The Cat’s Meow

“One small cat changes coming home to an empty house to coming home.”

 –Pam Brown

The last few months has been about change.  These changes have been both externally and internally.  Moving back to my hometown has been difficult coming back to very vivid memories about my abuse.  But I’ve also gained a healthy relationship with an animal that, for the last few months, has been just what the doctor ordered.  Coco is my cat that I adopted a few months ago.  I have already written about her in an earlier post titled Yay Team Coco!!!  So, this is not another introduction post about her. 

This is a post, however, that is about things that I’ve noticed about her and us as we learn how to function as a team.  It has also taught me how to work better with my system and to have more patience while we continue to heal emotionally.  Coco is my “ride or die” companion and has brought me a big helping of love in a way that has made me flourish amid all the growing pains.  Nothing upsets her more than me crying.  She’ll pace around me meowing until I let her know, in some way, that I’m ok.  If I’m not ok, she’ll walk up to me knowing that I need to pick her up and to get a hug in a way that only she and I connect emotionally.

One of the many hurdles I’ve had to overcome in therapy is doing something as simple as picking up the phone and calling my coach when I need help.  After seeing a very abusive therapist for 2.5 years, being able to make a phone call was monumental.  I do, however, remember a time when sending a text was next to impossible.  I don’t pick up the phone very often and make that call.  But sometimes is better than no times.  I credit the relationship that Coco and I have built together with the ability to learn to trust again in different areas of my life.

Coco does have her cuteness ways about her that I’ve noticed.  There was one day when I was going through more moving boxes and I opened the box that had all my stuffed animals.  One by one I tossed them on my bed paying very little attention to any particular one.  I threw the box out and went on about my way.  A little while later I look to see that Coco had one in her mouth carrying it across the room.  It was a homely looking bunny that had suddenly become her personal stuffy.  And oh, how she loves her bunny.  More than once I’ve caught her sleeping with bunny with her paw gently securing her by her side. And She will also take the time to groom bunny as well. 

Most of the time it’s me and Coco having conversations about what she needs to quit doing and developing her cat manners.  This is what we work on until she decides that a break is needed from watching the outside world.  This is when she jumps in the crate covered by her favorite blanket and takes a much-needed nap complete with bunny in tow.  And when therapy time rolls around her job is to be close to me in whatever way that looks like.  And for me…. I keep putting forth the effort to continue getting better knowing that sometimes it takes passing an emotional kidney stone to make that happen.

#thispuzzledlife

Yay Team Coco!!!!!

Yay Team Coco!!!

“Until one has loved an animal a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.”
–Anatole France

I’ve taken a little break from writing these past few weeks. The last couple of posts were prepared ahead of time in anticipation of knowing that a break in my life was just beyond my sight. And again, I was right. Sometimes things just go wrong no matter what all you attempt to do right. Not long after I had written the post, Her Name Is Marley, things would take a sharp turn south. Marley and I had been bonding and we were bonding tightly. She was cute, sweet, and cuddly. My days of having a sweet kitten in my life were many years overdue. She made my heart smile. But there was something hiding from me, Marley, and the doctors. Marley was sick in a way that I couldn’t love it out of her no matter how much we both wanted. Being sick with intestinal worms and low blood sugar were just symptoms of a much bigger issue. Within a two-week time period that was costly both emotionally and financially we were hit hard. And my little Marley was in the fight for her life.
I couldn’t have asked for more of a very caring staff from the local veterinary office. Marley, more than once, would lay almost lifeless in my arms while the tears streamed down my face hoping that my breaking heart would somehow fix the issues at hand. I could hear the concern in each one of the staff’s voice every time, I would call to check on her. Then suddenly, she appeared like nothing was wrong. She was also about half the size of a normal kitten her age. Within a couple of days, she was in the condition of being nearly dead. The cycle was gut wrenching and incredibly tiring. More than once I was up all night with Marley providing care and just making sure she would make it through the night. But she was miserable from her daily fight for life.

As a pet owner, your mind and heart can make you question humane treatment versus a sometimes-selfish want to keep your animal alive. I had finally come to the time when I asked the doctors, “How much do I need to continue to put her through?” They wanted to take her home to observe her condition closer before giving me any kind of answer. For the weekend, she went home with them and I took my concern and exhausted mind and body to bed for a little respite care. And as the cycle would again repeat itself. Fluids, glucose, and other medications were just prolonging the inevitable and they saw it as well. Marley’s condition would never be ok. I was told that she had a condition with her liver that would never get better. I took my broken heart and prepared myself to be without her. I remember little about those last couple of days. I was truly heartbroken and didn’t want another animal. I just didn’t think that my heart could bare to love another kitten or puppy of any kind. My connection with Marley had been deep and I didn’t want to feel that ever again.

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The universe and my coach seemed to see how much I need the unconditional love like the kind freely given to us by animals. Somehow, they both seemed to try convincing and push me emotionally into just giving the idea some consideration. I was mad at them both. I resigned myself to the thought but decided that I would not actively look for a kitten. If I were to reconnect, a kitten would just have to show up in my life. And that’s exactly what happened.

A litter of kittens had been found under a house and the momma cat had been shot and killed. A good Samaritan took the kittens to the vet and they were looking for homes. There was only one female and she would be mine. I couldn’t believe how big she was. She was normal size for a healthy kitten. Nevertheless, she seemed to pick up right where Marley’s love left off. It took her a couple of days to realize that she could safely be a kitten around me. And it took me a couple of days to realize that she would love me if I would let her.

One of the issues I have is allowing others to love me. The many years of abuse and love demonstrated the wrong way has caused me to put up emotional walls around my heart. I’ve found that love coming from some people has conditions. And what I’ve needed for many years is to be shown and taught the concept of love after abuse. And this little kitten that I fought so hard to not find appears to be just what the therapist ordered. For me, the connection with animals has always been easier and safer than the connection with people.
The first hurdle in our relationship was to give her a name that was meant for her. I watched her for a few days while also searching through lists of names. A 5-year-old alter kept shouting her obligatory pleas to watch one of her favorite children movies by Disney. And the title that also allowed her to keep part of a connection with Albuquerque and the Hispanic culture was Coco. This little kitten seems to look like a Coco to me. I have battle wounds from our many hours of playing. And my heart bares the pawprints for every minute she’s loved me through my tears and wounds that are and are not seen.
Every therapy session she’s close to me and usually sleeping at my feet with her paws touching my foot. She seems to understand that her job is to be by my side when my many tears fall. And so far, her daily work opportunities have been plentiful. As my heart continues to heal and the growing pains continue to hurt, we continue to be a dynamic duo. The pieces of my puzzling life are still being found.
#thispuzzledlife