“There are two means of refuge from the misery of life — music and cats.”
― Albert Schweitzer

I have no idea why I don't blog about my cats more often.  It's a perfectly acceptable thing to do because cats are amazing and part of our families, but I saturate Facebook and Instagram SO HARD with my cats I guess I just feel like my followers already know them, see them, and get enough of them.  But I have changed everything now by deciding to blog about Flemeth, my kitten.  I have two other, older cats, who were both abused rescues and as such, they have the same personality as me: I will be in the same room with you, but leave me alone.  I respect their space and take care of them, but due to their pasts and temperaments they are definitely not "family" cats.  (They deserve a good home and lots of love even more for this reason.)

Anywho, as most people know I went through a mental unraveling last summer/fall.  I was barely hanging on to sanity....("sanity") and though I haven't spoken much about it, one of the strange thoughts that popped up every so often amid the suicidal ideations and intrusive thoughts, was this feeling that I needed to mother something.  I think it might be connected to those feelings of despair, or it might have just been my biological clock ticking--scary--but whatever, the two were happening together, along with 103,357,893,204,500.3 other thoughts and feelings.  The idea of a kitten kept popping up and Derik kept vetoing it.  (haha like I care)

One day shortly before Halloween, I had, thanks to my wonderful Lieutenant, gotten off work early.  I had been a mess, crying and vomiting and shaking and useless.  My nerves were frazzled and so I drove almost home, and sat in the parking lot of a grocery store, looking at the KSL pet ads.  There was a little grey kitten whose big, bright eyes just sang to me and I impulsively messaged the seller (technically, the "giver"...the kitten was free.) I remember that the ad said the kitten was "for our dad for his birthday but he didn't want it."  I had to free this little mammal from the undue stupidity of a moronic person who would give someone a kitten as a surprise present, and from someone else who would turn down a kitten, because how dare you.

 “The smallest feline is a masterpiece.”
― Leonardo da Vinci

The pickup was in Roy, Utah: a good 45 minute drive.  I did not hesitate.  Keep in mind I'm in some weird psychosis at this point, like sleepwalking but with intense emotions and this voice going BABY BABY BABY HAVE A BABY GET A BABY STEAL SOMEONE'S BABY BABY NOW.  I had no idea what to expect or if I was doing something literally insane.  And 45 minutes of that later, I walked in the house in my uniform and there was my baby, curled up and sleeping on a woman's chest.

After I held the kitten for a few I was ready to GTFO and go home.  I was given a box and put him in it, but on the way to the car the kitten almost jumped out! He was crying in the most terrified little voice and did NOT like that box.  I buckled myself in, put the box in the passenger seat, and drove to a nearby stoplight, listening to the sad, upset sobbing before I couldn't help it.  I put my hand in the box to comfort him.  Immediately he latched onto my hand and cried even louder.  I had this thought of, "this cat is going to make me wreck on the goddamn interstate" but I picked him up and put him in my lap anyway.  He went from yowling, screaming baby to purring, cuddly, nuzzly little fluff just like that.  I know it sounds silly but it was an instant bond.  He knew he was safe and I knew he was going to let me love him.  I talked to that cat the whole way home, and he mewed and nuzzled me in reply.

I used to be afraid of being a mother to a baby because the life seemed so boring.  How can you sit there with this tiny thing and coo and giggle for hours on end? I totally get it, I do, now.  I have no fear of that time period.  Sure, you go a little stir crazy, but I truly mean it when I say every moment since then has been wonderful with my little Flemeth.  Sitting in my room and playing with this kitten kept me going through the holidays.  My therapist has even agreed that the act of caring about something small and helpless which depended on me, was likely a huge factor in my slow and steady recovery over wintertime.  There were days when I totally faked it and with zero enthusiasm cleaned his litter or bottle-fed him.  But I never let the cat know I thought of him as a burden, I never yelled or got impatient.  Which is shocking to me, because if you encounter me with people you'll know I have the patience of a true redhead=zero.  But anyone who has a bond with an animal knows the feeling I can't exactly describe, this strange symbiotic relationship that benefits both--it truly is like we are family.  And taking care of him is something I do with pure love, even if I am tired and crabby (which is a realm I live in).  It showed me beyond a doubt that I do have a maternal instinct (even if it's only feline, ha!)

“What greater gift than the love of a cat.”
― Charles Dickens

This cat is no longer my little baby, but he's still mine, and I'm his.  He greets me happily every single time I come home.  He noses around my bedroom if I'm hanging out in there and the minute I leave for another room, he's right beside me, looking curiously at whatever I'm doing.  He sleeps by my head.  He doesn't really care for other people (I have no idea how this happened) but anyone can attest, he is crazy about me.  I've never had a cat that treated me with anything other than tolerance and a mild contempt, so this was a nice change.

 “I meant," said Ipslore bitterly, "what is there in this world that truly makes living worthwhile?"
Death thought about it.
"CATS," he said eventually. "CATS ARE NICE.”
― Terry Pratchett

This is going to be the most ridiculous, crazy cat lady sounding part, but I don't care--this cat is one of the very few things keeping me from suicide.  When I think about it, he is usually near me, looking at me with his little fluffy face.  Or he's on my lap or batting a toy or nudging me for catnip.  I think about how alone he would feel, and that incredibly excited roly-poly "mama's home" attitude he gets when I come back from a grave shift.  How he will be sitting in the window watching me, waiting for me.  Again, the other cats would probably adjust just fine to a prolonged absence, but other than his real mama I am the only constant this little thing has known and it breaks my heart to think of leaving him.  I think about really morbid things--would Derik be able to pay the rent if I die?  He'd be fine.  What about those who might be traumatized? There are plenty of suicide-survivor therapy classes out there.  What about the people finding my body? I'll figure out a way for minimal impact.  But I won't get to hear Rammstein again - well, I've listened to them a good 10 years (haha, this is an actual thought...)

Anyway, then I always come back to Flemeth--would he ever understand the sudden disappearance of his redheaded cat buddy?  Would he always look out the window or be waiting at the door, wondering where I went?  Would he bond with another human?  Call me crazy all you like, we've established that I am, but really, those are the thoughts I can never fix with excuses or cognitive dissonance.  I think it's safe to say after sharing all of this that I love this cat.  And though he also loves catnip, gravy, and eating Box Elder bugs just as much as he loves me, he does love me too.

“Authors like cats because they are such quiet, lovable, wise creatures, and cats like authors for the same reasons.”
― Robertson Davies

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