My ebook publisher is having a sale on my books for the entire month of July. 25% off! Check it out at the link below
Category Archives: Animals
I’ve decided to take a hiatus from writing books for a while. Dealing with my mother’s estate is a lot of work, & with my mental & physical limitations, also excessively stressful. Writing is a lot of work, so I don’t feel I can write & deal with that at the same time. Or, if I could, I doubt I’d do either all that well. So, writing books is going on the back burner for a bit.
I’m still going to keep up with this blog & my YouTube channel though.
Since I have some really wonderful readers, I know you’ll understand & I thank you so much for that understanding. xoxo
I am still working with my parents’ cat to earn her trust & bring her home. (It’s so much more humane than trapping her to bring her home. The last thing that poor girl needs is more trauma!) She is making remarkable progress, I’m happy to say. But, remarkable progress is still somewhat slow since I’ve realized she has feline PTSD. Considering the circumstances surrounding my mother’s passing, it’s very understandable. Luckily for me, I already have a cat with PTSD so I’m pretty familiar with it. I know it takes lots of wisdom, patience, understanding & love to help a cat (or a human) with PTSD.
During the very recent past, Molly has let me get close to her. I’ve taken advantage of that & shot some short videos. She now has her own playlist on YouTube containing those videos. I thought I would share the link here since many of my readers are also animal lovers. Enjoy! xoxo
From March 3-9, 2019, my publisher is having a sale! All of my ebooks will be 25% off.
Come check it out at: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/CynthiaBaileyRug
As I’ve mentioned a few times, I have a wonderful kitty by the name of Punkin who has feline PTSD. Here is his picture.. is he not incredibly handsome!?
A few months after adopting him in 2014, one morning out of the blue, he attacked our little American Eskimo dog, Dixie. She wasn’t even looking at him when he suddenly jumped her. My husband & I both hollered Punkin’s name, which got his attention fast. He looked almost as if he woke up. He looked at us & Dixie, then ran off & hid. We checked on Dixie & thankfully she was fine, just very shaken up. While consoling her, my husband & I talked about what happened, & I told him that the way Punkin looked reminded me of how I felt after a flashback. I knew animals could be traumatized of course, but I was unsure if it could develop into PTSD. I did some research & learned it absolutely can. Since I have C-PTSD, I felt somewhat equipped to deal with the situation. It’s been quite the learning experience to say the least! But, my husband & I have learned & I wanted to share it for you other cat parents out there in case you too have a traumatized furbaby on your hands.
In all fairness, I’m not positive how the symptoms show up in other animals, but I believe they’re rather similar. Our late dog, Bear, had been abused & once in a while he acted quite a bit like Punkin does. I believe he had a milder case of PTSD than Punkin has. That leads me to believe the symptoms are probably quite similar among animals, not just among cats.
PTSD symptoms in cats are quite similar to humans. They have an extremely sensitive startle reflex, so they sometimes react inappropriately to situations. If they get scared, fight or flight instincts may take over. Punkin tends to freeze- his pupils dilate & he won’t move. They can be very anxious too, which means they may be skittish, hide or potty outside the litter box. Separation anxiety can happen too. They’re hyper vigilant, always extremely aware of their surroundings. Getting angry easily can be another symptom. as can being depressed. Signs of depression can mean losing interest in things they normally enjoy such as food, playing or snuggles, They may have nightmares, which you can see by how they sleep. Most cats twitch a bit in their sleep, but a cat with PTSD will do so more often & violently. Another big clue is they avoid things that can be similar to the traumatic event. I believe due to how Punkin attacked Dixie his trauma was related to a dog. She was the only animal or person in our home he ever attacked. And yes, they can have flashbacks. If you haven’t seen someone have a flashback or if you don’t have them, it can be hard to identify. When Punkin has had them, he doesn’t look quite like himself. His eyes get huge & you see fear written all over his face. He also acts completely out of character, like when he attacked Dixie, then suddenly stops. The first time it happened, he hid for quite a while, but after that, he returns to normal in a few hours. They also make him very tired.
There are some ways to cope with feline PTSD that I have found to be pretty successful.
I talk to Punkin. I tell him I understand what he’s going through, & it stinks. It’ll be ok, though, there is no one or nothing here that will hurt him. He’s safe & surrounded by other cats & people who adore him.
