderly thirteen year old cat (our indoor cat) with whom to play. They named the mama cat Pearl and the kitten Jack. The kids watched as his legs grew a little more stable every day, and as he first started to open his eyes, purr, clean himself, and play. Jack was just like any other tiny kitten you’ve seen or heard of–a fuzzy, tiny, wobbly, impossibly cute little guy.
Then, when Jack was a little more than two weeks old, on a Saturday night as well, a male cat came in the garage and killed him. Since then, two male cats (one of which was probably the one to have killed the kitten) have not left Pearl alone, yowling at her throughout the night. I hope we can catch one or both of those obnoxious feral toms in the cage the animal control people put out for the aforementioned large gray animal.
Now, I know animals get killed every day–that is a fact of life. I’ve had in my lifetime at least three beloved outdoor cats disappear, probably because of coyotes. I also know I only knew Jack for two weeks. But seeing him killed was truly horrible to me and not just because of the pain I knew my kids would (and did) feel when they would find out the next morning. I think a big part of it was just the absolute “wrongness” of it. He was a creature that gave only delight to those around him, perfectly innocent, vulnerable, and sweet. It was horrifying to see this tiny creature violently killed by an unknown unprovoked animal. I also know Pearl, the mother, is a cat and does not have human feelings, but it was heartbreaking to see her cleaning him as if he were still alive. After we had taken her baby away to be buried, she searched everywhere for him, calling for him all night, all the while being harassed by the relentless male cats. I also know these cats do not really have evil hearts–they are just animals following their instincts. However, I would say the result was evil nonetheless.
I hear about all kinds of evil on the news, evil that is much, much worse than what went on in our garage last Saturday night. However, it’s easy for me to turn aside from that evil and stop thinking about it–I can’t do much about it anyway, I have my own sphere that God has given me that doesn’t include that tragedy, and it feels a lot better not to think about it, that’s for sure. This little tragedy forced me to look evil in the face, though, and weep.
Why did this (and other evil) have to happen? I know some answers that involve the Fall of man, but ultimately, I don’t know the answer entirely, especially when it gets to particulars. I do know, however, a very comforting promise that says that one day the wolf will graze together with the lamb, that predators will no longer cause evil on God’s holy mountain (Isa. 65:25). No matter how much evil goes on now, it is not what God ultimately wants for us, and it will not continue forever.
On top of that is this verse: “Are not five sparrows sold for two cents? Yet not one of them is forgotten before God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows” (Lk. 12:6-7). My kids and I cared about a small insignificant kitten, and although he might not have been much to most people, God Himself noticed his tiny life. If He pays attention to kittens and sparrows, how much more does He care for each of us and the real evil we face?
Jesus’ words in John 16:33 are words I meditated on last Saturday night. They are words that can stand up to much heavier trials than mine: “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”