Say hello to Sugar. She came to us from a friend who had two high energy dogs—Sugar wasn’t sweet on those boys. The only solution our friend had at the time was to isolate her from the dogs, hard to do, but she could not be around them without high anxiety. After much worry over the quality of life for Sugar, our friend posted a picture on Facebook to find a one pet home. It was a long shot but Sugar needed a change, a new life.
After losing two elder pets last year, a new one was not what I was looking for.
“Two years,” I said, “at least, before we become pet parents again.”
Greg and I sat on the front porch the weekend before our friend’s Facebook post and talked about what kind of pet we would get next.
“Maybe an adoptee, a cat, not a dog,” I clarified.
“One that needs a home, possibly older, neutered or spayed, preferably declawed,” Greg added to the list.
“Only one next time.” I ended satisfied we had spoken our list out loud in agreement.
Then I saw her picture—the green-eyed, tailless ginger cat. Another criterion popped in—she had to be friendly and affectionate. I contacted our friend and set up a meeting.
“I will know as soon as we meet her,” I assured Greg. “If she shows affection first thing, that will be the sign.” I had an open mind and little expectation. My grief over Marvin, our 18-year-old tabby, and Sandy, our 15-year-old Poodle still lingered and bit me when I least expected it. A new pet would not relieve it, but I would make room in my heart if she was the right one.
Sugar walked up and as I bent over to pet her, she gave me kisses, licking my hand and rubbing her cheeks as if I was a lost friend who had returned—it was a celebration. But it wasn’t just me, she also greeted Greg and Christian, our six-year-old grandson. She had toys and liked to play with fuzzy mice, which would excite any boy. It was a done deal.
A few weeks later, with tears of sadness and joy in her eyes, our friend and her son brought Sugar over. Along with her toys and food, Sugar came with medical records and photos of when she was a little kitten. It was a true adoption of a cat – an eight-year-old, spayed, declawed, sweet cat who needed a one pet home. We met her criteria as much as she met ours.
After spending the first day hiding under the bed, Sugar ventured out to explore—probably to see where or if there were any dogs lingering about. As she soon discovered, the house was all hers. The first week came and she walked floor to floor, baseboard to baseboard rubbing her cheeks to mark her new kingdom—ensuring it was her space.
Although she had been outside little in her life, showing no interest in her former home, the second week we opened the front door to see what would happened. Tentatively, she poked her head out, in, and out further. Gingerly, her paw landed on the front porch and she walked a few steps. I propped the door open so she would have an escape route if some noise or movement spooked her—and it did. But she ventured out again and again, widening her experience on the front porch, down the steps, and into the ivy. After several attempts, she bravely explored the back deck, under it, and around the side of the house. Now, she meows to go out to her newfound kingdom.
One thing must remain constant—the door must be open enough to comfort her. An open door allows her to explore her domain and not feel isolated or insecure. A shut door makes her panic. Oh yes, we have flies in the house now, and I hope she will find a closed door is not permanent—it is temporary and will always be open when she needs it. It’s a work in progress.
I think about her narrow door opening and how it comforts her and she has a way to seek safety. Jesus does this for me—keeps a door open when I am anxious and closed off. He props open the door to safety, comfort, His Kingdom and offers me peace and sanctuary. Even when I believe there is a shut door and I don’t feel His presence, I am wrong—He is always there—ready to open it, ready to let me reenter and dwell with Him. Jesus said the door is narrow—like the propped open back door with enough room for Sugar to enter the kitchen. And if I think it shut, I knock and He will always open it. I aim for that opening, that narrow way, and seek His comfort. It gives me peace.
“For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to.” Luke 11:10, 13:24 NIV