{the neutering}

On a dewy autumn morning, I stuck my ginger-colored kitten into one of those plastic cat carriers that is way too expensive for being plastic, and a cat carrier, and I seat-belted him, carrier and all, into the passenger seat of the car. At least it wouldn’t go flying, if…

The engine had barely rumbled to life when he started crying, and crying, and crying. Not just a pitiful mew, here and there, but full, guttural wails – the kind of noises cats only make when put in baths or hanging out in windows in heat. And he didn’t just sit in the carrier and cry.

He grabbed the grated metal door and shoved his nose against it so hard I was afraid he would hurt himself. He scratched and clawed and pulled and pushed until my whole passenger seat looked like the aftermath of a pillow-fight – dusted with a fine layer of feathery cat fuzz.

It was awful.

I’m a little obsessive with my love for this kitten. He was barely two and half weeks when we rescued him, and I fed him from a bottle and cuddled him and wrapped him in blankets and called him my baby. He’s the object of all the motherhood that’s starting to bloom in the bottom of my chest, the outward sign of the proverbial ticking clock.

I drove forty-five minutes to the animal clinic, and not one of those were silent minutes. If I continuously repeated “it’s ok, it’s ok, it’s ok” without stopping, he would quiet from wailing to soft whimpering. So I spend forty-five minutes crooning “it’s ok,” covered in cat fuzz and dander.

When we got to the clinic, I didn’t even have time to look at him. I signed him in and they took him to the back. I paid, scrawled my signature – and left him.

And the second I was out that door, I started crying.

He’s just a cat, but he’s my cat. And I knew he was terrified and confused. I knew he didn’t understand why I was leaving him, why I would put him in a car, or let strangers anesthetize him, or why he would stay overnight in a strange place. I knew that in his little cat brain, all he would understand was that he was afraid, and that everything was foreign.

And my (perhaps strangely-placed) mother-heart ached for him. If only there was some way I could tell him that really, it was ok. That he might be scared, and he might be in pain, but that this surgery is a good and necessary thing for him. Mostly I wished there was a way to tell him that I would never leave him, because I loved him, that no matter how scared he got, he would always have a place with me.

The ride back home was quiet. And significantly less hairy. The sun was gleaming golden through turning leaves – all that glory of burning bushes. And in the silence of the ride home, I felt somehow connected to God’s father-heart.

How often are we scared and lonely and feel forgotten, and God is aching for us to realize that he loves us, that he will never, ever abandon us, that we will always be his? How many nights do we spend in the foreign alone, and God is just willing us to understand that he’s right there.

In those forty-five minutes of silence home, I felt all the warmth and security of a father-love that far surpasses my mother-love, and I felt all the ache of a God who wants to be seen and felt and understood and who will never, ever leave us.

So. You feel alone? You feel forgotten? Or abandoned? God is right there, just aching for you to realize that he’s got you. He’s just sitting there, right next to you, whispering “it’s ok, it’s ok, it’s ok.” He loves you; he will never leave you.

It’s ok.

copyright Jenni Cannariato 2014
copyright Jenni Cannariato 2014

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