My Therapy Cat
I’m hard on myself to heal. It’s been two years since the trauma that set my life into a tailspin. Two years. Is that a long time or a short time? Somedays I’m emotionally drained and I take a nap, I beat myself up over it. Negative self-talk occurs, “Stop being lazy, there is so much to do before the kids get home from school.” Somedays I don’t want to focus on my life, so I plunge into a good book. Self-talk occurs again, “You could be playing a game with the kids.” I find relief in painting, its soothing to my soul and friends even compliment it! Self-sabotage is relentless…”You’re no artist, stop embarrassing yourself, art can’t really heal you.” And on and on and on.
I realize there is a lot happening here. Mental exhaustion. Spiritual strongholds. Self-sabotage. Long term effects from abuse, neglect and trauma. I have sat through enough therapy sessions to get a grip. I’m far from mastering my thoughts, someday I tell myself, I’ll get there. And then the neatest of all neats happens this morning. If you’re not a cat person, this may not intrigue you…
I love cats, most cats. Not Z’s friend’s cat who attacked me and clawed me through my jeans…so no, not all cats. Several years ago, we said good-bye to our second kitty that was hit by a car. My husband swore off any more cats, he was tired of digging graves. But Z and I love cats and longed for another. One day we begged Brett to stop by Pet Smart, we just wanted to hold a kitty, not get one. “please, please, please, we just NEED to hold and pet a kitty.” It’s true they are therapeutic. We win! We stand in front of the glass kitty prisons. They are sad. None fancy us so we are about to leave when Brett says, “look up there, in the corner.” Oh, my heavens! He is adorable. A little white puff ball nuzzled up in the corner of the cage. He is hiding and scared and does not want to be noticed. We must hold him! He is terrified but allows us to hold him without a fight. With a beaming face and excitement in her voice she turns to her Daddy and askes, “Daddy, can we get him?” And then to me and back to Dad…pleassse? To my delightful surprise he says YES! And so, our journey begins.
On our way home we all chatter about a name for our precious new family member. So many weird names like Alvin, my kids are weird. You don’t name kitties that! We pull into Little Caesars Pizza, Caesar, lets name him Caesar. Oh brother, are they serious? “You know Caesar Augustus and the Pax Romana.” It’s good to know they learned something during our homeschool years even if it is just the long 15-minute timeline song that mentions Caesar Augustus. They love it and all the kids agree. It’s not the name I would have picked, but they are happy.
Caesar moves in and is overwhelmed by the level of crazy in our home. I can’t say I blame him! We get a brief history on him. He is one of three kitties from a litter. One died, the other adopted. When he was first brought into the clinic he was covered in fleas, full of ear mites and very thin. He had not been loved. The ear mites, oh the ear mites. We care for him and make regular visits to the clinic til he has a clean bill of health. And yet he still isn’t full of life. He is reserved, guarded and rarely plays like most kitties. No ball chasing, feather batting, red dot chasing. Just sad isolated kitty.
This morning, Caesar bounces into my bed to wake me up and tell me it’s time to feed him. He is patient, most days. He is still not a cuddler, nor does he liked to be hugged. He also doesn’t cry; I mean meow until I get up. He just lays next to me and lets me pet him. Its then I realize…you are different. You are a happy kitty. You play. You are healing. I know, he is a CAT. But this morning, God opened my eyes to the time it takes to heal. We have had Caesar for three years and it’s just recently that he has become a different cat. He knows he can trust me…I feed him every day, I pet him, cuddles when I can. He is a Ragdoll breed and they love to be held upside down like a baby…it has taken some time, but he loves that now. That’s it…it’s taken time and consistency and trust building for him to heal. He can still be reserved, and he lets me know when he isn’t feeling well. He can still isolate, eat less, take long naps and play a lot less than usual…all indicators he isn’t feeling his best.
Caesar is my therapy cat. If kitty takes a while to heal, I think I can learn to be patient with myself to heal. He is helping me along the way. Petting his soft fur is relaxing as is his rare purr. I’m gentle with him. I should be gentle with myself. Healing is a long, painful process.