Thank you to everyone who participated in my foolishness yesterday. Any stragglers are still very welcome to send me a story to post, firstname.lastname@example.org. Here is the story I wrote yesterday, (and edited this morning).
the man who hated cats
Once upon a time, there was a man that hated cats. By and by, he married a girl who loved cats. Everyday he came home from work and she would ask him, “Did you bring me a kitty?” To which he would reply, “No.” Because he hated cats.
Nevertheless, because he loved his wife, he got a kitten for her one day. When he returned home from work, his wife asked him, “Did you bring me a kitty?” At last he could answer, “Yes.” And there was much rejoicing. The man did not rejoice, however. The kitten was a nuisance in his estimation. It hid behind things and pounced on his ankles to bite and scratch him when he walked by. It clawed up his chair. It threw up on the carpet. But the man comforted himself in knowing that his wife was pleased with the furry pest, and he hoped that at least it killed some rodents when it was outside.
One day, the kitten came home from an overnight excursion without one of its feet. There was much distress. If the man had been home, he likely would have shot the animal in order to put it out of its misery. But he was at work, so the kitten was taken to a veterinarian and had its whole back leg amputated. So it goes. The man’s wife made the cat a bed so that it could sleep in the bedroom while it recovered. Late that night, the man awoke to the sound of the kitten howling miserably. His wife slept on, and so he got up to check on the animal. It was asleep, but it was obviously suffering. The man pitied the kitten even though he did not like it. He crouched down and stroked the kitten’s fur. It quieted almost immediately. The man returned to bed, and the terrible howls began again soon after. So, he sat himself down next to the kitten’s bed and stroked its head all night long. Three sleepless nights passed this way, and the kitten began to get better.
It wasn’t long before the kitten was back to normal, although he had one less leg than he began with. It bit the man, tore up his things, and generally did everything it could to make itself unwelcome. Only now, the man couldn’t comfort himself by sending the kitten outside to murder rodents. His wife gave strict orders that the kitten was to remain indoors for the rest of its life. The kitten grew into a cat, and the man and the cat grew into enemies.
Any time a window in the house was opened, the cat would tear holes in the screens. It crouched near the front door so that it could dart outside if the man was not vigilant. He would then be obliged to retrieve the cat, who would lead him for long walks through the underbrush, always staying just out of reach. Sometimes the man would have to crawl under the house in order to fetch the cat. And the cat did many other things to vex the man. Once, when the man returned home from a long journey, he shucked his favorite jacket off onto the floor. The cat immediately rushed over and peed on the jacket. Such was his way. He no longer had the excuse of being, “just a kitty.” He was just a jerk. Many times the man looked at the cat and though, “If my best friend in the world came into my house, destroyed my belongings, scratched my children, and pooped in my closet, as you have done many times, I would violently remove him. And everyone would say I was right to do so. Yet I must tolerate your presence here indefinitely.”
Gradually, however, the cat mellowed out a little. As many villains do as they mature, he became less aggressive, but more devious in his villainy. He would often feign affection for the humans with whom he lived. If he was hungry, he would meow and rub on people’s legs. If he wanted a comfortable place to rest, he would purr and cuddle with someone until they allowed him to sleep on their lap. But all of his affection was purely selfish. The man was not deceived. When the cat tried to crawl onto his lap, he would place it back on the floor and say, “We are not friends, cat. Go away.” When it would rub on his leg and beg noisily for food, he would push it away, saying, “Shut up, cat. Nobody likes you.” Once, his children heard him saying this to the cat, and they protested.
“Don’t say that to the cat,” they said. “He’s our cat, and we like him!”
“Very well,” the man replied. “You can be responsible for feeding him, giving him water, and scooping out that ridiculous box of sand and poop we keep in the laundry room, if you like him so much.”
“We will! We will” they shouted back.
And oftentimes they did. But they also forgot to care for the cat many times, because that is their way. And when the man rose very early in the morning, the cat would be waiting for him. He would trip over it in the kitchen as it rubbed on the same ankles it used to bite. The cat would meow, and meow, and meow until the man would almost shout at it in the dark, quiet house, “SHUT UP!” But the cat would not shut up. And so the man would feed it, and give it water, and then he would squat down and stroke the cat’s fur while it ate, just as he had done many years ago. And so they still live, until this very day.
The moral of the story is this: If a man who hated cats would adopt such a miserable creature, will not God, who loves mankind, adopt such miserable creatures as us? And if a man would care for an animal he hated because of pity, will not God care for us, whom he loves? And if this man continues to feed the cat, whom he would much rather throw as far as possible out the front door, simply because it repeatedly asks, will not God who loves us give us all that we need?