Living with cats has opened up many points within me that I was completely unprepared for, exactly as walking this process is opening up points about myself, that continuously expands my understanding of myself and of this world and reality. When we got the two cats to come live with us I had no idea that they would become such an influence in my life. Firstly I made a lot of mistakes in the beginning, where I was not sufficiently aware of “whom” they were. (I am pushing myself to stop saying “my” cats, as they are not “mine” or “my property” just like the body is not “mine” but me)
For example, when they came here, it was right when I had gotten a new full time job and I was studying full time as well, which meant that I would not be home full time, as what is in fact required when two cat babies that have just left their mom to live in a new environment come to live with you. So I had to cancel some work, but we also left them home alone in situations where there was no other option. I do not suggest doing that though.
Thus this is something I have learned: when acquiring an animal, make sure to schedule your work so that you can stay home for at least the first 3 weeks to take care of the animal. And in general to not take any chances of leaving stuff around. It requires awareness and being here to live with an animal – and in general.
Next was the subject of food, which continuously has been a point of discussion between my partner and I, where we are still not entirely sure what the best food is in fact. One cat likes dry food, but has gotten fat and the other prefers raw meat. So that is what we give them now.
Through reading and investigating in books and online, cross-referencing with other books and the veterinarian I came up with solutions that fitted the cats, myself and our home-environment. One of the best purchases has been a book about alternative health care for cats.
A prominent point that has emerged through me living with and caring for the cats has been the activation of the “mother-system”. This has surprised me quite a lot as I was not aware how extensively this system existed within me. Daily I experience guilt and worry that they are not okay, happy or satisfied and that it is my fault if they’re not. The one cat being fat is ironically due to this very system, where I have wanted to do what is best for her, and in that interpreted what she wanted as best, while it was in fact abusive because it was not supportive for her body.
Points with my partner have also emerged where I went straight into the relationship system that I have seen activated in so many couples, where the women would worry and be controlling and where the man would seem indifferent, not caring and passive.
The guilt particularly has surprised me and I immediately recognized it as the “mother system” even though I don’t have children myself. It didn’t matter – I experienced the same. Whether it is less intense than what a mother experiences, I am not aware.
Points of competition has also emerged between my partner and I where he felt jealous because the cats mostly was with me, as I, in the beginning was the one that talked with them the most, gave them food, cuddled and emptied their litter boxes. Lol – my partner says that I am a Christian when it comes to the cats, meaning that I take my responsibility very seriously.
it is quite interesting this idea of cats being “rude” when they act in ways that we as humans would not do and consider rude if another human did it. Our female cat peed in the bed for a long time and we realized that it was anxiety. So we bought feliway cat feromones and she immidately stopped. When cats does these thing, it is logical from the perspective of who they are as cats and where they are in their process. To “teach them a lesson” is nearly impossible. Therefore I have found that the only thing I can do if there is something I don’t want them to do, is to structure my physical living space in such a way that I “work around them”, considering their inclinations and behaviors. Thus – when humans define cats as being rude, it is due to “myths” created around cats (like the dog being stupid) – that is in fact projections from our own human nature, where we will see cats as “calculating” and deliberately spiteful, when in fact they are simply behaving as cats.
From when they were small I walked with them without a leash. We tried the leash and walking together my partner and me with them, but that did not work, so instead I started walking them every morning for 1 hour. We live on the 4. Floor in an apartment building where we either have to take the elevator or walk down staircases that have these gaping gaps in between. Many times I have experienced an intense fear that they would fall over as they ventured to the edge of the stair case. When they were small, we went out when there was no so many people outside, but as they got older, they became more and more scared of people.
