children • education • parents
relationships • marriage • the elderly


The Importance of Cats

May 7, 2018 by

In this harsh land where a snake bite is a very real and deadly possibility, we regard our cats as furry guardian angels. They guard, advance, watch, and protect.

When I married twenty years ago I promised my husband no cats, ever, in our home. He knew I loved cats. I knew he really didn’t. I left my grizzled, marmalade tomcat, Lester, with my parents when I set off on my marriage adventure, and for all intents and purposes, Lester was going to be the last cat I loved.

Authors son with their cat

But then we moved to Australia.

Our oldest son was two years old and his brother just ten weeks when we stepped blinking into the harsh paddock landscape of our new home. Within days I had encountered and killed my first eastern brown snake, one of the world’s most deadly. It didn’t stand a chance after I caught it napping under the baby stroller.

This was the first of many close calls. Five years later, when we were blessed with one more baby – a fair dinkum Aussie, born in the “Lucky Country” on a day of heavenly rain – my husband agreed that God, almighty and omniscient as he is, needed a little help from us to keep this third treasure safe.

And so we got a cat.

Simba, from the minute she arrived, thought our third son was her personal project. She grew up beside him, refused to leave his side outdoors and nestled in the blankets every night at bedtime. She alerted us to every fever, the nighttime coughing fits and, of course, to every snake that entered within the twenty-foot-radius no-go zone she maintained around “her boys.”

We lost count of Simba’s snake kills after her ninth, I think. She regularly protected children, not only ours but any available endangered toddlers in the neighborhood. From the moment of Simba’s arrival, there was never further discussion about whether or not our house would be home to a cat. Simba was the beginning, followed by Hobbes I and Hobbes II (the handsome grey cat who features regularly on my Twitter feed); Lyon, who just lay around on his back and looked cute; and finally Ashokan, who was a mere kitten when she proudly showed us her first dead snake.

Women and snakes have been at odds ever since the beginning (go back to Genesis 3:15 to refresh your memory). I look forward to the day when it will not be so, when the peaceable kingdom the prophet Isaiah foresaw is indeed a reality on this earth. Until then, I will remain grateful for my cats, and boast about their exploits, knowing my family owes them our thanks.

To keep up with Norann and her thoughts on motherhood, discipleship, and great recipes, follow her on Twitter at @NorannV. Comments

About the author

Norann Voll portrait

Norann Voll

Norann Voll lived in New York’s Hudson Valley until moving to the Danthonia Bruderhof in New South Wales, Australia in 2002...

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  • Your Dad David must have mentioned Mittens to you. She was our family cat She slept most nights under Jonny blankets and tried to fatten us up with rabbits she had caught for her family. Great to see your son and hear your well told stories

    Rachel Burger