We never considered ourselves “cat people”.  Years ago, when Charlie Brown entered our lives as a stray and         adopted us, we became admirers of large Maine Coon cats.  That is, until we were told that our beloved Charlie was actually   a Norwegian Forest Cat … a Weegie!

After Charlie’s death and a year-long grief period, we began looking for breeders of  “Weegies”.  Months later, we        became acquainted with a breeder who had two young females to place.  She dearly loved them and only wanted our promise  to provide her cats with a loving home for the rest of their lives, and to have them spayed.

In early June, we loaded up our minivan with two brand new kitty-cabs and headed to the breeder’s home – a six hour drive from our house.  Everything was going well with our new kitties, Komachi and Tamar.  Or so we thought.  When we arrived home, Komachi voiced her strong opinion of the whole procedure.  Tamar was silent and went into hiding.  For days, we searched the house.  Days lengthened into weeks, and then we realized she must have gotten outside.   Before this turn of events, Tamar had never spent a moment outside.

We kept searching in our yard and throughout our neighborhood – a heavily wooded area.  Our searching was intense and many thoughtful neighbors joined our efforts.  Some set out traps.  Others kept watch day and night.  Tamar was not to be found.

Month after month, our efforts continued with encouragement and help from neighbors, local vets, and the Winnebago County Animal Shelter.  One of the vets advised, “Never give up hope.”

Summer turned into fall, fall into winter … could Tamar still be alive?  There were coyotes, foxes, and thirty-pound      raccoons all too near.  The coyotes could be heard howling in the nearby forest preserve.  With every passing month, there was not a road we traveled near our home, when we were not looking for Tamar.

There was not a day when our prayers did not include Tamar.  Through the years, I had learned that God places in our hearts and minds the prayers we need to pray, especially when we ask for them.   On some days, the words came in the form   of a psalm, such as Psalm 50 when we are reminded that God knows where every single creature is in the fields – they are His.  On other days, even when I didn’t feel like saying a prayer, there were words coming to mind, and I  offered that prayer.

With spring’s arrival, our hope to find Tamar was waning; and yet, there was still the inclination to keep looking.            Although there was the reality that we might never see Tamar again, the prayers never stopped coming.   Sometimes the   words were, “Lord, if it is Your will, help us to rescue and heal her.”  On other days, the words seemed so simple,     “Lord, we all are in Your hands.  We are your creation.”   Everyday, there was the gift of peace — of prayer.

On a warm Saturday afternoon in early May, the phone rang.  A volunteer from the animal shelter was calling,
“We have a cat here who looks just like the picture of your cat, Tamar.
We found her about ten miles from your house.   Your cat was spayed, right?  This one has kittens.”

We never had the chance to have her spayed.  Could it be that eleven months later, we would find her?  I raced down     to the shelter.  As I identified her, there was not a dry eye in that cage-filled room..

There she was – matted, starving, sick, and mothering four one-week-old kittens. Tamar weighed only six pounds.        She was exhausted and filthy.   As soon as we could, we took all of them to the vet and then home.   A few days later, our
wonderful vet and friend, Dr. Phyllis Sill, was able to gently lower Tamar into warm water and bathe her, so she could help her heal.

Now several months later, during this Christmas season, our beautiful, healthy Tamar likes to rest under the Christmas tree with her daughter, Sonja, while her dear old friend, Komachi, sleeps contentedly on a nearby chair.

Since her kittens can boast of good Norwegian stock, we could give them good Norwegian names … Sven, Ole, Sonja, and Lena.  Sven and Lena are enjoying life in  Glenview, Illinois.  Ole now lives with good friends in Beloit, Wisconsin.  And Sonja is learning manners from  all of us — her loving family members, both human and feline.

Family and friends marvel that Tamar’s survival and return home are truly miracles.  We continue to thank God for all of His gifts.  Especially prayers and our litle homecoming  queen, Tamar!

— Sandy from Roscoe, IL