© 2002 by Joyce C. Lock
Growing up, I recall discussions about how it was impossible for animals to go to heaven, being that they don't have a spirit. How could they, being that they don't talk and thus can't understand or communicate with God? Or at least, that was the winning argument of adults.
Though, I've wondered more and more how that it would be possible for them not to have a spirit, after having our current cat, Whiskers. We've never had one like him before.
When we snap our fingers, for Whiskers not to do something, he whines. When he wants to do something that he remembers he isn't suppose to do, he'll wine as if we've scolded him already. Knowing he'll get into trouble for doing it, Whiskers proceeds to do the thing he isn't suppose to, anyway ... fully anticipating that we'll immediately tell him to stop, for which he reluctantly does; perhaps also testing to see if we care enough to respond. In every way, he appears to have the feelings and understanding of a toddler. He even talks back to us when he doesn't like the rules. Others have said they've never heard a cat make sounds like he does, sort of like how a baby's cry has different meanings.
When our hands are full and we need to open a door, Whiskers will reach for the doorknob and attempt to open it for us. He has the gift of helps! When he wants us to open a door for him, he'll do the same. "Ask and ye shall receive."
With the aroma of cooking, Whiskers will run to the kitchen. Much like we did as children, he's prepared to rinse the pots and bowls by licking the tasty residue. (Being in the age of dishwashers, germs aren't a problem.) At meal time, Whiskers will select a chair around the kitchen table, just like any other member of the family; patiently awaiting (most of the time) scraps. (Just don't leave your plate until you're finished eating.)
Like children might sneak cookies, the evidence later to be revealed, we discover pieces of food Whiskers has snitched, then hid to eat. It isn't a good idea to leave white powdered donuts out, even with the box lid closed. That's one of his all-time favorites.
Whenever we leave the house, Whiskers watches out the window, anticipating our return. Missing us I'm sure, upon arrival and before we get to an entry, he has already scurried there to greet us. It really isn't all that different from picking up your toddler from the baby-sitter, how they run to the door, "Mommy!" If Whiskers hasn't greeted us, we know to check to see if he's gotten sick or closed in a closet.
Surely, animals must care intensely, being that they take on the family health problems. If one has asthma, so does Whiskers. If another has a weak stomach, he does, too.
Each member of the family has a different place in his heart. Whiskers responds to the one who feeds him as if they were his mother and that is also the person he cries to when the bowl is empty. To his playmate, he jumps on them, attacks, and does all sorts of silly things. His personality is so entertaining. Much like a Sanguine, he's sure to bring a smile. To another, he is so romantic everyone in the house is drawn to watch him. He'll love on you as if you're the most precious person this side of heaven.
The unconditional love one gets from Whiskers is as heartwarming as any toddler. If you're in tune to listen to his heart, more joyous than his purr, you'll know he knows 'love' ... and God is love.
These are just a few of the things leading me to think Whiskers almost has to be part human.
Then, the subject of animals came up around my 12 year old niece. I overheard her say, "Well, of course animals go to heaven! Everything God created will be in heaven!" Like, duh.
All the world will cry out that there is a God. Oh, the wisdom of a child!
Maybe God blessed us with Whiskers so I would ponder such things and be able to offer assurance to those who've lost pets, as now I know ... when our beloved pet dies, we will see them again.
The purpose of this series is to encourage people to live as loving, compassionate, and peacemaking children of God: Jesus tells us to pray, "Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven." (Matthew 6:10) God tells us through Micah (6:8), "He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God." And we know from Revelation 21:4 that there will be no more mourning, or crying, or pain, or death. Thus, Christian living requires us to set the standards of these conditions here on earth for our fellow human beings, and for the other animals, as a witness to the rest of the world. To do otherwise is not Christian.