I also follow his lead. Punkin is very loving, but not particularly snuggly. Sometimes when the PTSD flares up, he wants to be left alone & other times he wants me to hold him. I do whichever he wants.
When Punkin has bad days, I do my best to remain completely calm in his presence. Cats pick up on the energy of their humans, so if I’m calm, he’ll be calmer. I don’t tell him “calm down”. Instead, my energy says everything is fine, & there is nothing to be upset about.
Catnip is a life saver! I started giving it to him to try to help his anxiety levels. It didn’t take him long to learn that it helps, so he goes to it often & voluntarily when his symptoms flare up. I got some very soft, fuzzy socks from the dollar store for this purpose. I put some catnip in a small rag, tie it up, & put it in the sock. Punkin also likes jingle bells so I have some with bells inside, some without. He picks whatever he likes as he needs his ‘nip. Since it doesn’t work for dogs, I used to give Bear valerian root pills. The smell is very strong & it tastes pretty yukky, so it wasn’t easy to get him to take it at first. It didn’t take him long to realize that it helped though, so he began going to where I stored it to let me know when he needed some valerian.
Some pet parents also get tranquilizers for their pet from the vet or use other calming aids that are readily available.
If you too have a pet with PTSD, following these steps really can help. I’m happy to say that Bear turned into a very loving, gentle dog from an aggressive one & Punkin’s symptoms are managed very well. He rarely has flashbacks anymore, & his anxiety levels are much lower in general.
I’ve noticed that many people think others should believe as they do. People really can be downright shaming if you don’t share their passions.
Quite a few years ago, I said something to one of my football watching aunts about the fact my husband likes football & I hate it, always have. She verbally jumped me for not trying harder to like it, & she also said I needed to watch games with him so we can enjoy football together. It was surprising to me because I wasn’t complaining or looking for some solution- I just made a simple statement. I also remember thinking, “I love knitting. I don’t see you scolding him & telling him he needs to learn to knit so we can buy yarn or knit together.” I wish I’d said that- it might have helped her to see how ludicrous & over the top her reaction was.
I’ve experienced similar reactions from people who are extremely focused on politics when they learn I’m not. In fact, the topic doesn’t interested me in the slightest. I also don’t have the desire in me to learn enough about candidates to make an informed decision on who to vote for, so I don’t vote. This apparently infuriates some people who are deeply interested in politics, & some have been downright shaming & nasty to me because of this. Not that I would do it, but it makes me want to be equally shaming & nasty to them for not helping to raise awareness of narcissistic abuse or help victims. It’d only be fair, after all, wouldn’t it?
I used to be upset by my aunt & the other people who were equally nasty to me. Then I realized something.
Not every cause can be your cause. People believe differently & have varied interests. That doesn’t mean something is wrong with one person & right with another because they think differently. It simply means they’re different.
There are many valid causes that need support, awareness & activists out there. No one can support them all though! That would leave no time for people to do anything else, like work or sleep. It’s much better to focus on what means the most to you than to spread yourself too thin by supporting many causes.
And, every person is unique, right down to our fingerprints & DNA. It is only natural that the causes we support & things that interest us also would be unique.
If you’re in the position of someone shaming you for not sharing their interests or supporting their causes, ignore them! They aren’t worth your frustration. They have no right to tell you what to think or how to feel. You do what is right for you. You have your own path to walk in life, & the approval of other people is NOT required to do it. What you do & what you believe in is ultimately between you & God, not you & other people.
If you’re actively in this situation, try changing the subject. A reasonable person will be fine with that. If the person isn’t reasonable, then you can tell them you don’t feel comfortable discussing this topic with them & if they continue, you’ll hang up the phone or leave the room. If they ask why, you can tell them the truth- because they are being disrespectful, nasty, etc. on this topic. If the person you’re speaking with is truly being obnoxious, you could try logic. Comments like, “Because you feel/believe that way means I should too? Why? Give me a good reason.” or, “That has never interested me, & I am well aware of that fact. Why should I do something I have zero interest in?” Statements like this can often shut a person down pretty quickly, because they realize how ridiculous their behavior is.
In conclusion, just remember there is nothing wrong with you for having the interests you have or not having the ones you don’t. God made you to be unique, so be unique & enjoy it!
