My mother lived in a rural area with a creek running through the back yard and forest (woods as the old folks’ called it) beyond the the creek. Somehow wild cats seemed to find their way to her back door for a handout, which she was generous enough to give them. Whenever she could tame one, she’d catch it and take it in to be neutered or spayed and become a house pet. She took good care of them and there were never more than five she allowed inside. At night racoons would come traipsing in for a handout, too. They’d knock on the door and she’d go outside with “day-old” bread and toss handfuls into the yard. We’d gather at the windows to watch the critters wash their hands and eat the bread. My kids grew up watching this and many of my grandchildren remember as well.
My husband loves cats. We have always had one or two inside cats as pets. We take them to the vet regularly, brush them and even buy special food for them because one of our neutered males has a cystitis problem. We always had a houseful of kids, but when they moved out and began lives of their own, the cats became like a second family of kids. They give us comfort and provide a lot of laughs. We do NOT allow them to go outdoors. The closest they get is onto our screened in deck.
But like my mom, the cats who are abandoned by uncaring families find their way to our home. We feed them, provide a shelter for them during the harsh winter months, and capture to neuter, spay and innoculate for rabies. Over the past few years, we have captured and released 18 cats and found a home for one. The oldest ones trust us and even beg to be touched…touched but not picked up. Also, we do not move quickly or speak harshly for they will scamper away. We spend a lot of money on cat food, even though we live off our Social Security benefits. These animals depend on us for their livelihood. They hang out in our yard, lying in the gardens where they feel protected. Occasionally a new cat will find its way to our place. We try chasing them away, but it’s clear to see they come where they feel safe and where the “little homeless ones” will find a handout.
And racoons! Yep, we have those, too, but I don’t feed them. In fact, we remove all the food before dark to discourage the racoons and possums from hanging around. There’s one particularly large and ugly possum who visits at night. He gives me the shudders. My husband is afraid of possums. He says they are huge oversized rats. I wouldn’t harm these animals, but I’m not going to feed them either. They CAN fend for themselves.
No, friends, we do not live out in the country or “hollow” like my mom. We live in the middle of a close subdivision. Unfortunately over the years, people who have raised their kids have moved on. Some of the homes have had multiple owners, some are rented out…and with each abandoned home comes the threat of more abandoned cats. Easier to just move on and forget about them, I guess. The poor, suffering, hungry pets eventually find their way to a place where the owners have a kind heart and a handout.
Saturday was tough on my goal to take off the remaining weight. I did fantastic during the day, but at night, when I couldn’t sleep, I sat on the sofa reading…and eating. I didn’t even think twice about stuffing more food into my mouth. When I woke up on Sunday morning, I was angry with myself. Seems I take two steps forward and three steps back sometimes. It’s those times when I’m not paying attention that Satan entices me. Instead of turning to prayer for strength, I turned to food. Food is my false idol. Realizing and admitting it is the first step, but continued prayer is needed to keep my eyes turned in the right direction.
Sunday was great. I stayed on track and whenever I was tempted, I ordered Satan away. I am stronger with God, strong enough to turn away from the call of the false idol. Another day of success. Today I am back in the battle.