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Disheveled Theologian: A tale of two cats (and their optimistic family)

It’s almost always difficult for a (previously) only child when a new sibling is introduced into a family. In the world of cats, it’s no different. Allow me to explain with a little vignette…

Characters: Zephyr (aka Big Orange), age 6½, only cat in the family for over a year, and Persephone, age 4 months. Setting: every room in our home. Plot: young upstart kitten upsets the balance for middle-aged cat.

Scene 1: The living room, first introduction.

Persephone enters the house in the arms of teenaged girl. Zephyr stands at door, perplexed.

Persephone: Purr purr purr purr purr. I like you. Purr purr purr.

Zephyr: Who are you and what are you doing here? More importantly, why are you in the arms of my favorite human? In addition, when are you leaving? Grrrr.

Scene 2: Living room, second introduction. Persephone bounds into room, leaps onto couch, upsetting Zephyr’s rest.

Zephyr: Are you still here? More’s the pity. Grrrr. (He leaps down off of couch, stalks to door and looks up at doorknob knowingly.)

Scenes 3-50: very little change.

Scene 51: basement. Two food bowls in view, separated by about five feet. One cat at each bowl. Enter 11-year-old girl.

Girl: Zephyr! Why are you always eating her fo– Hey! Percy, why are you always eating Zeph’s food! (She attempts to move each cat to their proper food bowls. She does not succeed.

Persephone: Oh, is this a game! I like it! Let’s play some more! Oh look, my tail!

Zephyr: I hate all of you. (Stalks to different outside door and looks up at doorknob knowingly.)

Persephone: Well, if you won’t eat your food, I might as well.

Scene 52-76, much like scenes 1-51.

Scene 77: Living room again. Teenager is tempting middle-aged cat with string. Middle-aged cat is responding, though not admitting that he actually likes said activity. Upstart kitten enters room.

Persephone: Oh, boy! I love string games! Can I play, can I play, can I play? Oh, I didn’t expect to be batted on the head by Big Orange, but that’s ok! I like the batting game! Can I bat back? Oh, I didn’t know we were playing the growling game! I like the growling game! Oh, a toy mouse! Oh, my tail!

Zephyr: You’ve got to be kidding me. (Exits room, enters master bedroom, leaps onto bed.) Perhaps if I just breathe very quietly she won’t realize I’m here.

Persephone: Where is Big Orange? Is he here, is he here, is he over here? No — oh, look at this cool phone cord I found! Gosh, I’m tuckered out (climbs into the nearest human’s lap).

Scene 78: At outside door.

Zephyr: (looking up at doorknob knowingly) Please let me escape. Meow. (The door is opened. It is raining outside. He exits. He turns around. He re-enters. Repeat scene 2.)

Scene 79: Zephyr enters from outside. Persephone runs to door to greet him. They touch noses. The 11-year-old girl is thrilled. For three seconds there is detente. Then, repeat scene 51…

And so it goes in our house these days. The ever-optimistic kitten. The curmudgeonly old Tom cat. The ever-hopeful family members. The brief moments of peace. How can I not think of this verse:

“The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them.” Isaiah 11:6 NIV

Maybe someday. One can always hope.

Gretchen O’Donnell is a freelance writer who lives in Worthington with her husband and three children. She has a master’s degree from Bethel Seminary and enjoys writing about the things she sees and applying theological truths to everyday situations. Her column, The Disheveled Theologian, is published weekly. Her email is gcodon@gmail.com.

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