My mother and I have a theory that we are cat whisperers. We have had some extraordinary experiences with cats. All of our house pets seemed to single us out in some way. Our very first cat, Mitzi, followed my mother and waited outside a hotel while my mother made a phone call and then proceeded to follow her all the way back home. Our next two cats, Schatzie and Gypsy clung to us and refused to let go when we visited the animal shelter. As for me, my cat Abby did a similar maneuver. She raced toward me from a carpeted shelf, stepped over all of the other cats to get to me, and held fast to my sweater. My current cat, Cookie, wraps her paws around my neck in a hug every time I pick her up and burrows herself under my chin. And it’s not just domestic cats. We seem to attract the bigger cats as well. One day while at the zoo, my sweet nephew was disappointed because the tiger wouldn’t come out. My mother said, “Okay. Come out tiger.” And he did. Before you dismiss this and think it all coincidence, the same thing happened when she visited Mike the Tiger at the LSU campus. Another time while she was visiting another zoo, a tiger made a beeline for my mother and pounced into the glass. I was on an anniversary trip with my husband and we visited the Albuquerque Zoo. They had a panther there. He paced back and forth within the space that I occupied and purred loudly.
What is it about my mother and I that give these cats such faith in us? It’s a stretch to think cats and I share some kind of spiritual connection, I know. I further acknowledge that the obvious answer is that a big cat’s desire is to be free and not held captive. And obviously a shelter animal will show affection if there is a possibility of escape. Behaviors of cats big or small still remain a mystery, but I couldn’t help but feel that these instances have underlying lessons, so I looked to scripture:
“In that day the wolf and the lamb will live together, the leopard will lie down with the baby goat. The calf and the yearling will be safe with the lion, and a little child will lead them all.” Isaiah 11:6
I got so excited when I read this verse. I had a picture in my mind of my little daughter leading a parade of every wild cat imaginable. She is leading them with that perfect 6-year old strut. She looks back, smiles, and a leopard will rub against her hand. This made me a little envious of Adam and Eve, because I like to think that in paradise they were able to give belly rubs to the majestic lions and were able to run and play with the cheetahs. I’m certainly not ignorant enough to say that these animals aren’t predatory and wouldn’t attack us if provoked. Surely the gazelle fears the lion and the rabbits fear the fox, but what if somewhere deep down, they are desiring a connection so much, that they no longer want to be captivated by this world and long to live with us in peace?
When I look at my sleeping cats, it dawned on me that they do not sleep the same way we do. They certainly get WAY more sleep, (if only *sigh*). They don’t toss and turn and they aren’t bogged down by day-to-day stress. What does a cat’s dream look like? When I watch my cats sleep, I see a peaceful, secure animal. When they nap in my lap, I believe that is their safe space. I am their comfort. Every once in awhile they make me laugh with occasional whisker twitches or lighthearted exhales. We can use this image as a picture of what happens when we go to our heavenly Father for His embrace and His love. We are safe, we are joyful, we are at peace.
I am as a wonder unto many; but thou art my strong refuge.
Psalms 71:7 KJV
I find myself wondering if cats, or any animal for that matter, have more faith than we do. Are they aware of their divine creator? Are they anticipating life with us in paradise as well. I know it is a debatable topic, since some believe animals go to heaven and some don’t, but it makes me smile to think about how cats can be so complacent and that they always land on their feet, so to speak.
Here the rocks contain precious lapis lazuli, and the dust contains gold. These are treasures no bird of prey can see, no falcon’s eye observe. No wild animal has walked upon these treasures; no lion has ever set his paw there. Wisdom is more valuable than gold and crystal. It cannot be purchased with jewels mounted in fine gold.” Job 28:6-8
Animals do not desire the treasures of this world. Our world and their world stand very different. Animals are completely unaware of precious treasures beneath the earth. The most extravagant thing my cats want is wet food every day and a warm nook behind my head every night. Is it possible that animals have the wisdom that humans crave?
“I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.
John 14:27 NLT
It is a popular spiritual metaphor to awaken “the lion” within us. This symbol of courage has been used by C.S. Lewis and J.K. Rowling to name a few authors. Why is it so popular? It goes back to what the scriptures tell us of our Heavenly father. King of the Jungle? King of Kings! The Word established this symbol.
“And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.”
“Judah, my son, is a young lion…like a lioness—who dares to rouse him?” Genesis 49:9
In her book “Lioness Arising” Lisa Bevere calls for female Christians to release their inner lioness. “I have come to see the lioness as a picture of how every daughter of the Most High can embrace her strength, develop courage, and effect change in her world…something fierce, beautiful, and wild will be awakened in you.” (pp. 11) Do the domestic cats still possess an inner lion as well? Take a cue from cats and lionesses, my sisters: Have rest in the lap of Jesus Christ and hold fast to Him for He will set you free from the captivity of sin. Be content, be brave, raise your kittens to be strong, and keep moving towards your reward that God has promised you.
Bevere, Lisa Lioness Arising 2010, Waterbrook Press