Feb 202015

IMG_0027I had just settled down to eat when I heard the howling.

I put my plate down and walked outside and was hit in the face with the smell of cat urine and a cloud of cat hair no longer attached to a cat.



Miss Kitty was puffed out and angry…her battered opponent was across the street peering out of the culvert he had escaped to.

I recognized it as a stray I’d been trying to entice to eat…it was painfully thin and appeared to be injured as well.

He had evidently decided to take me up on my offer from sheer desperation when he ran into Miss Kitty.

He didn’t have a chance as he was suffering from malnutrition and my cat looks like a Volvo with fur.

When I appeared Miss Kitty shrunk down to normal size and walked up to me as if I approved of her actions.

I petted her and inspected her for wounds in the slight chance the stray had hit a lucky shot…and told her that this was unacceptable behavior.

She often pretends not to understand English, so I demonstrated as well.

If she wouldn’t let the stray come to me, I would go to him myself.

I went in the house. grabbed her dish full of food, and walked across the street.

The stray slipped deeper into the culvert thinking I couldn’t see him, crying for help while hiding from it.

I set the food at the opening of the culvert and bid him softly to come and eat.

In a few minutes his need overcame his fear and he came and ate.

He ate as one who hadn’t had food in too long… voraciously, but interjecting loud, sad, apologies in between gulps.

He suddenly shrunk back…Miss Kitty had run across the street to my side as I sat on the pavement feeding her enemy.

She somehow knew not to attack again…understanding that for some reason her master had accepted the stray and she would not be allowed to strike it again.

I wondered what was going through her mind as she sat next to her owner as he fed a stranger the same food she eats from the same dish.

The lesson appears to have stuck with her.

The stray comes to the door and eats now, though Miss Kitty guards the entrance to the house in silence with an occasional low growl.

I don’t think she has anything to worry about…he comes to see me and to be fed, not hang out with her.

He doesn’t have to come in to do so.

Make your own application…


  18 Responses to “TGIF”

  1. I love you Cat Man….. I love how you see and explain the Gospel and Church Culture via Cat Applications…. I get it. All of Creation testifies to the Glory of God….
    Creation=my favorite church….Cats are some of my fave parishioners.

  2. Paige,

    Much love to you, my friend…it helps me to know that people “get it”.
    Now if we could get people to stop acting like Miss Kitty..

  3. I’m afraid that ‘shoot the wounded’ is a permanent attribute until Jesus returns. Sadly. I’ll stay in my culvert.

  4. You’re such a good cat daddy, Michael.

    It’s hard not to love those little guys which is why I have four and I wouldn’t give up one of them for anyone!

  5. cat parables….. so beautiful….. and Paige re: #3….. I couldn’t agree more……

    thank you for these great illustrations……

  6. Judy, Christi…thank you for reading and for the kind words.
    I’m lucky the cat can’t type or these stories might have a different twist… 🙂

  7. it has been a difficult road attempting to reintegrate into a church over the past months…very troubling to deal with people who are oblivious to their Miss Kitty-like tendencies–being territorial, hyper-wary, prone to double standards, and blind to their behavior, both its presence and its ugliness. I’m on the verge of taking my ball and playing elsewhere. The smugness of some of our ‘family’ members is nauseating. I fully understand the comfort of the ‘culvert.’

  8. filbertz,

    I am going to take a shot at your plight.

    Back in the early 90’s I started to go to a local coffee shop in the mornings.

    I went there every day for breakfast.

    The locals hardly noticed me for awhile, I was just another nameless stranger.

    Then one day a nice gentleman told me that I needed to stop sitting at the tables and begin sitting at the counter if I wanted to get to know the locals.

    So I took his advice and quit sitting at the tables.

    It was night and day.

    All of a sudden people started talking to me at the counter and I quickly found that what I took for ‘smugness and territorial’ issues was not the case at all.

    Most of them were a bit shy and others figured that the locals sit at the counter while others who are nameless just come and go sit at the back tables.

    It took a bit of time before I was one of the locals.

    My point being, give them some time to get to know you, it’s a two way street.

    It is a very basic principle that familiarity breaks down the dividing walls between people over time and soon enough your a ‘local.’

