Adapted from Touching Incidents: Children’s Edition
The Cat That Came Back
Jimmy was lying on an old cot out in the orchard, getting some of the nice spring sunshine on his thin body. He had been sickly for a long time and didn’t often play with the other children. Instead, Jimmy’s special companion was a dear old cat, Annette. She was nearly as old as he, and ever since they were little they could be found together. The gray cat often curled up next to the pale little boy as he sat reading or studying.
Over the years Annette had lost most of an ear in a winter prowl, but her traveling days were nearly over now. Jimmy noticed that she used her ears much more than her eyes, and that she liked sleeping much longer. But Jimmy adored her anyway. He loved it best when she would join him under the apple trees with her deep purrs.
There was an anxious frown on his face now, and every little while he would turn on his side, look through the orchard, and call, “Kitty, kitty! Kitty! Annette, come, Ann-ette.”
But Annette did not come. Jimmy’s mother came, and sat beside him on the cot. “Annette is very old indeed, and maybe she won’t come back again,” she said after a little while.
“She was here yesterday, Mother,” he answered her, and big tears came to his eyes. “She felt perfectly fine then.”
“I know, but she’s an old cat. She never strays away of her own accord, and certainly no one would steal an old blind cat.”
Later on during the day a man came walking up to their house. He introduced himself as the new neighbor who just moved across the little creek. He made inquiries as to where he could buy fresh vegetables and milk. And just as he was about to leave he remarked, “I did a strange thing early this morning. There was an old cat that came over to my place. One ear was almost gone and it was blind. I’m not much of a hand to do away with things, but I felt so sorry for that poor old animal that I killed it.”
“Oh!” With a strangled sob Jimmy quickly left the room. His mother explained to the man that it had been their old pet. He was very sorry, but of course that did not bring her back.
“When I saw it, I just banged it over the head with a stick and buried it. You will never know how badly I feel about it,” the man said.
When he was gone, Mother went out to find Jimmy and comfort him. He was out in the orchard on his knees. She knew how much the cat had meant to him, and how much he would miss her. Quietly she went up and knelt beside him, slipping her arm about his shoulder.
He turned to her at once. “Mother, there’s something funny about Annette,” he said, a smile coming to his lips. “I’ve been praying and I feel all happy inside. It’s just as if she wasn’t dead at all!”
“What would we ever do without our Comforter, son?” she said. “The Lord helps us bear our burdens in a wonderful way.”
“I’ll say He does. This morning I felt so bad I didn’t know what to do, and then when that man said—he had killed Annette,” and Jimmy’s voice faltered a little, “—I thought I just could not stand it. And here I am happy as anything again. And just because I took it all to Jesus. I think Annette is all right now.”
“She was very old, son,” Mother said, patting his arm. “It would have been much longer anyway. Why—why—Jimmy!”
But Jimmy was running swiftly across the field toward an old blind cat that was staggering in his direction. In a second the gray bundle was in the joyful boy’s arms. Apparently the new neighbor had only stunned the cat, and so she had dug her way out of the shallow hole and had come home again. And that was the way God had answered little Jimmy’s prayers.
It was years before Annette really died, and before she did, she presented Jimmy with a very tiny kitten with two whole ears and two very bright eyes. This story might sound strange to you, so perhaps I better add that it is really true.