It was a most pleasant sunny day when Lindy Jonville walked down the long gravel driveway from the house on their 10 acre farm to the mailbox.  She was taking the mail out of the box when something on the side of the road (about a 100 feet away) caught her attention.  She dropped the mail and ran to what she felt certain was their big black cat, Mr. Fluffy.  Even though there wasn’t a mark on him, it was obvious he had been hit by a car and was no longer alive.

Lindy picked up Mr. Fluffy, holding him close; she was about halfway back up the driveway to the house when her 3 children, hearing their mother’s sobs, came running to her.  Within seconds, a chorus of tears joined their mother’s.  Mr. Fluffy was a most loveable and treasured member of the Jonville family.  Mr. Fluffy’s big black furry coat made him look like a fluffy cuddly boutique-store stuffed animal which is how he got his name.

When Mr. Jonville got home, it was immediately apparent by the looks on his wife and children’s faces something was wrong.  He was saddened by the news about Mr. Fluffy as you could tell by the moisture in his eyes.

After about 30 minutes commiserating with his family over the loss of Mr. Fluffy, Mr. Jonville walked out to the workshop next to the horse barn and went to work.  He made a most attractive wooden box to bury Mr. Fluffy in that clearly showed just how much Mr. Fluffy was loved.  He then gave the same attention to detail in making a grave marker for Mr. Fluffy.

Then he dug a grave in the field next to the horse barn.  Before buying Mr. Fluffy, each member of the family said something in loving memory of their dear cat, starting with 5-year old Logan; then 8-year old Kayla, and finally 10-year old McKenna.  Mr. and Mrs. Jonville (who were taking turns videoing Mr. Fluffy’s burial) each said a prayer giving thanks to the Lord for all the love and enjoyment Mr. Fluffy had given their family.

When they got back to the house the children had lots of questions for their parents.  Was it true cats had 9 lives like they heard their friends say?  Mr. Jonville tried to explain to them that was just some fable, which is usually a legendary story mostly about animals which someone made up that was passed down from generation to generation.  Seldom was there any truth to the story.

Logan asked if cats went to heaven when they died like sheep did.  Lindy Jonville asked, where did you hear something like that?  He said his Sunday School teacher was talking about Jesus’ sheep and how they would have eternal life.

Mrs. Jonville smiled.  She said I’m sure your teacher was referring to John 10:27-28 in the Bible.  Jesus said – “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them and they follow me.  And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish, neither shall anyone snatch them out of my hand.”  She explained that in this verse Jesus was not talking about animals but was using the term “sheep” for people who love the Lord and follow Him as their shepherd just like real sheep follow their shepherds.  She then read them the 23rd Psalms Scottish version which really makes it come alive more like originally written perhaps.

Eight year old Kayla asked since John 3:16 says “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” – since cats are part of this world God created does that mean they will have everlasting life also?  Mr. Jonville smiled at the insight and sincere innocence he felt coming from his daughter’s question.  He then explained that the word “world” as used here meant all of mankind created by God.

Mr. and Mrs. Jonville tried to explain to the children animals don’t have a soul like humans who were made in God’s image.  In Genesis 1:26 where God says He made us (mankind) in His own image, He is not referring to a physical image since God is spirit, but He made us with a soul and spirit in order to have fellowship with us as a reflection of God’s intellect and holiness.  Because all of humanity’s DNA is connected back to Adam and Eve and their believing Satan’s lie, their sin separated them from the perfect relationship they had with god.  We all show the effects of sin morally, socially, physically, mentally, and of course spiritually.  However because of God’s love He sent His son Jesus to save us from our sin by His sacrificial death on the cross in our place so we can be redeemed and restored to fellowship with God by accepting Jesus as our Lord and Savior.

Since the wages of sin are eternal separation from God in total darkness and solitude in a horrible place called Hell, we can rejoice knowing we have eternal life in a glorious place where there will be laughter and good times and happiness forever and ever with Jesus who loves us and gave His all for us so we can have eternal life.

They explained that even though the Bible doesn’t say anything about animals being in heaven, they couldn’t answer that question.  However, since God is love, we might be surprised to find our loveable Mr. Fluffy will be in heaven with us.  We’ll just have to make sure we have accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior and are in heaven ourselves in order to find out if animals are there too.

After a long conversation, they first called their grandmother to tell her the sad news about Mr. Fluffy.  Then they posted the news about Mr. Fluffy on their social media site along with the video of his burial.  It wasn’t long before friends, relatives and even strangers were calling and messaging them with condolences and expressing what a fitting and heartfelt burial they had for Mr. Fluffy which clearly showed how much they loved him.

Even though Mrs. Jonville didn’t feel like preparing dinner after this day’s events, she began taking food out of the refrigerator and cupboards and turning the stove on, she reminded the children of their duty in feeding their other pets after dinner which consisted of 2 dogs and one other cat which they loved as much as Mr. Fluffy.

As soon as dinner was over, Mr. and Mrs. Jonville went and sat down in the family room as the children put water and food in their pets dishes.  They didn’t have the same enthusiasm in feeding their pets as they normally had without Mr. Fluffy in the family anymore.