Today’s post is a little off the normal topics, but since many of you are also animal lovers, I hope no one will object.
As of yesterday, it’s been 4 wonderful years since our kitty Punkin entered our life & our hearts. Here are a couple of pictures of my handsome guy….
Punkin when he first came home..
Punkin with Grace not long after we adopted her in 2016. She has always adored him.
Punkin isn’t your average, handsome orange man cat. His vision is either limited or gone in his right eye, & he has feline PTSD. I’ve had traumatized cats & disabled ones, but Punkin is very different than any of the others. And you know something? I love that about him.
Punkin thinks & acts differently than other cats. PTSD does that in humans too, so it’s not a surprise. And, sometimes it can be tough to deal with, like when he has flashbacks. He also gets over the top anxious & panicky sometimes, & is distrustful of most people. Learning about feline PTSD plus having C-PTSD myself have enabled my husband & I to help Punkin manage it. One good part of him having PTSD is we understand each other & can help each other when the symptoms flare up. Plus with his vision problem, Punkin doesn’t have the depth perception healthy cats have. He has to get creative on figuring things out sometimes, & he does very well with it. He’s just different than your average kitty. Thankfully, Grace picked up on his uniqueness immediately after we adopted her. She keeps close to Punkin’s side (as you can see in the picture), helping him calm down when he panics or grounding him during flashbacks. She just instinctively knows what he needs, when he needs it.
Punkin is also very appreciative, loving, snuggly, playful, fun, intelligent & sensitive. He’s an absolutely wonderful kitty.. he simply has a couple of challenges that we have to work with.
Lots of people pass by cats like Punkin. They want to adopt healthy cats who require food, water, a litter box & nothing more. Those cats are wonderful, of course, but so are special needs cats. In fact, many special needs cats are even better pets. They are more appreciative of what their people do for them & loving towards their humans. Plus, because of their unique needs & dependency on their human, it’s easy to form an especially close bond. Caring for someone, be they animal or human, opens that door.
If you’re looking to adopt a cat, please take some time & get to know the shy or skittish ones, the ones with health concerns, the ones who may not have the shiniest or fluffiest coats or who have lived on the streets. Those cats need & deserve loving homes just as much as any other cats. Besides, you may find out you’ve adopted the most wonderful cat you could have asked for, like my Punkin.
Most of the victims of narcissistic abuse I have spoken with are devoted animal lovers. I’m one too. My pets, past & present, mean the world to me. I also love other animals that aren’t my pets.
It won’t be a surprise if you know anything about narcissists, but they aren’t the same way. Even ones that claim to love animals really don’t love them because narcissists don’t know how to genuinely love.
Animals are nothing but potential supply to narcissists. I realized that with my parents. When they would visit my home & if any of my pets paid them attention, they were happy. If one didn’t want their attention, that one was criticized harshly. Not only when the incident happened, but after the incident indefinitely. I adopted Magic, my first cat, just before Halloween, 1990. I took him to my parents’ house shortly after to introduce them to him. My mother decided to pick Magic up, even after I said he only likes me to hold him. Magic scratched her so she would put him down, which she did quickly. Until my mother & I stopped speaking in 2016, she mentioned Magic negatively from time to time even though he died in 2007.
If you have a narcissist in your life & pets, as that pet parent, it’s your job to protect your pet from the narcissist.
If the narcissist in your life is physically abusive to you, chances are good your pet will be abused too. If you can escape, do it! If you can’t just yet, try finding a home for your pet until you can escape. If your pet has been hurt, document everything! Take pictures, have a copy of his or her veterinary record. Documentation of bad behavior is always a good thing. Even if it isn’t illegal (like if your state doesn’t have strict animal abuse laws), document anyway. If your narcissist breaks the law, it can help your case to have proof of bad behavior, even when it’s not illegal.
If the narcissist is verbally & emotionally abusive, remember- animals understand what people say. I have no doubt of this at all. I’ve seen too much evidence proving they do. When my parents would upset me, there were always at least two of my cats there to distract them. Chester & Valentine in particular are very sweet cats, but very protective of me. When my parents came to my home, they would sit by them. Each time they said something upsetting to me, the cats would scratch or bite my parents’ hands. Every. Single. Time.
