OK, so that wasn't really what I've been learning.
I've been learning that even when we are ugly and behaving badly that God still loves us and Jesus still died for us. Whether or not we "deserve" His love, we get it. He tends to us when we feel like nobody cares and maybe even nobody has reason to.
And I've learned all this from a kitty cat.
When we brought the kitten in to our home after my neighbor Sarah and I rescued her from the fence, I figured we were just a temporary holding tank. I thought Sarah would take her to the vet and then take her home to care for her. But Sarah had to work that afternoon and I ended up taking the cat to the vet.
The doctor said there were no broken bones and that she may or may not regain use of her arm. The veterinary bill was $150, which my sincere, animal-loving neighbor had given me before she left for work. No prob. I would give the kitty the medicine and she would learn to walk without her leg until the feeling maybe came back. At that point, there was still a little bit of hope for the limb. The kitty let us give her the medicine, so it seemed like things might be easy.
Until the smell. The wound had become infected but there was still circulation to the limb, so there was hope that she would regain use of it. The bill was $60 including the office visit, treatment, and meds for the infection. Upon going back today, however, more cells had died and there is no choice but to amputate the limb or euthanize the cat.
Yes it would be cheaper to euthanize the cat. I know it is an animal and not a human. But at what point is an animal no longer worth saving? No, this is not a beloved house pet, but it is one of God's creatures who needs help. I would not have taken this on by choice, but it has kind of fallen in my lap. Now it's not such an easy decision.
We've had this cat for a week and have been through a lot together. I know, "IT'S A CAT!" but it is still a living creature. I believe she will be adoptable, and I have been promised some assistance with the vet bill. Yes I will likely end up taking care of the cat after this procedure, but I'm willing to do it. She is used to me and she trusts me. And yes then we will try to find a home for her.
I have also learned that different causes speak to different people. Someone asked me today why I was going through so much effort to raise money to save this three-legged cat. Shouldn't I be more concerned with raising that money for medical care in Haiti? Or to help feed hungry children in Texas?
Of course I am concerned with those things. And at other times in my life I will absolutely give to similar causes as these. But right now I have a sweet kitty in my bathroom who I think has a great chance at being adopted and having a good life. There are plenty of happy, three-legged pets out there. In fact, more than one person has told me that pets with disabilities are often more quickly adopted than healthy animals. I am sick about what has happened in Haiti. I have several friends who have children, family, and friends in Haiti and are very worried about their lives and safety. It's terrible, and I am praying for those families.
If Gracie the cat, and yes, I named her, did not seem appropriate for adoption I don't think the best solution would be to have her leg amputated and let her back into the wild. Originally the goal was to get this feral cat back to her colony. In that case the most humane thing would be to euthanize. But now she's tame. She purrs. She's beautiful. In my heart of hearts I think she is adoptable and will bring someone a lot of joy.
I am not an animal rights activist. I'm not a vegetarian and I don't believe that plants have feelings. But I do believe that God created animals and He cares about His creation. I do have a very specific kitty to help. I'm not going to go out and roam the streets searching for kittens to take in, and I'm not going to stop giving to other charities because right now our money and the money of some other cat lovers are going toward saving the life of a previously feral kitty.
When I had a miscarriage years ago I began giving to the March of Dimes. Then that memory and resulting passion faded and I stopped donating there. I donate to the Special Olympics and other similar organizations because I am a music therapist and work with people who have those concerns. When there was cancer in my family I donated to the American Cancer Society. Right now I have an animal that needs help, so I am giving money to help her. Who knows to which organizations other circumstances might lead us in the future.
This post has changed directions. It was originally about what I believe that God is teaching me through this "feral cat ministry." Now it is me processing my beliefs regarding charitable donations. If you don't want to contribute to my ministry because there are other areas of ministry that you feel more passionately about, then give there. That's awesome! Keep me informed of other ministries and areas of need in the future. In the meantime, where's Bob Barker when I need him?