Some of you may remember this sweet photo of Cali, one of my daughter's three furkids. She's had her for several years. Having no children of her own, her cats are her babies and they've been with her thru good times and bad. This past summer she bought a beautiful home in Nashville and weighing heavily in her choice, after looking at many, many houses, was that this one had a great back yard with a wooded area for her cats to roam and enjoy. Her cats have always been indoor/outdoor cats and have fared amazingly well through the moves from house to apartment after apartment, and finally now to a home of their own.
On Saturday, October 4th, my daughter sent me a text saying that Cali had not returned home the previous evening as she normally did. They called her and looked for her, and didn't find her. They were concerned, but hoped she would show up the following day. She didn't. They continued to search the entire area for her, but when she hadn't returned in another couple days they feared the worst. Needless to say, she was heartbroken.
Four days later she called me totally distraught, and said she could hear Cali meowing outside from time to time, but when they went out to look for her they couldn't find her anywhere and she didn't respond to their calls. Deeply concerned that she was out there hurt, they got spotlights and a night cam and searched the entire area and woods. Occasionally they would hear her, but could never locate her. Then, stumbling thru the dark woods in the early hours of the morning with the spotlight, unable to sleep and sobbing for the kitty she couldn't find, by the grace of God she happened to spot two tiny glowing eyes 30 ft. up in a tree, and yes, there was Cali!
Guessing that she was unable to figure out how to get down, my daughter called a tree trimming service to rescue her. Sadly, that only scared the kitty more and she ran high up into the tree, like 60 feet high, and out on a limb, making it impossible to reach her. Believing that her cat was unable to make her way back down the straight tree, she and her partner opted for what they thought was the only viable solution, and they cut down the tree, enabling the kitty to jump safely to the ground as it slowly fell. Tragically, the kitty was by then so terrified that it took off at a dead run in the opposite direction, and they were unable to find her.
They returned to the wooded area several times, leaving food and water and searching everywhere, but never finding Cali. They put up signs around the neighborhood, praying that someone would find her and call the phone number on her collar ID tag. No one did.
The first weekend that I found out Cali was missing I was so heartbroken for my daughter. I had a very vivid dream one night in which I saw my daughter finding Cali walking in the kitchen and so excited that she was home. I held that vision in my heart like a promise. I didn't understand why God would help her find Cali up in the tree, only to lose her again. But I also know that God works in ways I don't always understand I and was prepared to accept His will as being what was best.
I don't have to tell you how many tears have been shed since the first night of Cali's disappearance. I've been praying mightily for her ever since, knowing that cats have an incredible survival instinct and that if God wanted her to find her way safely home, she would. In my mind I had this feeling that one day my daughter would send me a text with Cali's picture saying "She's home." I so wanted that to be a promise and not a fantasy created by my desire for my daughter's heart to be healed.
More than three weeks have passed since Cali last was home. My daughter worried that she would be unable to find food and water and was suffering out there, if she was even still alive. I never gave up hoping and praying. Then, this morning as I was up and getting ready for work a photo popped up on my phone, then another. I looked once, then twice... Cali?? Cali was home?? In a flurry of excited texts exchanged I learned that my daughter's partner had heard something scratching at the back door this morning and was amazed to find Cali there, begging to be let in. He quickly opened the door and began calling to awaken my daughter. She stumbled out to the kitchen to find Cali walking around looking for food, just exactly as I had envisioned it in my dream!! She was hungry and thin, having lost a great deal of weight. Thankfully she was a chubby kitty before her disappearance, and this probably helped to save her life. An avid hunter, she no doubt also was able to capture some small prey in the woods to survive on. Somehow, by the pure grace of God, she found her way safely home!
My daughter reported that Cali nearly inhaled a dish of cat food, and "talked" non-stop to them for about fifteen minutes, no doubt telling them of her experience, and how much she missed them, and chewing them out for bringing her down by felling the tree! She greeted her curious, sniffing siblings with a few warning slaps and hisses, then climbed into bed, snuggled up with my daughter, and promptly settled into what was undoubtedly the best, most peaceful sleep she'd had in weeks.
I had told my daughter initially that I had dreamed Cali came home, but hadn't shared the details or my hopes to one day receive a photo announcing her return. When I told her about it this morning we both cried. No one will ever convince me that God doesn't answer our prayers. I know that He cares about each of us, and about each and every one of His creatures too. I didn't know if He would bring Cali home, but I knew that He could if it was His will. Many prayers were said, and many tears were shed, and once again, God heard the pleadings of a mother's heart and returned a loved one safely home. This is just one of the many reasons I believe in the God of miracles. I believe that faith brought Cali home.
Cali this morning - thinner, a little more world-wise, and so very happy to be home!