The incident increased her faith and reminded her of the power of prayer.
- Posted on Apr 27, 2021
I tossed and turned, sweaty and in a panic, gripped by my dream. My barn cat, Two Socks, was fleeing some four-legged predator, running for his life. I chased after them, out of breath and helpless. The dream cut abruptly to a different scene. I was in the yard working in my flower garden on my acre on Blue Mountain in northwest Colorado. It was a bright, sunny afternoon. I looked up from the flower bed when a huge bird cast a shadow over me. Out of the corner of my eye I saw Two Socks nonchalantly strolling out of the barn. Danger seemed to be everywhere. The shadow got bigger as it swooped down over my cat.
“No!” I screamed, running toward the barn.
I sat up half-awake in a tangle of sheets, still enveloped in a fog of fear. Lord, please watch over Two Socks. It wasn’t the first time I’d prayed for a barn cat.
When Two Socks came into my life, it wasn’t by chance. I’d been asking God to send me another kitty. I’d visited animal shelters, hoping to adopt, but house cats and kittens wouldn’t do. I needed a feral cat or a stray that preferred life outdoors. A cat that, in exchange for fresh water, daily chow and a clean litter box, would keep my barn rodent-free. My first barn cat, Jinx, had been my loyal friend for more than a decade, and I missed him every day.
I hugged my pillow, still trying to shake off the vivid dream. Fond memories of Jinx helped me to relax. The big black cat had just shown up one day, meowing on my porch. The moment I walked outside, he boldly rubbed against my leg.
There was no question Jinx was a stray. A feral cat, born wild without any experience of human contact, would never approach anyone. Over the years I had fed a few feral cats in my barn. It had never been more than a distant relationship, but I appreciated their ability to control the rodent population and they seemed grateful for daily cat chow.
Jinx, on the other hand, wasn’t bashful about asking for a handout or accepting attention. He had probably been dumped by some uncaring owner, or possibly he escaped from a car on nearby Highway 40 and then found me.
“I can’t have you in the house,” I explained to Jinx that first day. “My son has asthma and is allergic. But if you want to hang around, I’ll fix you a nice place in my barn.” Jinx happily agreed and had slowly become a fixture on my acre. He’d survived the nearby highway traffic, coyotes, bobcats, mountain lions and owls. He’d tangled with enemies and he’d taken explorations away from the barn, but he always returned. During his absence, I would whisper a prayer, accepting that the nature of predator/prey was not under my control.
After 10 years and my many prayers, Jinx disappeared. For days, I looked for him and visited with all the neighbors in our rural area. Somehow I knew he wasn’t coming home. He’d had a long, loving life, but that didn’t make saying goodbye any easier. My grief over losing Jinx and the predator situation for cats on Blue Mountain had kept me from even considering another barn cat for more than a year.
Then came Two Socks. When I saw the flash of gray leap over the hay in the barn one morning, I had a gut reaction. “Lord,” I whispered, “was that my new kitty?” I poured dried cat food in a bowl, found a clean blanket and placed it in the carpeted cat bed that had belonged to Jinx. It was my invitation. I’d wait for an answer.
The cat food disappeared a bite at a time. A couple evenings later, I caught another glimpse of gray when I went to get an armload of hay for my donkey. “If this is a feral cat, Lord, I’ll be grateful,” I said. Of course, I longed for a stray that might one day warm up to me like Jinx did.
About a week after my first sighting of the gray cat, I heard a meow one morning when I walked into the barn. I looked up into the large green eyes of what appeared to be a domestic shorthair, gray with darker gray stripes and two distinct socks on his hind legs. I thought immediately of the wolf in Dances With Wolves. “I’ll call you Two Socks.” The cat didn’t come any closer, but his careful examination of me gave me hope that he was a stray and not feral.
Weeks passed before he jumped down from a rafter as I poured dry cat food into his bowl. He held his head in an awkward position, and I could tell something was wrong. I put my hand out, but he quickly moved away. He didn’t run but he was skittish. I reached out again slowly and touched the top of his head.
“Okay, that’s a start,” I said to him. Lord, if this is my cat, let me help him.
Anytime he appeared, I talked to him, sang softly and reached out when he hesitated even for a moment. Finally, Two Socks allowed me to touch his neck, and I felt the collar embedded in his skin. My question about Two Socks being a stray was answered. The collar was probably put on by some well-meaning owner who had somehow lost Two Socks. As he had grown, the collar had dug deeper into his flesh. It took days for me to be quick enough to cut off the collar because he refused to let me hold him. Little by little I managed to smear salve on the sore. Once he healed, Two Socks seemed more trusting, but he still wouldn’t allow me to do more than touch him lightly as he ate. We’d come a long way, but we hadn’t established the trust I’d enjoyed with Jinx for all those years—
My terrifying dream grabbed me back into its clutches. Fear held on tight. Was God warning me of danger? The thought fully awakened me. I jumped out of bed, anxious to see if Two Socks was safe at home. From the window, I saw what I first thought to be a scattering of late May snow. With a gasp, I realized I was staring at gray cat fur, strung across the bright green grass. A lot of cat fur...
Something had happened to Two Socks during the night. I started out across the yard. Tufts of cat fur led all the way to the barn.
I mumbled as I walked. “I can’t go through this again. After all these weeks of befriending this cat, if something has happened to Two Socks, I’m done. No more barn cats.” Fear hammered at me. I struggled to trust God in his wisdom. I hesitated at the barn door, took three deep breaths, pushed the fear back and prayed. Lord, I put my trust in you.
I stepped into the semi darkness of the barn. “Meow,” I heard, and before I could quiet my heart, Two Socks leaped into my arms. He rubbed his broad head against my chest and purred out his story of fear and escape. He allowed me to examine him from nose to tail. Other than patches of hair missing, he didn’t have a mark on him. I luxuriated in his sudden display of affection and blinked back a tear. “I know,” I told him. “I know.”
Two Socks cuddled close to my neck as his love motor hummed. It was a beautiful beginning to our deep bonding. My frightful dream had reminded me of another deep bond, mine to prayer. There was so much beyond my control. The safety of my beloved barn cats only scratched the surface. But I had prayer, and an abiding trust that the Lord heard each one. I didn’t have to live in fear, because he would help me find comfort in all circumstances. For that, above all, I am most grateful.
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