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When her cat suddenly turned up blind and needed extra care, Christine Johnson reflected on how we react to sudden changes in our life's course.

Our cat, Licorice, has been in our family for 10 ½ years. Ever since she was spayed about 10 years ago, we have lovingly called her The Mighty Panther. She was an outdoor cat who would come inside for food and snuggles before setting out on Panther adventures in our neighborhood. She’d bring us presents of chipmunks, birds, mice, and -- once in a while -- a baby bunny. Our vet said she was a healthy and happy cat, with “luminous” eyes and a weight that was consistent from the time she reached adulthood. She would frequently be gone for a couple of days at a time, then reappear. And our neighbors love her. She’d go to them for snuggles and pets and, sometimes, a little snack.

About three weeks ago, she disappeared for longer than usual. We didn’t see her for more than two weeks when I finally asked our across-the-street neighbor if she’d seen the cat lately. Yes, she assured us, she’d been feeding her and even set up a little box for her to sleep in sometimes. We were relieved that she was okay, especially since there had been coyotes in our neighborhood not that long ago.

The next day, that same neighbor came over to elaborate on what had happened (and to assure us that she wasn’t trying to steal our cat). But she stunned us with some news: Licorice was completely blind.


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Mind you, she could see less than a month before that. She’d been in and out of the house and seemed fine in mid-September. At her appointment with the vet at the end of June, there was no indication that her eyes were in trouble at all. But she was sitting on the neighbor’s porch right then, so we carried her home and took a look at her. And her eyes were definitely not working. Cloudy, with atrophy in her irises. The vet confirmed the next day that The Mighty Panther would now have to be an indoor cat for the rest of her life. And that could be a long time, since aside from this sudden (and unexplainable!) blindness, she’s pretty healthy.

This has been a huge adjustment for my husband and me. Okay, mostly him. He’s working from home now, and I leave the house daily to work at the bank. So he’s the one who had to deal with accidents while the cat re-learned how to use a litter box. He’s the one who hears her meowing loudly while he’s on a call. And he’s even been the one to bring her back and forth to the vet.


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And it’s hard for the cat, too. She still goes to the door when she has to go to the bathroom and meows at us. (Have I mentioned how loud she is? She’s LOUD!) She finally gives up when we don’t let her out and (grudgingly) uses The Box. But she can’t see much aside from light and some movement, so it’s far too easy for the dog to sneak up on her and frighten her with his super-excited love for her. So it’s up to us to run interference, too.


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Life can change pretty suddenly, and it sometimes feels like we’re thrown into a hard U-turn that we didn’t prepare for. #catholicmom

Life is like that, isn’t it? We think we’re going along fine, and then … POW! There’s a huge change you never saw coming. At times like that, it’s really hard to trust that God has our best interests, that He’s got us. That He’ll run interference for us.

But just like Licorice has us to care for her, we do have God to care for us. And our care for the cat is nothing compared to the way God will care for us in our distress. Even when, just like the cat, we resist the change that’s come upon us or the care we must have, God will patiently work with us where we are and lead us to Himself.

Life can change pretty suddenly, and it sometimes feels like we’re thrown into a hard U-turn that we didn’t prepare for. But if we let go a little bit, God can carry us through and bring us safely to where we need to be.


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Copyright 2021 Christine Johnson
Images: Canva Pro; cat photo copyright 2021 Christine Johnson, all rights reserved.