Devotion in Motion: Advice from Dr. Doolittle

“The ox knows its master, the donkey it’s owner’s manger, but Israel does not know, my people do not understand.”  ~  Isaiah 1:3 (NIV)

By Bro. John Cash

My regular readers might remember that the Cash family runs a veritable “Cat Café” on Woodbridge Drive. Last week while driving I saw a billboard for a popular Christian denomination. It said, “Open hearts. Open minds. Open doors.” That’s pretty much how our Cat Café works. No one is turned away. We even have an opossum who cleans up the scraps every night.

I have a theory about the best kinds of cats. The best indoor cats are apple-head-Siamese. (These are not the mutant, triangle-head-Siamese-cats who sound like a baby crying who were trying to kill the goldfish in “Lady and the Tramp.” That’s another species altogether. I’m talking about the beautiful apple-head ones.) One of the advantages of having an apple-head-Siamese is that they only have one coat of fur, while most cats have two. Because of this, they don’t shed nearly as much. It’s nice not to live in a sea of cat hair. They are also very smart and vocal. We have a Siamese cat named Eleanor who keeps our household on schedule and in good running order. She’s bossy, but she’s elegant.

In my estimation, the nomination for the best outdoor cat is the stray-yellow-tomcat. Stray-yellow-tomcats are the Tom Hanks of the animal kingdom. They are just so noble and good. Their souls are like a Snickers bar. If you slice up a Snickers bar, there’s just nothing bad in there. My advice to you — if a stray-yellow-tomcat comes up in your yard, make sure to feed it. You won’t be sorry.

I have a new stray-yellow-tomcat named Sonny. He just showed up in the backyard one morning to take advantage of the free Continental breakfast that the Cashes offer. He is evidently blind in one eye; I’m afraid that someone has hurt him at some point. He was very skittish at first, but after several weeks he gradually went from eating his food next to the fence to letting me scratch his ears while he dines on the patio. Nothing pays dividends like reaching out  to somebody with dedicated, intelligent goodwill.

Looking back, I think the thing that won Sonny over is that I talked to him every morning. Susan says I’m the real Dr. Doolittle. I really do talk to the animals. I learned it from my grandmother.

One morning I told him, “Sonny-cat, you sure are a fine fellow. You are kind and you have nice ways. You are better than a lot of people I know.”

Someone overheard me and said, “John, I know you’re just talking to a cat, but what you just said is true. I know exactly what you’re talking about. There are plenty of animals in this world that are better than a lot of people.”

I’m going to tell you something surprising. Did you know the Lord believes this, too? In the Scripture lesson (at the top), God tells Israel there are animals that are better than they are. An ox knows who his master is. And a donkey knows who feeds him. Pretty smart, don’t you think?

So, this week, my dear friends, let’s try to do better. In everything, let’s remember that Christ is our Lord and Master. And let’s give thanks that it is the Lord who provides all our needs.  Otherwise, we’re no better than a “dumb ox”— or a “dumb donkey.”

Dr. John L. Cash is the “Country Preacher Dad.” He was raised in Stuttgart, Arkansas, and has spent the last 34 years being a country preacher in the piney woods five miles south of the little town of Hickory, Mississippi. He’s a retired Mississippi public schoolteacher with grown sons, and is now a stay-at-home-grandpa. He and his lovely wife, Susan, live in a brick house in town (where the Preacher has to buy 22 pounds of Friskies Surf ‘n Turn’n Favorites every month to keep his cat cafe in business.) You can send him a note at