Cats: The crazy cat lady life & trauma

Yes, I love cats. Yes, I love all of God’s creatures, but cats are my favorite. Yes, I have (possibly) too many cats, but NO I am not a crazy cat lady…I am in the funny sense, but I am not lonely, single, pathetic, etc. (none of the derogatory things people think of cat lovers).

Trauma
Not too many people know the full story of my cats & why I had adopted so many. I would actually like to explain a few things & I know there will be undereducated individuals who do not believe me nor give a shit about my small t trauma (yes that’s a real psychological/social work term). Speaking of trauma…There are two types of trauma that individuals can experience & they are known as small t & large t. Large t trauma is the most recognized because this is your usual news stories such as war, rape, death, killings, etc. Small t trauma isn’t as well known because people do not view a lot of small t trauma as a big deal. Small t trauma is something that was traumatic to an individual that the media or society wouldn’t view as traumatic. I have small t trauma (according to society I am sure).
Disclaimer: If you experienced anything that was traumatic and still causes you grief, but others may make fun of you or think it’s not a big deal then shame on them! Just because something is not important or traumatic to you does not mean it’s not traumatic to someone else. Never degrade someone else’s troubles. 

I have been surrounded by death my whole life. Cats & Humans.
My adopted father had a farm & plenty of barns. With barns came feral cats. I grew up with animals my whole life…whether it be dogs, birds, goats, geese, cats, ducks, peacocks, etc. I started my love of cats at an early age, but am unsure of how young I was when the first “barn cat” showed up at my dad’s. I remember lots & lots of kittens in my life. My parents viewed them as any other wild animal & never took sick ones to the vet nor vaccinated them. I understand, as an adult, that these cats were feral & looked at as part of nature. I had so many & at one point I recalled having at least 109 feral cats. Now that I am older I can only recall a few names & “faces” of cats. So where does the trauma begin?
My mother had a cat named blacky who used to sleep with me in my crib as a baby. My mom & I moved in with my sister after my grandfather died (I was 2 or 3 years) so she gave the cat to my dad to live on his farm. Long story short, I remember blacky no longer being around & was told he ran away. Years later…I found out my dad heard cats fighting in his yard in the middle of the night so he shot his shotgun blindly & accidentally shot blacky.

I have seen multiple cats die in front of me by being hit by cars. I have had many cats/kittens die in my arms/presence (more than I’d like to admit) from kidney failure or whatever other ailment (now that I’m older & more educated in the matter I know many of them had feline leukemia or feline immunodeficiency virus). I’ve had kittens who lost eyes/went blind from viruses. I’ve had two main cats named Orion & Tigerlilly who provided most of the kittens in my life. Orion became old & disappeared. Tigerlilly was either attacked or hit by a car because I found her dead in my dad’s garage one day. I remember having kittens so sick that flies laid eggs on their faces! I remember all of my feral cats following me around, laying in the sun with me, playing, & even riding on the golf cart with me (yes I had a golf cart). I’ve watched many cats suffer, scream in pain, die, & become sick.
This is my trauma.

