“Hey Alley, wait up!” Tomcat meowed as he scampered across the yard towards the other cat. Alleycat turned his head and watched Tomcat’s approach dispassionately.
“What ‘cha want?” Alley asked when Tom drew close enough. Fleas bounced around his face and body relentlessly, and gnats circled the fresh scar on his tail. “You a long way from your house,” he said, a hint of disdain in his voice.
“I’m leaving my house,” Tom said with an adamant cast to his eyes. “They dipped me in that strange smelling water again. I’m sick of being treated like that!”
“You mean the flea dip?” Alley asked. Alley used to be a housecat but had run away some years ago, and as such most of the neighborhood cats looked up to him because of his experience and independence.
“Flea dip? What is that?”
“That’s what the two-leggers call it. I don’t know why, it ain’t got anything to do with fleas. It don’t have fleas in it. I think it’s just a derogatory way of referring to us cats, like flea-bitten,” Alley smiled. “I’ve tried to tell you not to trust the two-leggers. Your best bet is out here in the world... away from any two-leggers influence. You stay with how many of them?”
“Three. Well... two now. There used to be another but I haven’t seen that one in a while. It’s just the father and son now,”
“Two is two too many. When I was in a two-legger’s home, they used to force me to swallow a little rock,”
Tom nodded in agreement. “Mine do too! Why do they do that?”
Alley coughed twice, then sat on his haunches to scratch at his back. “Doggone fleas,” He then looked at Tom again. “Think that called that a wurmpill. They ain’t got no reason for that either. They just mean. They want us to know who is boss and who is pet. Mine used to make me wear a neck brace too... like the one you got on now! Uncomfortable, ain’t it?”
Tom pawed at his collar absently. “This thing? I’m kind of used to it now,”
Alley continued as if he hadn’t heard him. “And they even rub my nose in my own... stuff. That’s just pure two-legger meanness right there!”
“Well, as long as I use my box of sand they don’t really...”
Alley coughed again and Tom noticed for the first time a tick by Alley’s eye. It bulged grotesquely and nonchalantly behind whiskers of variant length. Unconsciously Tom backed up in disgust and horror. Alley didn’t appear to notice. “Yeah, those two-leggers are mean. You made a good choice, Tom. Out here in the real world ya get to be a cat. No more have to deal with the two-legger’s mysterious ways,” Alley stopped to scratch furiously at his own back.
Tom sighed, trying to ignore the pangs of trepidation in his heart. “So, what is here to eat? I left before having a chance to get any food,”
Alley grinned. “I don’t know. How should I know?”
“You don’t know?” Tom repeated, the surprise evident in his voice. “What do you...”
“We find our own food out here!” Alley said, then winked as if he had imparted some exquisite secret. “We cats! We hunters by nature! We shouldn’t deny our nature!
“But if we don’t catch anything?”
“We don’t eat,” Alley smiled, completely oblivious to Tom’s growing distress. “Don’t worry, if you can’t catch anything you can rummage garbage or beg a two-legger,”
Tom noticed for the first time how thin Alley was in comparison to himself. How hadn’t he seen that before? “I thought you said not to trust the two-leggers?”
Alley sighed again as if Tom’s question was childish. “I said don’t trust ‘em, not don’t use ‘em. When you need something, you can usually cry and meow to a two-legger. Sometimes ya get it, sometimes ya get kicked, sometimes ya get nothin’. It’s a gamble. I only do that when things get real extreme. I may even stay with a nice two-legger for a while, but as soon as I get on my four paws again I’m back in the real world,”
Tom opened his mouth to reply, then stopped, blinking unbelievingly. Now that he’d seen he first tick, he noticed that Alley was actually covered in ticks. Alley’s fleas were obvious, but his ticks were camouflaged against his dark fur. Tom took another step backwards. “Why do you have so many fleas and ticks?”
Before the stray could reply, a low and ominous growl froze the blood in both animals. Without even looking up, they both realized almost simultaneously that Rock had found them. Rock was the neighborhood dog-bully, and in a feat of feline-telepathy, the pair took off in opposite directions without looking up or around. Tom didn’t see the large rottweiler, but he felt the wind of the evil animal as it took off after Alley.
An hour later, Tomcat found himself scratching at the front door of his two-legger’s home. The son opened the door, smiled warmly at his pet cat, and picked him up to take him back into the house.
The ways of our God are both enigmatic and often indecipherable to His children. However, we can be assured that as the scriptures say, all things work to the good of those who love the Lord. Perhaps we could liken our sovereign master to benevolent pet owner, although His omniscience separates Him from our limited understanding on a level which infinitely eclipses our removal from our pets. However, the analogy is still valid and can perhaps enlighten us to some of His ways. Consider if you will:
We scratch furiously at our fleas, yet fight and resist our master when He lovingly but sternly comes to briefly bathe us in the flea dip, the trials of growth that banish these annoying and dangerous spirits from us.
We tug relentlessly on our binding chains, or rattle our cages defiantly, completely oblivious to the dangers that await us beyond the divinely set boundaries of the yard and the measure of faith He has preordained for us.
We howl mournfully at the moon, awakening the neighbors to our plight as we moan at our trials despite his admonitions to trusting silence.
We whimper with our noses in the messes we make as He chastises us for our own betterment, so that we can live and walk with Him, “house-trained” to one day live easily in His many-mansioned home.
We greedily consume the trash, the things of the world, when in cover of darkness while simultaneously and remorselessly devouring His food, His word when in the light and in His presence.
We chase off others, barking and hissing menacingly at their approach in fear that they may possibly gain the master’s favor and attention that we believe rightly belongs to us.
We grow anxious and carsick as He moves us speedily from the comfort of the familiar to a new environment, worried at traveling through foreign locomotion, wary of moving by anything but our own power.
Does a hamster understand why he must leave his cage so you can change his bedding? Or a dog understand chastening if he leaps onto a loved owner? Or a cat why you would force an strange-tasting worm pill down its throat? Perhaps they believe our behavior as strange and inconsistent and as cruel as the mannerisms we sometimes assign to God. And yet, in each of these scenarios, our actions are of love and kindness, though our pets are unable to discern this due to their parochial comprehension. The same can most certainly be said for us, arrogantly believing that our consciousness and intelligence gives us equality, at least intellectually, with the Creator. He moves and acts in ways we cannot comprehend, similar to the aforementioned examples with the anthropomorphic animals. We must learn to trust Him, to realize that whatever He does, it is for our evolution whether we can see it or not.
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