    It is always a sensitive and vulnerable position to be the new ‘odd-man-out.’

    The ‘culvert’ is so safe but has no sustenance or comfort.

    I would encourage you to ignore your seeming rejection, not everyone is smug or territorial.

    There are some Michaels in the midst who will be hospitable and who will be open to you, given time.

    You are not in an impossible situation that the God of the Impossible can’t remedy.

    Be determine to ignore the feelings of rejection and to do the time it will take for others to get to know you.

    Don’t just sit in the back, sit up front where everyone can see you and get used to seeing you.

    This place is much the same.

    I see some come here and no one greets them or comments on their post.

    They eventually fade away.

    ( I leave Michael out of this, because he does show hospitality often. )

    The impression some first get here is that there is a core group of commenters and that they are not open to others joining their ranks.

    Anywhere you find people associating with one another there will be a core group.

    And the only way to get admittance is by serving your time, time that it will take for them to get to know you.

    Your name has been around here for awhile and you would be considered one of the locals here.

    But it took some time.

  9. The parable is, at the same time, sad and beautiful.

    Beautiful that the stray is being fed and finding comfort from the One who loves, but sad that others, who have found that same comfort and sustenance, will not welcome and embrace the wounded outsider.

  10. I had a long non helpful diatribe, please do me a favor, please pray for dear friend of mine, he is really a good guy trying to come to peace with some real pain. Please pray for this fine young man who is his fathers better, I ask that not being my father’s equil. God be with you all.

  11. Michael,
    Being a cat man myself, I love your lessons. How much cats are like ourselves.

  12. Surfer

    After reading your note I couldn’t help but visualize this about the coffee shop.

    I walk in and see the counter almost full. There are men of many ages and sizes, all lined up, sitting on those little round stools bolted to the floor facing towards the kitchen. Behind the counter two servers were engaging each of them in conversation, laughing together showing various facial emotions as they share more than just a fresh cup of joe and a plate of steaming food with their patrons.

    I can’t see the faces of these pillars of the counter. I can’t share in their conversations and requests I see in the faces of the servers. But I can see shining brightly from each man whose back is facing me, as he enjoys his morning ritual, the “crack of dawn” so prominently displayed so many times.

    Maybe I’ll take that table in the corner and quietly read the latest news on my iPad.


  13. When I read this, I thought about what John Fischer wrote in his book “12 Steps For The Recovering Pharisee…Like Me” – the 12 steps are:
    1] We admit that our single most unmitigated pleasure is to judge other people.
    2] Have come to believe that our means of obtaining greatness is to make everyone lower than ourselves in our own mind.
    3] Realize that we detest mercy being given to those who, unlike us, haven’t worked for it and don’t deserve it.
    4] Have decided that we don’t want to get what we deserve after all, and we don’t want anyone else to either.
    5] Will cease all attempts to apply teaching and rebuke to anyone but ourselves.
    6] Are ready to have God remove all these defects of attitude and character.
    7] Embrace the belief that we are, and will always be, experts at sinning.
    8] Are looking closely at the lives of famous men and women of the Bible who turned out to be ordinary sinners like us.
    9] Are seeking through prayer and meditation to make a conscious effort to consider other better than ourselves.
    10] Embrace the state of astonishment as a permanent and glorious reality.
    11] Choose to rid ourselves of any attitude that is not bathed in gratitude.
    12] Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we will try to carry this message to others who think that Christians are better than everyone else

  14. So is John Fischer now the new Pharisee? Don’t live like you used to but NOW live the way I say you should live – have the attitudes I say you should have – because if you don’t, well … you have not recovered from your old Pharisee ways.

    A spiritual pox on him.

  15. John Fischer’s book is an excellent read

  16. MLD, must you?! There’s a difference between stirring the pot and taking a crap on the kitchen floor. Sorry friend, it just gets old after a while.

  17. Captain – no offense taken. Some like it when modern guys come along and write lists of the “new and accepted” behaviors. I for one am not … some folks are.

    That’s why there are 31 flavors of ice cream 😉

  18. Thanks MLD. No spiritual pox on you, then!

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