Also, my parents would say cruel & hurtful things to my pets. It hurt their feelings! Poor Chester was called fat more times than I can count. He’s a muscular cat & very solid, but at first glance he does look kinda chubby. I told my parents no more nasty comments to the pets or they aren’t allowed in my home. My mother wouldn’t visit my home for I think it was almost 2 years after that.
Whatever the narcissist in your life does with your pet, protect him or her! It’s your job as the parent! Proverbs 12:10 says, ” A righteous man has kind regard for the life of his animal, But even the compassion of the wicked is cruel.” (AMP) It can be hard to stand up to a narcissist, I know, but you must protect your pet. As always, when you talk to the narcissist about it, do so calmly & in a simple, matter of fact way. Any emotions you should could be narcissistic supply & something the narcissist would use to hurt you again later. As an example, telling my parents not to insult my pets, I calmly said “I won’t tolerate anyone coming into their home & talking badly to them. If you do it again, you won’t be allowed back here.” My father never said a word back to me on the topic & didn’t insult them again. My mother defended herself vehemently, stayed away for a long time after that conversation & behaved much better when she finally did return to my home.
Well, finally I did it, Dear Reader! I started my YouTube channel. After much anxiety & prayer & distractions, it’s now ready to go. 🙂
It’s now available at: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCyHVkrFotB51_ZKqh7BqAXg
On the day I’m writing this post, it’s been 3 years since losing my precious kitty baby, Georgie. Naturally, he’s been on my mind a lot today. He was quite the character- feisty, liked to tease other kitties mercilessly, highly intelligent, loving, caring & protective of his brother, Pretty Boy, especially after Pretty Boy’s diagnosis of diabetes in 2011.
Georgie died suddenly on April 16, 2014. I still have no clue why.. he obviously passed in his sleep, thankfully, so it was peaceful at least. Yet, no warning anything was wrong made losing him especially hard.
Shortly after his passing, I was still in shock & grieving terribly. As usual when grieving, I talked to God about how badly it hurt. He told me to listen to a certain song & said, “Georgie wants you to know he thinks of you when he hears this song. It’s your & Georgie’s song now.” The song was Steelheart’s “Angel Eyes” from 1990. A song I’ve always loved, but thanks to Georgie love even more since his passing.
I know, this sounds odd.. yet, this type of thing has happened after losing several of my kitties over the years. When Bubba died in 2001, I was sure I was going to die too, when Lynyrd Skynryd’s “Freebird” became our song. Magic’s & my song is Wynonna’s “You Were Loved.” “When Jasmine passed, it was Aerosmith’s “Angel.” Vincent’s & my song is “Someday We’ll Be Together.”
You get the idea.
Since so many of you who read my work are also avid animal lovers, I’m hoping this post offers you comfort. I never knew this type of thing would help me survive losing my precious furkids, but God did. Asking Him for comfort turned into receiving the only thing that could help me, aside from having my furbaby back.
If God did it for me, He can do it for you as well.
Dear Reader, if you’re missing a precious loved one, be they furry or human, I would like to urge you to cry out to God. Ask Him for comfort. He will not disappoint! He may give you songs like He has me, or maybe not. It depends on what comforts you most, I believe. In any case, trust that He wants to help you & then wait for the blessing to come your way. It will greatly surpass your expectations, that I promise you!
This is Georgie (left) & his brother, Pretty Boy in around 2005. My two handsome, wonderful brothers. 🙂 Georgie’s & my song lyrics are below the picture if you’d like to read them.
Angel Eyes, by Steelheart
“Angel eyes, you have angel eyes, such a smile that lights up my life
You’re a dream come true, now I’m holding you
And I’ll never, never let you go, I will never let you go!
First time I laid my eyes upon you, all my dreams were answered
First time I kissed your tender lips, my love to you I surrendered
I’ll never let you go, you’re always on my mind
You’re the only one for me, you’re all I need
And I’ll never, never let you go
Angel eyes, my heart relies on the love you give to me
You never let me down, you’re always by my side
And I’ll never, never let you go, I will never let you go!
