Amazing Grace, How Sweet the Meow

I used to hate cats. Now my pet is a daily reminder of God’s generosity to me.

I’ve hated cats all my life. Well, maybe not all my life. My mom has a picture of me, maybe six years old, playing with kittens in my grandpa’s barn, and I remember begging to take that little furball home. But my mom hated cats, and I soon did too.

My husband’s family had a cat, and when we were dating, I shuddered whenever I visited. The creature was unbearably forward and gross. I was convinced the cat tried to kill me one night by sitting on my head while I slept, even though my husband insists she was just being cozy.

My thinking on felines held firm for about two decades. Our sweet dogs were all the pets I ever wanted, while cats, by contrast, were disgusting to me. They walked on tables with their little cat feet. They seemed mysterious and inscrutable.

I rolled all cats together with the evil Snowbell from E. B. White’s Stuart Little: “malevolent, self-absorbed, negative, obstinate, witty, bellicose, evil, loathsome, loquacious, testy, ingenious, narcissistic, kooky, eccentric, relentless, boorish, emotional, loud-mouthed and loco.”

Then our youngest child went full-court press for a pet cat. He sang their praises. Knowing my fears, he researched a cat species bred for their friendliness to both dogs and humans and then found a local veterinarian breeder who raises the things in her home.

His campaign came at an opportune time for him. We were post-COVID, post-lots-of-losses. His older siblings were moving into realms that aren’t yet for him, and I felt like he needed something. Maybe at that moment, I would have given him almost anything. So for the love of my son, I swallowed my apprehension, and we called the breeder and reserved a fluff-some kitten. …

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