And the friendly beasts around Jesus stood …


370-lb Bengal tiger greets toddler at Cougar Mountain Zoo, Issaquah, WA

A 370-lb Bengal tiger greets a toddler at the Cougar Mountain Zoo, Issaquah, WA. (Image courtesy Cougar Mountain Zoo)

Do you remember the children’s hymn about Jesus and “The Friendly Beasts”?

When a fellow blogger posted this image today, I had to share it with you. It is such a wonderful picture of God’s creation more nearly as God intends it to be … that wonderful time we look forward to when “the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion … and a little child shall lead them. … They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea” (Isaiah 11:6, 9)

A Cat Whisperer

My husband calls me the “cat whisperer” because I am so committed to understanding our two cats. We both chuckle that the little tiger (Irish) is very much a Tigger, bouncing and bounding all over the house and turning the most unusual objects into toys. His favorite for several months has been a red-and-black bike helmet pad, which he tosses and carries and brings to us for games of fetch. So we both are entertained by his play. But I’m the one who noticed that he can’t see his black brother, Coltrane, when Coltrane is in his navy blue basket … even though Coltrane is purring deeply … and that even though Irish is sniffing at the air, he decides that no cat is there.

Irish has bad eyes. I know it without a vet’s confirmation. And he’s not the “scaredy cat” my husband calls him: he just can’t tell if a sudden movement is dangerous or not because he can’t see what’s happening well enough.

A Cat Whisperer in the Making?

So when I saw this photo of a Bengal tiger greeting a toddler at the Cougar Mountain Zoo, I had to wonder: was the cat recognizing a cat-whisperer in the making?

“A little child shall lead them.” Peace.

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About Carlene Byron

Writer, editor, publicist, communications project manager ... I've written technology and infrastructure; I used to edit New England Church Life and The New England Christian and I've freelanced to publications ranging from Commonweal to Christianity Today. I'm now living in my hometown in Maine and am speaking about global perspectives on suicide prevention.
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