Flip the Wonder Kitty
Blessings come in all shapes and sizes, even furry four legged ones. I have never described myself as an animal person. My whole life I've really just tolerated the animals that were in my house. Even as a little kid I was not a girl who asked for kittens or puppies. I thought kittens were cute but I just left the begging for one up to my sister.
Through a series of events....a move across country and changing jobs and a bunch of blah blah blah... I was at a point in my life where I was constantly aware of the fact that I was not needed by anyone or anything. Sure, my family needed me to be the mom, but other than that nobody in this world really needed me at this moment. That's a stark change from running a big department of a nonprofit and having 60 employees, and 200 adults with disabilities basically needing me constantly to …..nothing! Kinda Harsh!
CUE the dramatic scene change......
In walks Flip the Wonder Kitty. His mom, “Mama Kitty” (Super original name...we worked hard on her name.... although it is much better then the original choice we gave her, which was "cat") was dumped at our house by cruel, mean, awful, hateful, animal dumpers. (I hate animal dumpers BTW) When she arrived at our house she was malnourished, she was not taken care of at all and she was a mess. After a few bowls of food, her PREGNANT tummy popped out almost magically… five days after showing up on our doorstep she had a litter of five kittens. FIVE KITTENS. Thats six more cats then we had six days before......
Our family came together for this purpose and we loved those kitties A LOT. We knew we weren't keeping them and our priority would be to find them good homes. Everyone pretty much accepted that, but while they were babies we were in kitty heaven.
At about four weeks we figured out that three were completely healthy and two had a condition called Cerebellar Hypoplasia. This is a Neural defect that, basically, causes the brain and the legs to not communicate, this renders them unable or barely able to walk. We learned all of these CH kitties have different levels of disability. So we waited to find out where our two guys landed.
We named one of them Jesse and one Ottis. Unfortunately at four and a half weeks old Ottis died, and the reality that neither of these kitties might make it became our scary reality.
As Jessie and the other three healthy kitties grew, got bigger and started being playful and hilarious (as kittens are), Jessie's condition became more and more obvious because he couldn't keep up. While his brothers and sisters would come and play with him for a quick tumble, they would inevitably run off. Jesse was left on his own a lot, so our family's hearts just sort of melted for the little guy.
(He was named Jesse because an adorable lady named Jessie, with Down syndrome, would come love on our kitties as often as she could. Jessie the lady loved Jesse the kitty because he would just let her cuddle and cuddle and cuddle him!)
It quickly became obvious that finding a home for Jesse was not going to happen. If we brought him to the Humane Society they would put him to sleep. It is hard enough to find homes for healthy kittens…so we started to accept that no one was going to just choose him over the other 3 healthy guys.
The day came when we realized this kitty cat was not going anywhere, for a moment we felt stuck…stuck with a disabled cat in our house. The day that our entire family (my husband) acknowledged that this kitty was forever ours…was the day we changed his name to Flip, because well, he flips everywhere!
The family was committed to getting him to and from the litter, and committed to getting him to and from the food bowl. In our hearts we were committed even harder to loving this little guy. He changed our family. He unified us and gave us a common purpose. He flipped his way into all of our hearts, but his giant list of needs did something in my heart I was not expecting. This crazy little floppy kitty gave me a sense of purpose. He gave me a chance to be needed and I fell deeply in love with a cat…in spite of my hesitation.
He is a huge part of our family and has adapted and grown quite well into his condition. He walks at about 60%, but truly has mastered getting around by part flipping and part what we call an alligator walk. He acts a little bit more like a dog then a cat normally would. He follows us around, begs to be held and is unconditionally in love with us, unless we scare him...then he hisses like a trapped rattle snake. He is complex!
I truly believe that God uses all things for our good and I do not think that Flip the Wonder Kitty is an exception to this. As silly as it sounds and as minuscule as it might seem… That sweet little needy kitty cat gave me a purpose that I wasn't totally aware that I was missing. He taught me patience, empathy, and a genuine understanding of how everybody needs help.
I think of Flip as a lovely little lesson on God filling our needs in ways we would never consider. What started out as a big pain in the rump... finding an abandoned mama kitty, and five days later….five baby kitties, turned into what I would consider one of the biggest blessings of our life…
imperfect little me