Life Lesson from a Cat

After a stressful visit to the vet, some spiritual perspective on facing things we dread.

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Purring cat

Fred our cat had to go to the vet recently because of an ingrown toenail. Fred was not happy about that.

We had to put him in the cat carrier to get to the vet. Fred is a very large cat, 19 pounds, and a pretty old fella too. I’m not exactly sure how old because he was rescued from the subway platform and came to us 16 years ago. So he’s at least 17.

Fred is an indoor cat. We live in an apartment on the second floor–there’s really no place for him to go. He used to be interested in the birds outside the window. They don’t even distract him from a nap anymore.

He’s very good at two things. Eating and sleeping. Also purring. He likes me to brush him every morning when my oatmeal is cooking. He purrs as he stretches out on the kitchen floor.

Not long ago we noticed him limping on his front paw. We figured it was arthritis. He’s old. Then we inspected his paw. The ingrown toenail. We tried to extract it. Nothing doing. (He did not take to the tweezers lightly.)

“Okay, Fred,” we told him. “Time to go to the vet.” Time for a professional.

He howled at being put into the carrier. He meowed and hissed at us. He wasn’t very civil to the vet either.

But the job was done, and he came back home, happy to get back on the bed, curled up in the duvet, his favorite spot. All recollections of his horrible trip seem to have been forgotten.

We humans do not forget our unplanned journeys. They remain with us. We’re not always happy after a doctor visit. We await results from tests. We worry. We are not cats.

As we put Fred into his carrier we said to him, “This will be good for you, Fred.” It was. It is. That was how I could see it from the human point of view. The way God might see the things that I dread.

So in my prayers I ask God, “Keep me thinking like a person. Compassionate. With a big perspective, a view of the larger picture. Not like a scared cat.” Amen. 

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