21 Av 5780 / Tuesday, August 11, 2020 | Torah Reading: Re'eh
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Finding Reggie    

Finding Reggie

If Hashem can do miracles for a cat, imagine what He can do for us? Regardless what problems we have or what pains we are suffering, we can always turn to Him…


Hashem sends us messages in the most interesting ways.


If you read my previous article, Emuna Cats, you might remember that we have a cat named Reggie.  He was pretty much raised as in indoor/outdoor cat but he loves the outdoors, especially at night. Due to circumstances beyond our control, we moved for the umpteenth time to another apartment, but in this case, neither Reggie nor I were happy to be in an apartment with no garden. As a cat, it must have been even more disturbing since he can’t open heavy doors or push elevator buttons. Basically, he has been trapped in our apartment day and night, save for his time on the balcony or window ledge. So, like having a newborn baby all over again, he was waking us up every night, crying to get out. I spoke to his vet who assured me he would adjust eventually. A year and a half later, he has pretty much gotten over it, especially considering his past escapade, as you will soon see.


A while ago, I agreed to dog-sit my daughter’s dog, Charlie, for ten days. Charlie had been with us in the past but never for such a long period of time. The expression, ‘fighting like cats and dogs’ doesn’t come from nothing. Apparently, they just don’t get along. Occasionally, Charlie tries to play with Reggie but he will have none of it, so we have to try to keep them as far apart as possible.


The day before my daughter’s return, I went to take Charlie out for his evening walk but when I returned, Reggie was nowhere to be found. We looked everywhere for him but he had completely vanished. We are one floor up so he wouldn’t have been able to jump without getting hurt. [He had fallen asleep on the edge of the balcony recently. We found him down below in the morning, whimpering and his face bleeding. After some antibiotics and steroids, he recuperated.]


He wasn’t lying on the ground so we called his name throughout the neighbourhood. Nothing. Reggie was missing.


After almost three weeks of searching and putting up flyers, posting on the local email lists, I had given in to the fact that my cat was gone for good. While he was just a cat and an annoying one at that - keeping us awake at night - I still felt responsible for him. If he was no longer alive, I would get over it, but it was the not knowing what happened to him that was so disconcerting. I pictured him being attacked by wild animals in the nearby field. I imagined him lying dead under a bush somewhere, having been injured by the fall. Why and how did he simply disappear? Was he jealous of Charlie? According to the vet, cats sometimes want to leave when they sense their home is too crowded for them. A new ‘houseguest’ could spur that feeling.


Knowing that Hashem loves animals as He loves all of His creations, I decided to take my plea to Him during my hitbodedut (personal prayer). I explained that I understood if it was Reggie’s time to leave the world but asked if He could help me to find the body so I could move on. But if he was in fact still alive and suffering, could He please return him to me so I can take care of him again?


The next evening I went out for my daily ‘walk and talk’ and as I was returning on the main street above our neighbourhood, I saw a cat race across the road and zoom directly across my path into the stairway nearby. He looked vaguely familiar. “Reggie?” I instinctively called his name. The cat stopped in its tracks. Again I repeated, “Reggie?” He looked like him but was sickly looking with nothing more than fur and bones. The dirty cat was still staring at me from a distance so I crouched down and once again called his name. I stretched out my arms and slowly but surely, this cat came to me. I couldn’t believe it was actually Reggie! Baruch Hashem, thank G-d, twenty-one days after he disappeared, I had found my cat!


In Perek Shira the cat sings, "I pursued my foes and overtook them, and did not return until they were destroyed" (Psalm 18:38.)


We have no idea what Reggie encountered during those three weeks but he did manage to survive in spite of himself. He had no sense of smell due to his previous injury and being an elderly cat, his teeth were weak and/or missing so he wasn’t able to eat much. He never was a ‘garbage cat’. He had insufficient survival skills as the other neighbourhood cats had developed and he wasn’t accustomed to our building from the outside. The vet thought that he probably got lost and just couldn’t find his way back.


Had I not been out walking that evening, he likely never would have returned and would have died of starvation. He seemed like he only had days to go. And what a ‘coincidence’ that he ran across the very place I was walking at precisely the time I was at that spot.  It was nothing short of a miracle.


If our Father in Heaven can do this for a cat, imagine what He can do for us, his children? Regardless what problems we have, what needs we want met, what pains we are suffering, we can always turn to G-d, to the Master of the Universe. He is there for us 24/7 and will consistently answer our prayers for the best.

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