Prodigal pussycat

Originally Appeared in : 9909-4/25/19

It may be hard to imagine, but there was once a time in our family’s history where we had twice as many cats as we did children.


Before you break out your abacus or start calling the local Humane Society to file a complaint on our behalf, know that these were the early days BJL: Before Jesse Luke.


The first doubling of our feline family was all thanks to an evening walk that revealed a stray black and white kitty that, by evening’s end, was affectionately named Alley.


Not long after that, the second doubling took place when Sassy gained a few pounds, then six weeks later birthed not one but two tiny furballs. One, in particular, showed a predisposition to putting away the crunchies. His appetite was seemingly unending, so we named him “Pig.” Pig and his brother, Tom, were sweet boys who brought our cat total to four against our kiddo count of two.


A freak accident claimed Alley (don’t ask, unless you want to watch a very strong homemaker burst into tears), but it was the one-track-mindedness of manhood that drew the pair of tomcats away from home and out into the wilds of the great outdoors.


They just up and left.


It wasn’t long after Tom and Pig disappeared that Jesse Luke tipped the scales in favor of real babies instead of furbabies, and over the coming years the total more than doubled from three to seven. (The more I think about it, the more I realize we sound like a bunch of Catholic cats.)


Thanks to a healthy tax refund about a half-decade ago, Sassy was joined by Tyson. Unlike his kin before him, though, he had had the lure of adventure removed during a quick outpatient procedure and thus stayed close in hopes of neverending cans of pate.’


Outside of the occasional “Whose cats are those?” questions posed by the under-seven crowd when they flipped through our photo albums, we had allowed the thoughts of Tom and Pig to drift into memory.


Then Pig came back.


“J, I think that’s Pig over in Ms. Sue’s yard,” Magan said toward the end of March.


“Are you sure?” I asked. “It’s been seven years. Why would he be back?”


Following a closer examination, and bags of kitty treats and cans of food used to draw the black and white kitty closer to the garage, we discovered Magan was right. Pig was back.
Magan broke out the finest cans of paté, and spent portions of the next week-and-a-half speaking sweetly to the once-lost/now-found cat.


“I’m so happy he’s back,” she said.


Two members of the family—Sassy and Tyson—weren’t happy at all, though. In fact, we had to break up several fights picked by our house cats against their returned son/brother.


The prodigal pussycat, as we called Pig, had spawned a similar reaction as his biblical parable counterpart.


“Aren’t you glad he’s home?” Magan asked me in giddy joy.


“Yes, but I don’t want Pig to run off Sassy and Tyson who have stuck it out, either,” I replied with trepidation.


I, like the brother in Luke 15, was failing to see the lesson of unfailing love Jesus was hoping to share with the assembled crowd.


The point God was making to our family through the return of big Pig was that we, like he, should always be ready to “celebrate and rejoice” when one of us who was “lost (sic) has been found” in Christ Jesus (Luke 15:32).


He also may want to buy some stock in the paté industry, because I’ve got some insider word that sales are about to go through the roof especially if Tom shows back up, too.


Jason Halcombe has five sons and two daughters. He and his wife, Magan, are members of Immaculate Conception Church, Dublin.


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