Excerpted from Becoming His Beloved: Journey into the Father's Affection.

I had no brothers and sisters growing up so dogs and cats became my first playmates. When I was seven or eight, we had neighbors who had a long white haired cat. Their last name was Olson, so they named their cat Ola, Ola Olson.  When the husband finished his residency, they couldn’t take Ola with them, so Ola became our cat.   My mother loved cats, especially Ola.

One day, some years after I left home, the phone rang. The caller was a hysterical woman, who turned out to be my mother.  She was shrieking and saying all manner of unintelligible words. When she finally calmed down enough for us to understand her, she insisted that my husband and I come to her house immediately. Once we arrived, she led us to the washing machine and told us that she had washed a blanket. When the washer cycle was over, she opened the lid, retrieved the blanket and found a dead cat inside.  Apparently the cat had been sound asleep inside the blanket until his unfortunate demise inside the washing machine.

My mother didn’t always kill cats this way. As a single mother raising a child, money was tight, so she figured out a way to save money when one of her cats was dying. Instead of taking the cat to the vet, she somehow obtained a bottle of chloroform. Putting a small amount on a cloth, she held the cloth over the cat's face until...well, until kitty was very quiet. Then she buried the cat underneath a fruit tree and come summer, raved about how delicious the fruit was.

Later in her life, my mother’s love of cats became quite distorted.  Sometimes people who can’t get along with other people make up for their deficit by having lots of animals. Animals don't seem to mind when people are nasty, unlike people. Animals also have no way of escape. At some point, my mother decided that her cats shouldn’t go outside. Those prisoner cats got fatter and fatter from the lack of exercise. Besides being morbidly obese, they went crazy being cooped up in the house all the time. Their only recourse was to boycott the litter box in favor of relieving themselves wherever they pleased, which was just about everywhere in the house.  Over time, layer upon layer of feline urine smell penetrated every corner of her house. We could even smell the odor from the street, if we tried hard enough, or maybe it was just the way the acrid smell lingered in our noses and on our clothes.  The stench was so overpowering that most of her friends stopped visiting. We only visited when we had to, like when she laundered the cat.


GENEVA CHINNOCK is a writer and author of Becoming His Beloved: Journey into the Father’s Affection. Geneva has a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and a Master in Business Administration. In her spare time, Geneva loves reading, eating bacon and attending live theater. She lives in Southern California with her husband and blogs about matters of faith at