Mary Sue and I share life with six cats.
I almost wrote “own,” but as all feline-fanciers quickly discover, the cat-human connection is more like a partnership than ownership.
Two of our cats live in our house, while the other four use our barn as their base of operations. Most of them are named after vegetables, and all of them, as best we can tell, had a rough start to life.
Three of the barn cats – Sugar Beet, Gus (Asparagus is his full name), and Rudy (from Rutabaga) are superb mousers. They were originally a homeless family (Sugar Beet is the mother of the other two) scratching out an existence as best they could in a nearby town. Olive, our other barn cat, who is pushing 18 years old, is essentially in assisted living. Last year I actually saw a mouse sitting in her food dish, chomping away, while she sat nearby watching contentedly.
Tater and Rebel get to crash on our bed and couch. Tater was a neglected kitten, not many days from death, when we rescued her from a farm a few years ago. Rebel, who is going through life without a vegetable name, was a “street kitty” found by our son and daughter-in-law near a tattoo parlor in Georgia. Today they are both as fat and happy as Garfield.
Recently we’ve noticed that a male feral cat has discovered there are bountiful supplies of water, kibble, and leftover Fancy Feast in our barn. Even though he’s intimidated by our presence, he may yet become part of the family.
I think about our cats whenever I remember how Anne Lamott described the means by which she came to trust Christ.
Lamott is not your typical spiritual writer. She unflinchingly describes her struggles with alcoholism, depression, and being a single mom.