They had some experiences where they got “caught” because someone came and the male cat got his head stuck in a door once trying to escape some people. When the winter and snow came I went away for a week and when I came back, the cats refused to go out. I am not sure what exactly it is, but it seems to be a combination of me, as their stability point not being home for a week, where we would normally walk at the exact time every day to my partner being with them and doing things completely differently. Now they simply refuse to go out. A couple of times I have gotten them out but they quickly want to go in again. Before they wanted to be out for hours and would stand waiting by the door for me to take them. This too, I have experienced much guilt for, not knowing exactly what I or we have done wrong, since they are not scared of going out. Ideally they are supposed to go out by themselves, but I am not sure that will happen until we live in a house, where they can come and go as they please. So we will see when spring comes.
Now, two days ago I excitingly brought home two big paper bags for the cats to play with. They were very excited as well and immediately started playing with them. I had read that one should be careful as they can get caught in the handles and it was my plan to remove these before letting them play with them. I was working on a new toy for them that I thought they would love and so I let them play with the bags while I finished it. Suddenly behind me, Cheeky, the male cat had gotten caught in a handle and was panicking.
He started running around in the entire apartment in a frenzy of panic. I yelled to my partner to do something as I chased after the cat that ran under chairs, bed, tables. Eventually I caught him and was able to hold him so that I could get the back off him, but by then he was in a total panic. The rest of the day and then next day he refused to come out. He hid under the bed or under a dresser where he squeezed his entire big 7 month old cay body under. He would not eat or go to the litter box. When he did come out the next day and I felt his body, it felt completely different. Where before he had been somewhat of a daredevil and was always up for games and fun, he had now been transformed into this shivering anxious being. He shivered for hours and it looked like he was continuously going through the experience again and again. Any noise will startle him now that he before couldn’t care less about and he is not up for playing much. His body feels soft where it before felt.
I ended up buying Arnica and Bach’s rescues remedy, to forms of homeopathic medicine, which is legal to buy here in Sweden (In Denmark it is not). I have been giving it to him three times pr. Day and slowly I have started seeing improvements.
What was cool is that just before this event, I had read a blog by Maite that actually assisted me to act in an entirely different way than I normally would have. In the blog Maite talks about how comforting an animal (or a child) can in fact be abusing towards them instead of supporting them, because what one is doing by for example hugging them when they are experiencing fear, is to connect the sense of fear and anxiety to the comfort of a hug and that the animal is thus not supported to see that the fear is not real and that they can support themselves to walk through the experience and simply stand up. If we cuddle the animal or child and embrace in a hug, it is the same as validating their fear and giving them a place to hide.
I can see how I have been doing this with the cats, and what is interesting is that I have noticed that cats are not pack animals. How I have noticed this is that when they experience something as dangerous, they do not run to me and hide behind me or run to each other – they run in each their direction. Essentially they only trust themselves. So by taking them up and cuddling and hugging them when they experience fear, one is actually supporting the continuation of fear as well as creating a relationship of dependency, similar as parents does with children. In this I have furthermore noticed that I have felt good for being able to give them comfort and as such have wanted to be the one that gave them comfort, rather than allowing themselves to face themselves. This is one way that parents bind children to them, emotionally as well as financially by creating a fake dependence and an acceptance of fear instead of actually supporting the child to stand up.
This is no different from how we exist within ourselves in relation to fear and how we are taught to suppress and hide ourselves and comply to fear rather than facing ourselves within and as it. On the Desteni Forum and in the Desteni I Process assist exactly with this, where traditional psychology teaches us to “cope” with the fear, to learn to live with it – instead of simply not accepting ourselves to be directed by fear.
So when this happened with Cheeky we have simply been supporting him with the Arnica and the rescue remedy. We also initially left the bags out. He is still afraid of any kind of bag that makes noises, be that plastic or paper – so this is a point he is going to have to walk through in a process. But because of the support from Maite’s blog, I did not cuddle and pity him and am instead standing by his side to assist however possible, equal and one. I am learning a lot about myself, what it means to walk with animals and what it means to be responsible and I am grateful for the opportunity to walk here with these beings. Being with cats or being a parent or walking self to stand up is a process and I am walking it.