My name is Lisa Wei. I am 14 years old and am in the 9th grade at Reagan High School. I play volleyball and I used to run track. My parents are Yuchuan Wei and Ling Tang and I have an older sister named Jenny who recently graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill.
I’m sure many of you have a pet or have had a pet sometime in your life. Maybe it was your dog who was your best friend, or your pet fish who didn’t do much but you still cared about him. We all love the furry or not so furry friends that God planted into our lives. They keep us company and make us laugh throughout the years.
My first real pet was a black and gray, long haired cat named Jan Jan. I say “real pet” because I did have about 13 imaginary cats when I was really young. Anyway, it took a lot of pleading from 6 year old me and my sister Jenny for our parents to finally agree to get a cat. We promised that if we got a cat we would learn to get along and not fight as much.
Although we promised our parents, it didn’t take long before my older sister and I started to argue about who Jan Jan loved the most. I would always laugh when she bit my sister but she claimed they were bites of love. I refused to believe her until Jan Jan bit me.. Then I was like “oh yea they’re totally bites of love. She loves me so she bit me, duh.”
My parents weren’t big fans of animals to begin with and my mother definitely wasn’t a fan of the long haired cat who shed all over the house. My dad wasn’t too fond of her either but he enjoyed making up funny stories about what Jan Jan did while we were away. One of my favorites was the story of how Jan Jan met some geese and they taught her how to fly.
Jan Jan was an outdoor indoor cat but she always knew when to come home and she never stayed out for more than one or two days. In the winter of 2011, she stayed out for the longest she had ever been out before. We weren’t too worried because we just figured she had gotten lost and would return eventually. My dad told me that she was just playing with those geese and they were teaching her how to do flips and tricks in the sky.
About 4 days later she came back. But we noticed she had scratches all over her stomach. We thought she had gotten into a fight with another cat so we took her to the vet to make sure she hadn’t contracted any diseases. The vet informed us that he had good news and bad news. The good news was that Jan Jan did not have any diseases. The bad news was that she had a stomach tumor. He gave us medicine to ease the pain but before we could finish it Jan Jan left the house again.
This time she didn’t return. Almost a week later we found her dead, just outside of our neighborhood.
Jan Jan’s death really impacted me because I had wanted a cat for so long. For years afterwards, I was too scared to ask for another pet in fear of the same fate as Jan Jan’s. Now, though, I am the proud mother of two kittens who bring joy into my life every single day.
Of course, Jan Jan’s death was sad and I will never forget her, but I had my friends and family to get over the loss and most importantly I had God. One of my favorite Bible verses is Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” I like this verse because it shows that no matter what trials you may be going through, God will be with you every step of the way. Nothing that happens to you is unexpected. Everything is part of God’s intricate plan that only He could put together.
I know that Jan Jan is happy now in her eternal life flying with the geese up in heaven. This was all part of God’s plan for her and for me. Jan Jan’s passing taught me a valuable lesson of acceptance and now I know to cherish every single day with the people and animals around me.