High School-Present Day
I begged my mom to let me have one of the last fluffy kittens that Orion ever had. Her name is Tezrian (a demon goddess of war…don’t ask). I was in 10th grade & on Christmas eve my sister brought Tezrian in a stocking to my house. Mom, Dad, & Deb talked & allowed me to have her as a house cat. She was an amazing cat. As she had gotten older though, she became more of my mom’s cat. In 2009, my now husband & I first moved in together, but I did not take Tez with me. I found 2 black kittens (now known as Orpheus & fate/merlot {I’ll explain that later}) on craigslist & adopted them. I brought them to my mom’s to show them off & since then Tezrian hated me.
We had & still have a close relationship with a woman named Holly who has been a vet tech for 28 years. We call her momma. Momma fosters animals a lot & had 3 kittens. Our roommate at the time wanted a kitten so momma gave a fluffy tan cat to our roommate. Long story short, our roommate could no longer care for him so we adopted him & named him Puff. Momma also had 2 other kittens named Billy & Marvin. These 2 kittens had homes, but in the end the people who wanted them came up with excuses to not take them. I took them in…
So, in 2009 we ended up with 5 cats in our apartment. My mother passed away in November 2009 & we moved into her home since I inherited it. In July of 2010, I went to a pet shop one day & saw 2 black & white kittens for sale. I only wanted the female because her markings were so beautiful. I brought Brandon (my husband) with me & he liked the other. We decided to buy both kittens. Thus, Chaos & Serenity were our last 2 cats. Eventually our female cats (fate & serenity) started peeing on everything in the house. Tezrian started peeing on their pee…a never ending cycle continued so we gave all 3 females to my dad.
We have had 5 male cats living with us since 2010. No, my house doesn’t smell like cat pee. Yes, people say it smells like cats but not in a bad way. You know how you walk into a dog owner’s home & can tell they have a dog? This is what people mean by “it smells like cats”. Usually I have scentsy or candles burning when I have visitors so it’s not as noticeable.
I also forgot to mention my adopted outdoor cat named JB. 4 years ago I met someone named Sue who was JB’s owner. She had to move & couldn’t take JB so I said I’d foster her till they could take her back. Long story short, I still have her & she’s been adopted. She comes in our home and sleeps behind our stove every winter. Regarding fate’s name…my dad doesn’t call the cats by their names. He just yells “cat” or “fluffy”. I recently brought fate back to our home & renamed her merlot (my favorite wine haha) since she doesn’t know her name. Tez is still alive & living with my dad. She is 11-12 years old now. Serenity is still living with my dad because she had a panic attack when I tried bringing her back to our place.

Recently, I had to put my poor baby Chaos down. He was the youngest of my boys. I am severely heartbroken. He was only 6.5 years old & to this day no one knows what happened. In December, I noticed he had a limp so I had taken him to the vet. I also noticed he had a massive tumor on his neck. The vet said the tumor wasn’t a big deal & X-rays revealed a chipped hip bone. He was given antibiotics & pain meds. 2 weeks after this I noticed he had stopped eating & started laying around more. Chaos also couldn’t meow & had gotten a fever. I came home from work 2 weeks ago & saw he had edema in his back leg & all of his claws were bloody. I rushed him to the vet. They ran tests & said he was severely anemic, which is cause by cancer or an autoimmune problem (or a possible heart problem). He was hospitalized last week from Wednesday through Saturday. I was given the options of taking him home Saturday or euthanizing him. His lungs filled with fluid & his kidneys started to fail. I took him home because I didn’t want his last memories to be in a damned hospital. I turned my living room floor into a huge bed made of my couch cushions, pillows, & blankets. He was wrapped up in blankets due to being cold from his anemia. I gave him water every 30 minutes because he was on diuretics. I helped him to the litter box. I lost sleep. I held his paw as he laid there not sleeping. I called the vet er clinic at 5:30am Sunday morning because I wanted to euthanize him then. I then thought maybe I was over reacting from lack of sleep & emotions so I took a nap. Come Monday morning at 1am, Chaos’ breathing worsened & he went blind. Chaos meowed in pain when I picked him up so I knew it was time. I did not want him to suffer like the many feral cats I experienced in the past. We rushed him to the pet er at 1:30am. They ran some final tests & indeed he went blind (from kidney failure) & everything was shutting down in his body. They couldn’t even euthanize him with us because he was in such bad condition. My husband & I cried our eyes out, screaming in anguish & heartbreak. I kissed him & they took him to be euthanized at 3:30am last Monday morning. I missed my first day of internship because I was so sick, depressed, & tired.
Today marks a week since I brought him home from the vet & I’m still heartbroken. My coworker told me I look so pathetic (not in a mean way). People have been trying to cheer me up…

So, the reason I am so heartbroken is because I have experienced so much trauma when it comes to death. Not only animals, but humans too. In the past 8 years I have lost my mom, mother-in-law, grandparents, brother-in-law, sister, & nephew. I am at my breaking point for death & trauma…

My Chaos ❤

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