Nearly ten years ago, as I was giving the boys breakfast and frantically trying to get them ready for school, a visitor came boldly calling at our door. At first, I thought I was hearing things (my mind was really frazzled back in those days) but lo and behold there really was a cat very loudly meowing at my back door.
My first thought was I don’t have time for this nonsense. I don’t like cats. At all. However, the kids I was desperately trying to get ready for school had abandoned their oatmeal to come look at the pretty kitty.
As short fused as I was, I’m sure I was in no mood to entertain a cat let alone try to figure out where it came from. I started shooing it away, and yelling at it to get it back down the steps and off my deck. By now both boys are looking at me like I’m Cruella DeVille and Cam very pointedly says to me “Mommy, that’s mean.”
I take a deep breath and bite my tongue. After all I am trying to teach my kids compassion and the last thing I need is for them to go marching into their Christian pre-school and telling the whole world how I was trying to kill a cat that morning (that would have been Cam’s interpertation).
So… I find a can of salmon in the pantry, put it on a paper plate and stick it outside the back door. By this time the cat is gone or at the very least, I can’t see it. Good riddance, for sure, and I’m just a bit annoyed that I just wasted a perfectly good can of salmon.
When we return home the first thing both kids do is head for the back door. No cat, but the food is gone. Grateful, I’m thinking it has found its way home. We did a good deed (albeit reluctantly) and that is that.
No such luck. Over the next couple of months this cat would increasingly come to my house. It didn’t just come, it lingered.
I finally relented, but only after posting signs throughout the neighborhood.
Okay, we now have an outside cat. No harm in that. The kids are happy. I’m no longer viewed as “Cruella” and it shouldn’t take that much effort on my part.
Well, a few days later I come down the stairs and my darling husband is standing in the kitchen holding the cat….and a litter box! And by the way, he doesn’t like cats either.
One week and one vet bill later, I name the cat Lucky. For some reason I decided it would be a good name so he isn’t stigmatized by his black coloring. The other is to save him from being named after a Ninja Turtle.
By now, you’re probably thinking what does this cat have to do with God and autism?
I have learned through my journey that God answers prayers in the most unexpected ways. It is around this time that my oldest son, still in pre-school prays for his brother to talk. This prayer wasn’t anything we prompted him to do. Cam thought this up all on his own.
Lan would say a few words here and there, but we really had to pull them out of him. However, once the cat was here to stay, Lan became enamored with him and started asking things like, “where’s the cat?” “Can I feed the cat?” “Lucky where are you?” Landon even started telling people he didn’t know about his cat.
I figure this cat must have been desperate for a home because he allowed a three-year old and a four-year old to pretty much drag him around as their real life “stuffed toy.” Lucky never once scratched or bit them. He was actually more social than the two dogs we had. He was also smarter too.
Lucky helped draw Landon out of his shell. Consequently, Lucky worked his way into my heart. As the kids lay on the floor one night watching some Christmas special, I noticed Landon’s pillow wasn’t a pillow at all.
It was the cat!
I started to fuss but then realized Lucky wasn’t trying to get away. He looked up at me with those big yellow eyes as if to say “it’s okay. I don’t mind,” and then he turned away from me and back to the kids. His kids.
He hasn’t been a perfect cat but he’s probably come close.
From Lucky, I have learned the immense value of an afternoon nap and how it’s important to get one when you can. Lucky has shown me how to be flexible, eating the dog’s food when she eats all of his. He has proven that the world won’t come to an end when you sometimes break a few rules.
The world didn’t end when I walked in to find him snoozing on my “good” sofa.
Armageddon didn’t erupt when I woke to find him asleep beside me… in my bed!
Did I mention, I don’t like cats?
I don’t know that I’ll ever consider myself a “cat lover” but I certainly love this one.
I have seen God’s answers to our prayers aren’t always what we expect them to be. Our blessings and miracles often arrive in disguise. I almost closed the door on one of mine. Don’t you make the same mistake and miss out on an answer you’ve been waiting for.
Not all angels have wings. Some have paws, of this I am sure. I look back all these years later and readily admit I didn’t do the cat a favor.
I’m the lucky one!