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Scratch the Cat
Photo: Studiomill
No, our four-year-old daughter did not name the new kitten “Scratch” because of his claws. She said, “It’s because he likes to be scratched on the tummy!” So began our fifteen-year friendship with a black and white, short-haired cat that we adopted from an animal shelter.

Scratch adjusted with grace to the bumps and bungles of children carrying him around, dressing him up, and sticking him in a playhouse. He didn’t seem to mind. Through the lives of five children, Scratch was a calm and playful companion. He was always there. He even moved from Oregon to Nebraska and then to Washington—though it was clear he did not like to travel.

A few years ago we noticed Scratch had lost a lot of weight. After changing his diet and talking with the vet, we slowly accepted the fact that he simply was getting very old. He no longer had a playful spunk and clearly did not appreciate another new kitten we introduced into our home. Scratch slept most of the day and night. Eventually, he was so thin and in pain that we reluctantly decided to put Scratch to sleep.

​Sad Mission

Nobody wanted to go with me to the vet when it was time. Finally, my oldest son decided to accompany me on this sad mission. The receptionist was very kind, the vet assistant was very gentle, yet it was still with much grief and heart-ache that we said good-bye to our precious little friend. Even though he was weak and very tired, Scratch still purred when I “scratched” him behind the ears one last time.

I buried Scratch on the back of our property under some pine trees. I was alone as I laid him in his little grave. My tears flowed freely as I touched his soft fur one more time. Some people think our pets will not be in heaven, but it’s hard for me to imagine that a loving Creator who made such animals for our enjoyment, would bar them from our heavenly home which will be filled with creatures made for our pleasure.

Our new kitten, Mishka, has now grown old and a few years ago we introduced another kitten that my son named Louie. I grumble about cat hair now and then, but when I see the delight in my children’s eyes and the affection they give to their pets, I’m glad for these little family members that make our house truly a home.

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By Curtis Rittenour. Copyright © 2013 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

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