The Purr-fect Blessing

For more than seventeen years, our cat,
Fenica, was a great source of companionship
and enjoyment to Jack and me. But after all
those years, she finally succumbed to a fatal
disease after suffering for several months. She
was an important part of our lives. In earlier
years, she was bright and friendly and had the
uncanny ability to endear herself to folks
rather quickly.

A few years ago I wrote about how I found
this abandoned, sick, starving creature and
persuaded Jack to let me feed and nurse her
back to health.

At first Dr. Van Impe would only consent
for Fenica to stay out on the patio…then we let
her into the garage on cold nights. From there
she moved straight into our hearts — and she
was an important member of our family from
that day on.

Over the years, quite a “love affair”
developed between Jack and this soft, furry
creature. Most people envision my husband as
a very serious, scholarly man who thinks of
nothing but Bible study and prayer. And he
does spend many hours daily with his Bible
and study material.

But I wish you could have seen him and
Fenica on the floor, rolling around and playing
their own games. They had a great relationship
— and some pretty silly conversations! I
really don’t know what all they talked about
together, but from Fenica’s expressions and
faithful attentiveness, it seemed obvious that
she understood and appreciated every word
Jack said.

A praying cat?

Of course, it was love at first sight for this
little cat and me. And over the years she was
so much company and a real friend. Often
Fenica joined me as I knelt to pray. As I
poured my heart out to God, I’d feel my little
kitty snuggling up beside me.

During the dark days a few years back
when the ministry was struggling with great
financial difficulties and the stress seemed
almost overwhelming, I was able to survive
only by laying my burdens at the feet of the
Lord. In those prayer times, when words
failed me and tears coursed down my cheeks,
how comforting it was to hear a gentle purr
and to be suddenly — thrillingly — aware that I
was not alone…that God’s presence was all
around me!

Jack and I started out to help and care for a
neglected and needy animal. But in exchange
for some medical attention and a little food,
Fenica became a great source of joy and blessing
to us. Only now — after she is gone — are
we beginning to understand why the Lord sent
this little creature into our lives.

Pets are good for your health

Scientists have begun to find proof of what
they only suspected before — that contact with
animals has specific effects on the human
body and mind. Health officials have verified
that pets have definite therapeutic value in
people’s regular daily lives, and also for
people in institutions. Hospitals, nursing homes,
and penal institutions have discovered the
positive impact animals can have on handicapped
or socially maladjusted individuals. Some of
them regularly bring animals into therapy
sessions for patients and inmates, and puppies
and kittens often get responses from people no
one else had been able to reach.

As early as 1790, a Quaker group in
England discovered the value of taking mentally
handicapped people on group retreats and
encouraging them to roam the grounds and
spend time with farm animals. This therapy
seemed to get tremendous results compared
with the limited institutional treatment
available at that time.

Organizations like the Latham Foundation
of Alameda, California, and the Delta Society
of Renton, Washington, promote interest in
human-animal bonding and study the role
animals play in human development.

Studies have shown that encouraging
abused children to be responsible for caring
for animals — especially disabled or injured
creatures — provides a real psychological
boost. Perhaps just seeing how another
helpless, hurting creature can overcome the odds
and survive gives them hope.

But the benefit of association with animals
is not just psychological. Studies show that
the heart rate is lower when people are in the
presence of a friendly animal. And elderly
people with pets make fewer visits to the
doctor. Perhaps we are discovering a new form of
low cost preventive health care.

Of course, it’s really not new at all. I
believe it is highly significant that in the
beginning, God first gave Adam the animals and
birds to keep him from being lonely. Genesis
2:18,19 says, And the Lord God said, It is not
good that the man should be alone; I will
make him an help meet for him. And out of
the ground the Lord God formed every beast
of the field, and every fowl of the air; and
brought them unto Adam to see what he would
call them.

I believe that in most cases, animals want
to be the friends of man, not enemies. Most
animals become hostile or vicious only out of
fear or as a result of being abused by man.

Animals have great value

How important are animals to us? We’ve
already seen that God provided them to Adam
even before He gave him Eve. That’s pretty
important! And later on, when the wickedness
of man became intolerable to God in Noah’s
day, not only did the Lord devise a plan to
save representatives of the family of man from
the destruction of the flood, He also arranged
to save at least one pair of every species of

God regards His creatures as beautiful and
valuable. And so should we. There are many
ways they can be of service to us…and there is
much we can learn from them.

Wisdom from a pet

I remember a cold winter’s day when I
walked into our bedroom to look for a book
I’d left there. It was freezing cold outside,
with snow on the ground, but the rays of the
sun were streaming through the window.

Fenica was stretched out in a chair by the
window, soaking up the warmth of the sun.
When she heard me come in, she stretched her
head back and looked at me upside down…but
didn’t move. It was almost as if she were
saying, “I don’t have a worry in the world — I
have you to keep me safe and warm.”

I found my book and went back
downstairs, but I found myself thinking how
wonderful it would be if I could learn to trust and
rest in the Lord’s love the way our cat confidently
and comfortably depended on Jack and me.

As Jesus said in His Sermon on the Mount,
If ye then, being evil, know how to give good
gifts unto your children
[or pets], how much
more shall your Father which is in heaven
give good things to them that ask him?

(Matthew 7:11).

So perhaps we all could take some lessons
in living from precious pets like Fenica.

  • She trusted me and knew I loved her
    and would not hurt her or allow her to
    be injured — and I can trust God (see
    John 3:16; 1 John 3:16; Galatians 2:20;
    Ephesians 2:4,5).
  • My cat relied on me to direct her and
    not let danger fall in her path — and I
    can rely on God (see Proverbs 3:5,6).
  • Fenica knew I cared for her and that I
    would take care of her, so she was not
    burdened down with concern. I can
    cast my care on the Lord, for He cares
    for me (see 1 Peter 5:7).
  • No matter what she needed, Fenica
    turned to me as her source of supply.
    And I can have that same relationship
    with my heavenly Father, who supplies
    all [my] need according to his riches
    in glory by Christ Jesus
    (Philippians 4:19).

And finally, Fenica loved to be with Jack
and me. Wherever we were in the house, she
tried to be near us. Often, even when I walked
through the house, she would go along with
me. She didn’t need anything — she wasn’t
asking for anything…she just wanted to be
near me and have fellowship with me. And
that was so very special to me.

How much more must our heavenly Father
enjoy having us want to spend time in His
presence and have fellowship with Him?
There’s a wonderful inspirational song that
says, “I’ll walk with God.” It speaks of
having God beside us to lead and guide us.

What a thrill to be able to have personal
fellowship with our Creator, who is also our
Friend. Nothing in life can ever defeat us
when we walk with Him.

It really is…The Perfect Blessing.