Matti is no Matti … he’s Hank

Kathleen Kjolhaug Religion Columnist
Friday, February 5, 2021
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Th e vagabond entered into our household. Unbeknownst to us just how the little orange kitty arrived, it mattered not because once it entered into our lives, we became one. And thus it was in the beginning.

The little refugee was hanging out with our bottle calf when Pete grabbed hold of it and brought it into the kitchen. It was all fur and bones. Starving would be another word for it and thus, into the vet we did go. And when we did … we learned.

We learned that our little kitty named Matti was definitely little but only because it was starving. The age reveal showed 5 ½ months with a weight bearing total was much younger. As the grands stood watching, it was announced … and thus we entered with Matti and exited with Hank ... as a quick show of hands chose the name.

Hank was a puzzle. Kittens love to play. Kittens clean themselves … but Hank did none of those. He ate some, and he slept some. Sprawled out with a full tummy he would be to the tune of hours on end. Medication we did give to make sure all areas of his little body would remain healthy yet, several weeks went by and never once did he make an effort to use that sandpaper tongue they’ve been gifted for such a time as this.

Even more of a puzzle, Hank did not play. A tiny ball with a bell and feather did nothing to intrigue the little runt. A string pulled along was of no use for engagement and try as we might, there was little response.

Thoughts crossed my mind that the damage had been done, and the little wild thing had left the arms of those who were to teach such things far too soon. Now, there was no going back. Poor little thing had been traumatized way too much to trust much. A purr every now and again we’d get, but that was about it.

Until … one day, I noticed him licking his little paw … just a bit. A week went by and his dirty little face remained smudged. Finger linking good it should be as they naturally have a swipe or two to do the job. This little orange fluff ball was having none of it … until … a couple of weeks later I noticed … Hank was grooming like a champ.

Woven in between the licking would be a paw batting around anything that moved and after a while, Hank began to play. He grabbed the string on the move, he pushed the bell with the ball and feather clear across the room and the stages with his age development appeared to be catching up.

Little did I know … when I thought all hope was gone, would I see how a bit of tender care would renew Hank. He not only was surviving, but appeared to be thriving.

Whine like a demanding three year old he does when the food comes out but honestly, who wouldn’t if starvation was all that had been known. The pause in his cause to develop the skills he needed to survive could only take place in due time … over time … with a safe environment in which to grow.

“Let us not become weary in doing good for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” (Gal. 6:9).

A harvest of Hank is now what we are seeing. For such a time as this we love those in our paths who need just a bit … just a bit of tender care so they … who are being renewed … will find true hope during the spiritual process of transformation … which is on-going both now and forever. Amen.

(Kathleen Kjolhaug is a religion columnist.)

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