Oh, my goodness! Is it him? No, it can’t be. How on earth can it be?
Have you ever marveled at how some cats make their way home after becoming lost, abandoned or even re-homed? That they can defy the odds of travelling expanses of terrain, to then turn up at the doorstep of where they once lived?
Let me tell you a story of our much-loved cat named Marlin who embarked on a journey to find home.
In the process of preparing to move from Auckland to Christchurch, we had to make a difficult decision.
We owned two cats. Bella, our extroverted people-loving feline, and Marlin, our beloved ginger tabby who would scarper whenever we had any sign of visitors. Marlin spent most of his time, in the outdoors, catching birds and rodents.
One sunny morning, I made the nerve-wracking attempt to transport Marlin to the vet. He required his inoculations for the trip south. We had never been successful in getting him to the vet. It was horrendous even trying.
After finally managing to lock him in a borrowed cage, we hurriedly moved to the car. But in the nervous stress, Marlin thrashed the cage from my hands. It landed on the ground with an almighty crash, flew open and Marlin disappeared.
I stood on the driveway and sobbed hysterically, knowing that he was not going to make it to our new destination. Marlin, our beautiful boy, needed to be rehomed.
After finally deciding on what we thought was a suitable place for Marlin (a lodge and vineyard 23 kms away), we prepared ourselves to say goodbye.
One Saturday, my veterinarian friend offered to sedate and move Marlin to his new, hopefully forever, home. As a family, we said our farewells, and then he was gone.
Gone but not forgotten
Five months later, we were settled in Christchurch, now a one cat family, but often talking about our Marlin.
One night, as I was scrolling through my Facebook feed, I suddenly stopped at a photo of a cat. The new owners of our house in Auckland had posted the photo, wondering who the cat belonged to. The cat had turned up and was staring at them through their back ranch slider.
I looked at the photo in disbelief. The cat surely looked like Marlin. We dashed to retrieve old photos of him, comparing them with the cat on Facebook. The markings on his fur were the same. And the eyes. They were Marlin’s eyes.
In a flurry, we made contact with the new homeowners. We sent messages to our veterinarian friend, hoping she could scan the cat’s microchip.
For three days we waited to hear the news. The cat remained on the property, showing no signs of going anywhere.
Then the message came through. After two attempts to scan the cat, she was finally successful. It was Marlin!
We were astounded. To think of his journey, back to where he had once belonged, was a true feat. Our marvellous Marlin was now in familiar surroundings again.
Thankfully the new homeowners took Marlin under their wings (along with their own cat) and were happy for him to stay.
It is intriguing how cats do this. There are theories that, due to the high iron in their bodies (particularly in their ears), cats are ‘in tune’ with the earth’s magnetic fields. In short, it can be likened to an internal compass or navigational system. Cats carry their own GPS!
How it can be done we are not sure. But we know for certain that Marlin is home. His safe and happy place.
On the day we found out it was Marlin, I read the following scripture:
“You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.” (Psalm chapter 16, verse 11, NIV)
Marlin did indeed know the pathway home.
Home. This single word brings echoes of emotions, places and people. The phrase, ‘Home is where the heart is’, rings true for many. Where we have left our heartis home.
As followers of Jesus, where is our actual home?
Where do we belong? Are we at ‘home’ in our earthly life or in eternity? Eternity is written on our hearts. We know we have this present, physical world, yet we yearn for what we can’t see. One of my favouritescriptures has had a profound impact upon my faith and identity:
“So, we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” (2 Corinthians chapter 4, verse 18, NIV)
My ‘home’ is found in God and my belonging is found in what is eternal. This world is my home for a brief time, but my true home is found in eternity.
Fiona Murray has a passion for telling stories, both real and fictional, to engage the reader in the greatest hope of all, Jesus Christ. She has been a primary school teacher, teacher aide, personnel administrator for a mission organization and financial assistant for a community trust, all of which has grown her love for detail and creativity. Fiona is also undertaking further theology study to enhance her writing. She is married to Alan, and they live in Selwyn, Canterbury (NZ) with their children.