I knew Crickett, my cat didn’t have much time left. She hadn’t eaten for a week and had barely eaten before that. Several times a day I gave her a saucer of Ensure and she took a little but that was it. I was grateful for each minute with her, but at the same time it was agonizing watching her fail.
I couldn’t stop her from dying and the longer it took, the harder it was for my heart. Once I knew she was past the point of no return, I begged God to be merciful and not let her suffer. I also told Him in no uncertain terms that I did not want to take her to be put down. Two years earlier, I had been the one to sign the papers for my mom to be taken off the ventilator. This experience with Crickett brought all that pain to the surface. Don’t make me do this twice, God. I didn’t even want to do it once.
I kept praying every day … and every day He kept not taking her. Finally I started to get mad. Why are you dragging this out, God? Can’t you see she’s suffering? Can’t you see this is killing me?
I reminded myself: God is good. God is faithful. God is merciful. God loves Crickett. God loves me. God will get us through this.
Finally one morning, I really felt in my heart that this would be her last day. It may have been God telling me that. I looked at her and just didn’t see even a struggle for life anymore. I prayed that if He was going to take her this day, that He would do it Himself, and that there would be no evening trip to the animal hospital. I kissed her and felt no response. She was already mostly gone. I left for work in tears.
That night, I had dinner with some friends. They live nearby, and they told me of how a mother deer had given birth that day and then died. The fawn was okay and was taken to a shelter, but the mother had to be buried. My friend’s husband had promised his neighbors to take over his backhoe that evening and bury the deer.
I asked if I could borrow a shovel because I had a feeling I would be burying Crickett that night too. I had never buried an animal before. I also didn’t know how hard it is to dig up Georgia red clay.
When I got home, it was obvious Crickett had finally gone to be with God. I had told her that when God called her, she should run to Him. That morning, she had been making a running motion with her front paws. I found her that way in the evening, legs extended as if she had run to God.
I texted my friends to tell them she was with God. That’s when they asked did I need help to bury her. And … they made the offer: We can bury her with the deer.
A huge weight fell off me. I put Crickett in her cat bed, along with all of her toys. We got in my car and drove to where the deer was being buried. I handed Crickett over … to a gracious person, to the deer, and to God.
As I reflected later with my friends, I realized why God had delayed her death. The place to bury her wasn’t ready! He knew I couldn’t handle it myself. His timing, as always, was perfect. I realized He had heard my prayers and had responded in His very best way. I had asked Him to show mercy on my cat. His heart was bigger than that. He had shown mercy on me as well.