Blue Water Healthy Living

The Cat I Just Couldn’t Kill

By Michael L. Ritchie D.C.

I never grew up around cats and never much cared for them. Dogs were always much more lovable. You arrive home from a tough day at the office and it runs to your side waging its tail and kissing you as if to say, “welcome home dad!”  So, while deer hunting a few years ago in the north woods of Michigan I instinctively raised my bow as I saw a mangy feral cat slowly trudging up the lightly used two tracks. The feline appeared to be emaciated, head down, ribs showing, and its coat was shaggy as you would expect with malnutrition. Just when it was close enough to see “The whites of its eyes.” The pathetic look of death was in all over that poor animal and I thought to myself, “I can’t shoot this cat it looks too sad.”  I let the critter pass knowing that a coyote or fox would have something to eat instead of a whitetail fawn, rabbit or grouse. This cat wouldn’t survive in the wild long.

Throughout the next week, I thought about my feelings after the encounter with the unhealthy, unwanted, unattractive, invaluable creature. Why had I let it live? Unknowingly I had somehow acquired something that I didn’t possess before in much quantity. Compassion had been added to my character without my permission. My dad had always told me that if I wasn’t going to eat something “don’t kill it.” But cats that are wild are a menace! They are excellent hunters, reproduce effectively and are good at avoiding man. They catch and kill baby grouse, rabbits, pheasants and times can even catch the adults. They are like the wolves in the western states who are no more than bullies stealing my lunch and there is nothing I can do about it. I vowed that if I saw any more cats on my hunting property, they would use up one of their 9 lives.

The bible says that before we met Christ we were just like that mangy cat!

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 Romans 3:11-18

11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.

12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.

13 Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips:

14 Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness:

15 Their feet are swift to shed blood:

16 Destruction and misery are in their ways:

17 And the way of peace have they not known:

18 There is no fear of God before their eyes.


We were deserving of death!

But God did an amazing thing! He had compassion on us who didn’t deserve compassion. Because God is just, payment had to be made for our sin. Because He had compassion on us He sent his own Son to pay the price. Romans puts it this way;

Romans 5:8

 But God commended his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.


God just couldn’t kill us! He had compassion!

The next week I was sitting in the same tree stand and guess who comes by to visit me? You guessed it, my little scrawny feline friend. I began to raise my bow in preparation for the shot as the cat approached my location. Something was different this time though, instead of the pathetic death march the cat’s head was held high and it was carrying a mouse in its mouth. At the moment of truth, I said to myself, “ I can’t shoot this thing it looks too happy!” Foiled by compassion again! Not a good trait for a hunter in some ways.

God expects us to be compassionate though mostly with other people.

Colossians 3:12-15

12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.

13 Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.

14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.


I asked myself how am I doing in that department when it comes to my family, church family, neighbors, friends, and acquaintances? Is my gratitude for God’s unmerited favor being expressed in my compassion for others? It could be better.

That cat taught me a valuable lesson; I just couldn’t kill it.

Fill me Holy Spirit

I looked inside and found no kindness there
Others needs so unaware

I looked for goodness what did I find…
A little bit but none was mine

No peace, joy or faithfulness
Little fruit of patience or gentleness

No self-control and I wondered why
Where was the Love for which He died

No wonder my life is such a mess
I was consumed with my own selfishness

My sin so heavy I can’t bear it
Forgive me Lord, please fill me Holy Spirit!

Michael L. Ritchie D.C. 3/1/2014

Galatians 5:22-25
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires.
25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.

The next article, “More than just killing,” I will do my best to explain my view of hunting.

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