Dr. Sawyer Serving with Samaritan's Purse

Dr. Sawyer Serving with Samaritan's Purse
Papua New Guinea

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Tiger, the Missionary Cat

Tiger, the first missionary cat from
Jiwaka Provence to the Enga Provence in
Papua New Guinea
Tiger is the first missionary cat from the newly formed Jiwaka Provence to the Hewa Tribe in the Enga Provence.  Tiger was named by her human mother, Margret Mugang, the director of the operating theatre at Kudjip Nazarene Hospital.  On June 7 Margret brought Tiger with our team to the airport at Mount Hagen.  Tiger was medicated to make the flight a little easier.  We boarded the Mission Aviation Fellowship flight from Mount Hagen to the Fiyawana airstrip forty minutes away.  Due to poor visibility that day, we ended up spending the night in the abandoned house of missionaries Jonathan and Susan Kopf.

We wanted a safe place for Tiger, so we put her in Mikayla Kopf's former bedroom and closed the door.  In the middle of the night, my wife Teresa awoke to the sound of rats running around in the rafters.  She then was aware of the same sound coming from Mikayla's bedroom, but also another set of feet running.  As she listened to all of the commotion coming from Mikayla's room, she realized that Tiger was chasing a rat inside the bedroom and also worried that since she was only a kitten that perhaps the rat was chasing Tiger.

After a few minutes of all of the scurrying around the room she heard a loud thump, and then everything was quiet. She wondered if Tiger had killed the rat; or if the rat had killed Tiger.  The next morning we opened the door to find Tiger sound asleep inside of her carrier; quite content.  There was no sign of a rat feast to be found.

Dr. Becky Morsch tries to
introduce Tiger to Rascal.
The next day Tiger made the trip with our team in the helicopter to her new home at Yifififiki in the home of missionaries Jonathan and Susan Kopf.  Dr. Becky Morsch made a nice effort to try to introduce Tiger to her new house mates, but Tiger refused to shake paws.

The first night Tiger had an upset stomach.  Susan Kopf had made a bed for herself on the kitchen floor (partly because there were 14 people crammed into their tiny home and partly because she wanted to be available to care for the newly arrived kitten.)  In the middle of the night Susan stirred in her sleep and moved her arms onto her abdomen, only to feel a pool of warm liquid on her abdomen.  She got up to clean herself and determined the fluid was what she had suspected; Tiger had indeed had an upset stomach and had diarrhea while she had been sleeping on Susan's stomach.

Susan changed and was tiptoeing back to bed  when she stepped into another pool of warm fluid on the kitchen floor.  She hopped back into the bathroom and cleaned her foot and then cleaned the kitchen floor.  She thought it was best if Tiger spent the night outside in her carrier, so she picked up Tiger and noticed that Tiger had a distended abdomen.  It almost felt like a
Tiger hunting for bugs.
balloon inside of Tiger's belly.  In the delirium of being awoken in such a fashion in the middle of the night, she wasn't thinking clearly, and investigated the cause of the swelling by giving Tiger's belly a gentle squeeze.  That was a bad decision, as it caused more diarrhea to come squirting out of Tiger's belly onto Susan's nightgown.  Susan later told me she could only say, "Really?!  REALLY???" and took Tiger outside and then went back inside to find yet another change of clothes.

Although Susan is a missionary living in the middle of the jungles of Papua New Guinea, there are two things that she hates.  She hates bugs and she hates rats...and the jungle is full of both of them.  They rely on cats living inside of their home to kill the bugs and the rats.  She explained that she trains new kittens to kill rats by letting them first play with a dead rat that they have caught in a trap.  Then they cut open the rat and let the kittens taste the blood of a rat.  After that the kittens learn quickly to become ratters.  

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