Faith Stories: Communion with a Cat
In the summer of 2016, it began to rain in south Louisiana. We are a land of swamps and streams, a place all too familiar with tides and floods. 2016 was a disaster of Noahic proportions, but no one had built an ark. An unnamed weather system sucked water from the Gulf of Mexico and spewed it continuously across an unsuspecting flat landscape. Waters accumulated and sought outlets, then backed into neighborhoods and made streams out of roadbeds. There was flooding where even high water had been unseen for a hundred years.
One of my wife Susie’s friends, fleeing the surging waters, was loading souvenirs and necessities of life into her van, attempting to escape the waters already in view in adjoining fields. A feral cat, resident of the neighboring forest and moocher of local human delicacies, watched the loading process but refused to get aboard our friend’s version of the ark. Flood waters were now on the driveway; the van/ark had to go, reluctantly leaving the cat.
When the van arrived at its temporarily high ground and its owners were unloading its cargo, a litter of kittens was discovered, apparently brought into the van by a mother that recognized impending danger and sent her young to safety while choosing familiar surroundings for herself.
We adopted one of those kittens about two weeks later. We named her “Sister,” a companion to our 4-year-old dog, “Gabby.” Sister’s food dish was placed on the laundry room floor, near Gabby’s dish in the kitchen.
In the summer 2017, a small tan dog followed Gabby and Susie home from a walk one day. Thinking the little dog’s owners would show up soon, we started calling the new resident “Little Boy.” Little Boy apparently liked his new bed, regular meals, dog and cat companions, and Susie’s lap; but his owners never showed up. He is still with us and shows no sign of leaving.
Little Boy likes cat food, so Sister’s food bowl was relocated to the top of the clothes dryer in the laundry room. To be sure she found her food in its new location, I picked her up and placed her on the dryer the first few times. Thus began our new routine.
Sister spends most of every day outside, coming inside three or four times for food or a nap. She will sit near the back door or rub against my ankles, meowing softly until I let her into the house. She will then lead me or walk beside me to the dryer and wait for me to pick her up and place her on the dryer near her food.
I began to think of this as “Communion.” Sister can easily jump to the top of the dryer, but she quietly requests that I help her and that I include a treat. I usually talk to her, calling her my “pretty kitty.” She seems to like that.
“Do this in remembrance of Me,” said Christ. We come together, asking Christ and our fellow worshipers to join us. We even ask God for a treat-the presence of Holy Spirit. We ask Him to lift us to a higher plane, praying quietly in His Presence. Communion, either with a cat or fellow Christians, is about remembering how He saved us from certain disaster and lifted us to a higher plane, fed us with His manna, delivered us from the floods of this world’s evil and brought us Home to a secure place.