“The Faith of a Child,” Ensign, June 2002, 69–70
A few years ago in October, our black Labrador gave up her doghouse when our mother cat decided to move in with her litter of six kittens. The mother cat had five healthy kittens and one runt. The runt was a homely calico, but because of her small size the children gave her extra attention and made sure she was not bullied out of line during feeding time. This extra attention created a special bond between my children and the kitten.
By November, the kittens were ready to eat dry cat food, and they seemed to enjoy it. We thought we were putting out enough food for all the kittens, so we quit paying as much attention to the runt.
On a cold, rainy evening a week later, I brought food to the kittens and took a flashlight to look in on them. As I counted the kittens, I noticed the runt was missing. Looking around, I found her in the small, covered wooden box in which the kittens had been born. Apparently she had become ill during the day, and the mother cat had moved her away from the rest of the kittens.
When I found her, the small kitten was lying on her side, almost dead. She was wet, cold, and so weak she could hardly make a sound. When I picked her up, I saw how malnourished she had become. Although I was sure the kitten would die within a few hours or even minutes, I decided to try to save her.
I took her into the house and, with my children, bathed the frail kitten with warm water and dried her in front of the heater, making sure she did not get too hot. The kitten did not seem to be breathing, and the only way we could tell there was life in the small body was when it occasionally twitched.
My nine-year-old daughter, Kristine, became very upset at the thought of the runt dying. This was the special kitten she had watched over from the day it was born to ensure that it received a full portion at mealtime. Now it was going to die, simply from a week’s lack of attention.
Looking up at me, Kristine asked if we could say a prayer for the runt. I am not in the habit of praying for sick cats, but I told Kristine she could say a prayer if she wanted to. She left the room, but soon my wife came in and told me Kristine wanted to have a family prayer for the kitten.
I gathered our family of five into the living room near the kitten and offered the prayer. I asked Heavenly Father, if it was His will, to intervene on the kitten’s behalf. I also asked that if the kitten was to die, that it would go quickly and in peace.
As soon as I said “Amen” the kitten took a deep breath, lifted its head, and made a soft cry. I couldn’t believe it. This was the first sign of life we had seen from the kitten since I’d brought it in. Within minutes the cat was strong enough to drink milk from a bowl. By the next day it was able to rejoin its litter mates, and the children took special care to feed the runt separately from the other kittens until we found her a good home.
That night, I learned that the simple faith of a child can bring forth miracles. This was a miracle of no apparent importance—except to a child. Though only nine years old, Kristine truly understood and had faith in the power of prayer.