Photo by Mark Turnauckas on Flickr CC BY 2.0

Did you hear about the “prison break” at a Houston, Texas animal shelter recently?

A cunning criminal had been opening the heavy door of the senior cats’ enclosure for several nights in a row, setting the captives free to roam the shelter. Each morning, workers at the Friends for Life Animal Rescue would arrive to find the door mysteriously opened, and would have to wrangle the 15 cats back into their room.

The staff were stumped at who could be responsible for the feline jail break. It was only when they looked at footage from the building’s security cameras that they were able to crack the case.

The identity of the culprit came as a shock.

It turned out that one of the shelter cats, Quilty by name, had figured out how to jump up and pull down the door handle to the cats’ “cell.” Having freed himself and his comrades, Quilty would then lead his furry friends on night-time escapades around the shelter.

Quilty, a clever and mutinous six-year-old male cat, apparently has a history of facilitating daring escapes. At his previous home, he was known to let the dog out of the house. At the shelter, he once tried to escape out of a window. He’d also follow humans out of the shelter’s cat room multiple times a day.

The shelter actually had to put Quilty in “solitary confinement” for a time while they installed child-proof locks on the door of the cat enclosure. All this to foil his Houdini-like antics and after-hours insurrections.

When Friends for Life Animal Rescue posted reports of Quilty’s quest for freedom on their Facebook page, the story quickly went viral. The post garnered more than 20,000 likes, 11,000 comments, and 18,000 shares.

This feline escape artist is now an Internet darling with an Instagram account dedicated to him. The #FreeQuilty movement took off, with the account already gathering more than 50,000 followers.

It’s no surprise that Quilty’s insistence on trying to break free from captivity endeared him to people and won him fans. We all love stories like Quilty’s. But why do we?

Perhaps it’s because we all have inside of us a yearning to be free. Maybe not from an actual prison, but from other things that keep us captive. We might want freedom from an addiction, from something holding us back from achieving our dreams, or from other “chains” that are putting limits on us.

We not only desire freedom ourselves, we also love rooting for others who are struggling for freedom. We cheer them on, and applaud them when they shake off their chains and achieve their goals.

Did you know there’s cheering in Heaven when someone is set free from their sins? The very angels of Heaven cheer you on when you win freedom through Christ:

“There will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who don’t need to repent.” (Luke 15:7)

Why do the angels rejoice? Because they know that “if the Son sets you free, you are free indeed” (John 8:36). They know that Jesus came to earth to set the captives free (Luke 4:18), to give us abundant life here (John 10:10), and to give us eternal life in Heaven (John 3:16).

That’s something to celebrate.

I think we can say there’s a #Free[insert your name] movement in Heaven!


After a trial “sleepover” for a week with a potential adoptive family, it looks like Quilty has finally won his freedom and found his forever home. His page on the Friends for Life Animal Rescue site now has a red “Adopted” label on it.

Quilty’s new family reports that he’s settling in well and loves to snuggle. He now gratefully accepts tummy rubs, something he never allowed at the shelter. Looks like he’s responding to their love and acceptance.

Congratulations, Quilty, on finding your forever home! Your new family sounds awesome!

Have you found your forever home? There’s a Heavenly father waiting with open arms to shower you with love and acceptance. He wants to adopt you into His family. He wants to set you free from your sins, and has provided a way of escape for you through His Son Jesus.

Will you walk through the door that’s been opened for you?

We’re rooting for you!

© 2019 Lori J. Cartmell

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