The following is an abridged version of story I wrote about our cat “Lucky.” His full impact on us and our journey along the spectrum can’t fully be put into words. Lucky prompted Lan to initiate conversation. Lucky also taught him responsibility. I strongly recommend parents of any special needs children to consider a pet. Their contribution is often priceless.
One Lucky Cat!
I don’t like cats.
To my dismay, the children I was desperately trying to get ready for school abandoned their oatmeal to see the pretty kitty.
Annoyed, I began shooing it away with a broom, and trying to coax it off my deck. I glanced beyond the cat only to find both boys staring at me like I’m Cruella Deville.
I take a deep breath and bite my tongue. At this point in my life I’m mentally fried. Two kids under the age of four, a husband who travels all week and I’m running late for my new full-time job!
I grudgingly decide I can teach my kids a lesson in compassion. Besides, the last thing I need is for Cam to go marching into school and telling everyone I tried to kill a cat. From previous experience, I’m confident that would have been his translation of the morning’s events!
So… I grab a can of salmon and stick it outside the door. By this time it seems that the cat is gone. I’m grateful, yet annoyed I just wasted a can of salmon.
When we return that afternoon, the first thing both kids do is run toward the back door. No cat, but the food is gone. I’m thinking the cat has found its way home.
No such luck.
Over the next couple of months this cat increasingly comes to my house. It doesn’t just come, it lingers.
Reluctantly, I finally concede. How much trouble can one outdoor cat be?
I never get to find out.
I come downstairs one morning to find my husband standing in the kitchen holding the cat….and a litter box!
By the way, he doesn’t like cats either.
One huge vet bill later, I name the cat Lucky. It’s a bit of a stretch for a black cat, but it saves him from being named after a Ninja Turtle.
By now, you’re probably thinking what does this cat have to do with God, autism and me?
I learned God sometimes answers prayers in the most unexpected ways. It is around this time that my four year has prayed for his brother Lan to talk.
Lan would occasionally say a word here and there. Yet, once Lucky entrenched himself into our home, Lan became more talkative.
“Where’s the cat?” “Can I feed the cat?” “Lucky where are you?”
Lucky helped draw Landon out of his shell.
He hasn’t been a perfect cat but he’s come close.
As the kids watched television, I was horrified one day to find 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.” He then he turned away from me and back to the kids.
Lucky worked his way into my heart.
The world didn’t end when I found him snoozing on my “good” sofa. Or, 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.
God’s answers to our prayers aren’t always how we expect them. Blessings and miracles often arrive in disguise.
I almost chased away one of mine.
Not all angels have wings. Some have paws, of this I am sure.
Lan is now a teenager and talks up a storm.
I look back on it now and realize we didn’t do the cat a favor at all.
We were the lucky ones!
**Rest in Peace “Lucky” Raphael, you loved us well!
A merry heart does good, like medicine, But a broken spirit dries the bones. Proverbs 17:22 NKJV