"No obstacles are insurmountable when God commands and we obey"
- - Heber J. Grant
June 19, 2014
by Hannah Bird

I have never cared for cats. They are unsanitary, proud, and hateful. I do not love cat hair and I like litter boxes even less. All in all I could just never see the point.

Which makes it a little awkward that I have one. Also, I appreciate it if you didn't tell her that I bad-mouthed her on the internet. She doesn't seem like the type to laugh off insubordination.

I didn't mean to get a cat. My husband likes them even less than I do. But life, as we all know, just happens.

She probably didn't mean to get a family either. She is no more impressed with humans than we are with cats. She spends her days in eye-rolling distain for our nonsense. She is very vocal about what we do wrong (everything — we do everything wrong).

But we had this kid.

My oldest daughter, Coray, is an amazing human being. All mothers think that but being biased doesn't mean I am wrong.

She is clever and funny. She is brave and fierce. She is reserved and quiet. She works hard. She is the apple of her aunts' eyes. She is one of the very best things about being me.

When she was nine we had a lovely huge garden. She would go out and play in it. She was making up magical worlds and telling herself fantastic stories. While out in the garden one day, she caught the eye of the cat.

Catty was one of a bunch of feral cats that lived in the area. She was small; no more than a year old. She was white with black spots and a white ring around her tail. She was really quite pretty. And scared. And mean.

Upon seeing my daughter in the garden that day, Catty decided that this was her person. She was very sure.

Catty took to stalking my daughter. She would follow Coray around in the yard. Then she started following Coray to the door. She would follow Coray from window to window.  She sat on the ledge of whatever room Coray was in, staring and meowing.

We made some attempts to find her a nice home. I put up flyers. I pretended I thought she was just lost. I was just stalling for time. This was not a homeless cat anymore. Her home was Coray.

My husband, it should be noted, is a brave man of exceptional character. He has stood with great strength and dignity against evil and the masses. He is also powerless in the face of his blue-eyed girl and her quivering lip.

So Coray got to keep her cat. But we all agreed, Catty would remain an outside cat. She did. For two months.

Evil never advertises itself as such. So when my husband stood up against evil, a lot of decent people allowed themselves to be convinced that he was the problem. Bad things happened. My phone rang all day with outrage and threats.

Catty disappeared for a few days. When she came back she was bloody. She was shaved and a swastika was drawn on her. Some of her nails were ripped out. She hissed and spit for hours.

She killed a squirrel and dragged it under the car. She escalated to hissing and swatting. I finally caught her, wrapped her in a towel and brought her in the house. I rocked her in a chair for hours. There was no question. She was ours. And in the house.

Life went on. We were busy. It was a challenging time. We had a sick newborn and a very public battle on our hands. My oldest daughter took it the hardest. She was still and distant. When she walked she held herself tightly.

Looking back, I remember thinking that she needed a friend. She needed a best buddy that understood her. Coray was never much for silliness (although she can be goofy). As the years went by she seemed to me more and more alone. I worried. I was afraid that this hard season would break her.

It has been ten years. Coray has a best friend. She is the daughter of my best friends. Our next two daughters are best friends too. The younger girls are silly and goofy. Coray and her friend are goofy in their own ways. But mostly, they are both a little reserved. They can not talk for hours.

Coray has more friends than I know now. Her Facebook page and phone are filled with people I do not know.

But none of this was the answer I had begged for. It was the cat, of course. She was the gift I couldn’t see. I never wanted a cat. So having the meanest cat in the world follow me around the house meowing what I am sure are threats and curse words didn’t look like a gift.

But she was the one who loved Coray wholeheartedly. Catty understood. And when danger came to our house, Catty fought.

Coray is a grown up now. She is luminous. She has come into her own. Catty is grown up too. She is becoming a little old lady. She sleeps even longer. Only my bed will do.

She doesn’t like me much. She has a crush on my husband and resents any attention he might pay me. But sometimes she sneaks into my room in the morning and climbs under the covers with me. If I pet her she graciously stops stabbing me with her paws.

She is raising a new little girl now. My Sophie, wild thing from the wild places, is Catty’s new charge. They have long arguments and secret chats just as Catty did with her first girl. They are both vocal and a little stabby.

I am smarter now. I never wanted a cat but I am glad to have her sister spirit looking out for my children. At night she goes from room to check each family member. I suppose that sometimes guardian angels might be bitey and covered with cat hair.

Our needs are always known. Our true needs. Our hurts matter. Help will come. It may look like the last thing you wanted. But the last thing you wanted can still be a good gift.

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About Hannah Bird

I am me. I live at my house with my husband and kids. Mostly because I have found that people get really touchy if you try to live at their house. Even after you explain that their towels are fluffier and none of the cheddar in their fridge is green.

I teach Relief Society and most of the sisters in the ward are still nice enough to come.

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