boy holding cat
Boy smiling holding pet cat
There is no safe investment. To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even an animal.

C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves

Milky was just a pet, and a garage cat at that. But there’s no good way to lose a good pet.

Over the last five years, Milky snuck into my heart. He even made it into my bio: “Abigail lives in a little house in the big woods of Wisconsin with her husband, two teen-aged sons, and a garage cat named Milky now down to five Iives.” I even wrote about Milky’s lost first life.

Little did I know that our friendly feline only came with four.

Missing Milky

In his hand is the life of every living thing and the breath of all mankind.

Job 12:10 (ESV)

I miss Milky rubbing on my legs and sleeping in my lap, I miss watching the boys snuggle with him, and I miss watching my strong husband—the “he’s-an-outdoor-cat” man—caressing Milky’s furry jowls. Milky was easy to love.

I miss seeing him stretching on the blankets atop the old convertible in in the garage. Milky was King of the Cougar.

And I miss how we’d converse. Milky was never, ever sullen, and always answered when I spoke. Milky was affable.

I even miss him clawing his way up the dining room screen as we ate dinner. Milky was master of dinner-time convo.

But mostly, I miss Milky’s welcoming, laid-back ways. He had deadly speed for rodents, but he was never in a hurry. Milky was the master of relax and the king of chill. “This guy lowers our blood pressure,” I’d say. Milky set people at ease. I’d be racing around Martha-like and Milky would strut out with wave of his tail and a friendly yowl. Milky was a better greeter than me.

He was a dog, a golden, among cats. Milky was a gem of a pet.

God’s Goodness in Your Pet

You are good and do good; teach me your statutes.

Psalm 119:68 (ESV)

I see God’s goodness in giving us Milky, and I see God’s goodness in the way he took Milky. Because God knows how much it hurts me to see his creatures suffer.

Two summers ago Milky lost his third life. He was on death’s doorstep. He was reduced to skin and bones and teetered as he walked. My in-laws could tell you how I mourned Milky while I served them burgers that summer night after syringing two cc’s of vet-ordered mush into him. I was sure those would be Milky’s last days.

But God revived him and restored him to us two more years.

There was goodness and mercy, then and again.

When we headed south for a week of spring break, I had no idea I’d never converse with Milky again. I left feeding directions for our friends, gave him a little rub and we all piled in the van. I hadn’t a clue.

I’m thankful for our friends, and for God’s timing. The text came when I was on the beach, far removed. I learned enough, that our friends were tender toward Milky in his last days. ‘Tis mercy all.

Milky the garage cat was one of God’s good creatures and I think the Lord took joy in his life.

A Yardstick for Our Days

O Lord, make me know my end and what is the measure of my days;  let me know how fleeting I am!

Psalm 39:4 (ESV)

Our pets mark our time. Dinah our lop-eared bunny did it too. I think that’s why I can’t stop crying as I type. Because scrolling through five years of photos with Milky interspersed shows me the passing of time and I feel shortness of this life. In the lives of our pets we find a yardstick for our fleeting days.

Our pets help us number our days aright.

Losing a pet means we can’t ignore death. We can’t ignore the fact that all flesh is like grass and our lives like a mist. The brevity of their lives helps us number our fleeting days.

I pray that the loss of a good pet will push us to gain a heart of wisdom and to attach our greatest love to the One who will satisfy us forever and fail us never.

Who knew a glance at a frayed dining room screen would make me think of Him?

How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.

—Winnie The Pooh

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  1. So sorry about Milky. How eloquently and heart-felt you write about how he touched your lives and brought about even more love and peace to your house. And…I do have to chuckle at the bird bath picture. Just chilling…but as you said, quick to get a meal. A bird bath would be a good place to hang out and await a meal.

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