Once they got the pets dishes prepared, they opened the door to the kitchen to let them in.  The first one to come bounding in the door was Teddy, their Scottish sheepdog.  He was followed by Honey, their cocker spaniel, then Wiskers, their pretty Siamese cat, and last, but not least, Mr. Fluffy.  MR. FLUFFY! – the children all screamed at once.  They all tried to pick up and hug Mr. Fluffy at the same time.  The children were so excited they were jumping up and down, giggling and crying tears of joy!

They picked up Mr. Fluffy and went running into the family room, screaming with delight as they entered the room.  LOOK – they all yelled at the same time – it’s our Mr. Fluffy, it really is him.  Mr. and Mrs. Jonville sprang to their feet as if a bolt of lightening had struck the seat of their chairs, or perhaps an even more personal seat.  They looked at Mr. Fluffy and then at each other as if they had seen a ghost.  Never having seen a ghost, and especially a black one, they had blank looks on their faces which expressed total shock.  Then they looked at each other – unable to say a word.  Then the same thought crossed both of their minds that very second. 

The family that had given them Mr. Fluffy also gave Mr. Fluffy’s twin to their next door neighbor who lived a short distance down the road, Mrs. McGuilacutty.  They were still standing there speechless when the phone rang.  Talk about a coincidence, it was Mrs. McGuilacutty, the town busybody who talks faster than the speed of light without taking a breath – not someone they really wanted to hear from at the moment.

She saw the post and video of Mr. Fluffy’s burial on their social media site. She seemed more upset that the Jonville’s children believed something as ridiculous as cats having 9 lives than she did about their loss of Mr. Fluffy.  What kind of parents are you that you let your kids believe something like that, she rattled on.  Mr. Jonville was trying to explain to her that the children knew cats didn’t have 9 lives.  What 10-year old McKenna had posted on their social media site was how she wished it was true because of their love for Mr. Fluffy, not that she thought it was true.

Mrs. McGuilacutty was talking so fast Mr. Jonville was getting more frustrated by the second, knowing full well she did not hear a word he was saying.  The harder he tried to get in a word, the louder and faster she talked.  Being a good listener was definitely not one of her traits.  As a matter of fact, what she did hear was only what she wanted to hear, and even then, seldom was it what a person meant, true, or certainly didn’t want broadcast.

Finally, after what seemed like eternity listening to Mrs. McGuilacutty rattle on, she paused for a second.  A very rare occurrence which caught all the Jonville’s by surprise.  Since Mr. Jonville had his cell phone speaker on, the whole family had been listening to her call.  For a brief moment, they all thought she had hung up.

Then in a most somber tone that didn’t sound at all like her, they heard Mrs. McGuilacutty say “I worry all the time about my cat Midnight, Mr. Fluffy’s twin.  There is no way in the world I could endure a burial for Midnight like you had for Mr. Fluffy.  I would be too distraught to handle something like that if anything happened to my cat like happened to yours.”

Mr. Jonville, for the first time, was able to get in a word so he made it quick knowing full well this opportunity wouldn’t last long.  He said, Mrs. McGuilacutty, I’ve been trying to tell you, Mr. Fluffy is alive.  He really is!  The kids are so excited – they are playing with him right now.

So much for Mrs. McGuilacutty’s somber momentary mood.  She went balistic moving quickly into verbal high gear, speaking so loud they could have heard her without a cell phone.

Mrs. McGuilacutty yelled “Have you lost your mind Mr. Jonville.  Why would you say something so outrageous?  You’re just making fun of me trying to make me think cats really do have 9 lives, aren’t you.”  Mr. Jonville, who by now was totally exhausted by Mrs. McGuilacutty’s phone call and accusations, said “No I’m not making fun of you.  But since you said you could never handle a burial for your cat Midnight like we had for Mr. Fluffy, well, I have good news for you.”  What’s that, she asked angrily.  “That’s one less thing you will have to worry about, Mr. Jonville said.  We took care of it for you!  All we have to do is change the name on the grave marker – our mistake – sorry about that!”  There was total silence coming from Mrs. McGuilacutty’s side of the phone.  “Mrs. McGuilacutty, Mrs. McGuilacutty, Mr. Jonville asked – are you still there,” to which there was no reply!

Little 5-year old Logan spoke up saying maybe the cats got her tongue, like Grandpa asks me when I don’t answer Mom and Dad when they call me or say thanks to my sisters when they do something nice for me” which made the whole family break out in laughter.  Ten year old McKenna replied – well, if that’s the case, let’s hope its true and cats do have 9 lives, especially when it comes to Mrs. McGuilacutty.

That was a day the Jonvilles will never forget and still laugh about to this day, giving thanks to the Lord that even though cats don’t have 9 lives, they give thanks for the one life Mr. Fluffy does have.  Then they said a heartfelt prayer for Mrs. McGuilacutty saying even though Mrs. McGuilacutty was a challenge to everyone that knew her, they acknowledged God loves her as much as he loves everyone, no matter our faults.

“You mean faults like burying the wrong cat,” 8-year old Kayla asked as she looked at her parents with a big smile on her face!

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