Lessons from Kit Kat

Mary was the first to notice the little cat on our porch one afternoon some years ago when we lived in South Carolina.

“Mom, that cat keeps coming around. Look how skinny she is!”

The cat looked fairly young, but was skin and bones. She came onto our porch and stood by the door, meowing loudly. Will got a saucer of milk and the kids watched her lap it up hungrily. Although you are not supposed to feed strays, we couldn’t help but care about the hungry creature.

At the kids’ request, Tom put a box in the garage and after dark each evening, the cat would jump up on our porch, then head into the garage and into the cardboard bed. The kids put a blanket in there, and the pitiful little thing would curl up and sleep until we let her out the next morning. Before long, I found myself buying cat food at the grocery store. I felt a little sheepish about it, but she was so small and hungry looking…

Tom said we needed to take her to the vet and get her checked out and spayed, so we made an appointment. The little cat, by now good friends with Mary, let her pick her up one morning, and on the way to school, we stopped by the vet’s to drop the cat off. All the way there, the cat tucked her head under Mary’s arm. She was shaking from fear, but Mary cuddled her close.

Later that afternoon, I got a call from the vet”s assistant. The cat was suffering from feline leukemia, and they would have to put her down. Sudden tears sprang into my eyes. We had tried to help the cat, but we’d taken her to her doom, I thought. I could still see her in the back seat her head under Mary’s arm. But she was suffering. It was for the best. Will and Mary would be crushed, I knew, and I didn’t look forward to telling them.

“It seems like such a waste,” Will said sadly that afternoon when I broke the news. “We even got her those cat toys and things.”

Mary was equally sad, so I reminded her of what a comfort she had been to the cat in the car. It was probably the only love that cat had ever felt.  We all shed a few tears. Later on, I got to thinking about what William had said and shared my thoughts with the children.

I told them that love is never wasted. Whenever we show kindness or compassion, we not only help someone, it also does something in our own hearts. We get outside of ourselves and stop thinking about what’s best for us while considering how best to help another.

“That’s where real joy in life begins,” I said.  “Just as God reached out to us in our helplessness in the gift of His Son, we follow that example by loving others, and yes, even a small, hungry cat.”

Sometimes we love and love and as Will put it, it seems like such a waste. Sometimes our sacrifice and investment in others seems like a complete loss.

Loving others is never a complete loss, however. If nothing else, it changes us, and it reminds us of that enduring love that God has for us. Even when His own Son was crucified by those He came to save, God’s love did not end. Instead He offers forgiveness of sins and eternal life for those who repent and turn to Him.

“…but God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” ~ Romans 5:8

“This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” ~ I John 4:10

We can love others, because God first loved us. We can show compassion, because of the stamp of His image in us. Because of His love, we can even love a forlorn little creature like the one that showed up on our porch. The children named her Kit Kat, and God used her as a perfect illustration of what love is in our lives. Her short cat life was not in vain.

8 thoughts on “Lessons from Kit Kat

  1. Cheryl says:

    Oh, that is such a touching story. What a loving mother you are to use this moment of grief and sadness to bring His comfort, His wisdom to your children…and to us, your readers.
    Thank you for sharing!

  2. Bobby says:

    Active Color Matrix and her brother (along with their “father”) came to our yard 15 years ago — and similar things happened in that we fed them and they started to love. Soon after the dad was mauled to death because of an inept vet. The brother ran off a few years later trying to find love. But Miss Active, now 15, has shown how much she is loved after all these years.

    Recently after doing the March for Life, we renewed our covenant: “Lady” Active will not be put down for any reason. I promised her that she will live until God calls her home. She purred and humbly understood the agreement.

  3. Wilma Young says:

    What a touching story and a wonderful opportunity to teach what love is all about! It reminded me of our experience two summers ago. A hungry, thin cat came up on our front porch. My pity for it brought milk and bought food and toys, too. My husband and I enjoyed her for the summer. When I checked into the vet’s charges for all things that matter, we felt we could not afford that. After all, she had to be a house cat. Our sad decision was to take her to the animal rescue place. We can only hope they found a good home for her. The last thing we did for her was to allow her on the bed upon which she curled up lovingly like cats do. We named her Kitty Kat.

  4. Jimetta says:

    Thank you so much for your story; it “happened” along at just the right time. It seems that so many people I know are hurting right now and it leaves me feeling helpless. It is good to be reminded that every act of kindness and expression of love to others is not wasted and that we can love because the Father first loved us.

  5. Lisa K says:

    This sad story reminded me of our precious cat who passed away in 2004 at the age of 20 1/2.
    He was a stray that my sister found as a young kitten in 1984. She was living in a place that didn’t allow animals so I reluctantly took in Beau. Well, there was never a more loved animal! You would think with his early life of danger, he would be hostile to humans, but he was so affectionate, my older son once said “all he does is love us!”
    We were very lucky Beau did not have feline leukemia. The poor animals that live on the streets are subject to terrible diseases and short, harsh and brutal lives. At least Kit Kat had her final days filled with love.

  6. Christina says:

    What a great illustration! I have a family member right now who is always grumbling and never thankful. I find myself doing many favors and generous gifts and meals for this person but no thank you in return.
    I said to Andy how exhausting it is to never even get a thank you but he reminded me exactly what you just said!

    About Kit Kat….sorry to hear about her. I am an animal lover myself and always found myself bringing home strays when I was a little girl. We now have 2 cats who are rescues and once we get settled in our home we might add a rescue puppy! OH BOY…that will be insteresting…..

  7. Ellen says:

    Thank you Ingrid. Your writing is thoughtful. There are a lot of us who are blessed by your life and your blog.

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