When my heart starts to crumble and the tears start to fall
You hold me close with tender lovin’, and give me strength to carry on
I’ll never let you go, you’re always on my mind
You’re the only one for me, you’re all I need
And I’ll never, never let you go
I’ll never let you go, you’re always on my mind
You’re the only one for me, you’re all I need
And I’ll never, never let you go
And I’ll never, never let you go.”
Some time back, I created an android app for my website. In the years since, I made some changes to my site & never updated the app. Now, I have. It is basically the same, but looks a bit better, I think. The original one probably doesn’t work any longer as I had to delete it & re-create the app. If you still have it, I recommend deleting that app & downloading the new one.
While I was at it, I also made an app for my website’s sister site, The Butterfly project.
I’m letting you know these things in case you are interested in getting them. They are totally free. Links are below…
For my website, http://www.CynthiaBaileyRug.com :
Job 35:11 Who teacheth us more than the beasts of the earth, and maketh us wiser than the fowls of heaven? (KJV)
One of God’s greatest blessings is animals. I’ve always loved & appreciated animals, but the older I get, the more I love & appreciate them. Animals love deeply & unconditionally, they are fun, they are very intuitive & intelligent. What’s not to love?!
In 2001, my husband & I lost Bubba, a very gentle, sweet, special orange tabby cat I’d had since he was only 4 weeks old. I was absolutely convinced losing Bubba was going to kill me, my grief was so strong. In spite of the pain though, God showed me something interesting at that time- I could communicate with animals.
The day after Bubba died, I let the cats out into the backyard for some supervised fun. I went to Bubba’s freshly dug grave for a moment of grief. I told him how much I loved him & missed him, & always would. A small voice spoke to my heart saying, “It’s OK, Mommy. I feel much better now!” (Bubba suffered with feline AIDS & emphysema for about 4 months before he died) I wasn’t sure I heard this right at all, & quickly came back to the part of the yard where the cats were. Spitfire, the queen of the castle, looked at me with great concern as I came near her & I heard, “Something is wrong with Mommy.” I told my husband what happened, & he said he could believe I could hear them. After all, I was extremely close to all of our cats.
The following day, I turned on some music while I was doing housework. When Lynyrd Skynyrd’s song, “Freebird” came on, I heard what I’d thought was Bubba’s voice again, as I heard it the previous day. “Mommy, this song fits me. Listen to the lyrics.” By this time, I doubted my sanity. Once I was done my chores, I prayed, asking God what was going on. I felt no answer coming, so I opened up my Bible. It came open to the book of Job, & my eyes fell on this Scripture: Job 12:7 But ask now the beasts, and they shall teach thee; and the fowls of the air, and they shall tell thee: (KJV) Immediately, I knew I heard Bubba & Spitfire. I wasn’t crazy!
Since that time, I’ve gotten better at communicating with animals. I don’t often hear them as clearly as I did Bubba & Spitfire, but I still communicate with them constantly. What’s so interesting is the more I wanted to communicate with them, the more they wanted to communicate with me. Our late chow chow mix, Bear, taught me that when he barked once it meant yes, twice meant no & three times meant I love you. Vincent, my granddad’s cat that we ended up adopting in 2008, told me one day his great great great great grandfather was a purebred Abyssinian cat. He was very proud of his heritage apparently. Minnie Rose, our dilute tortoise shell cat, actually tries to form words with her meows, so there is never much trouble figuring out what message she is trying to get across, especially when she says, “Yea” or, “NOOOO!!”. Punkin is our orange tabby with feline PTSD. He is very vocal & very clear at communicating whatever he wants me to know with certain facial expressions as well as meows.
I’m always impressed by how if you just pay attention to them, animals will make sure you know what they want you to know. You just need to be observant.
Also, not all animals are overly interested in communication with people, so if you try to communicate with some animals, they may have absolutely no interest, no matter how hard you try. Some seem to put up a mental wall.
Be careful reading about communicating with animals. Some who discuss animal communication claim it is some sort of psychic ability instead of a gift from God. They make it sound almost occult in nature. I have asked God to help me to communicate with animals His way, & with whatever animals He wants me to communicate with. I believe keeping God involved keeps anything bad out of what really should be God’s gift to His children.
Several years ago, I wrote my first book on the topic of animals. I even included some about things my animals & I have discussed. If you would like to check out this book, it is called, “Pawprints On Our Hearts”, & is available at this page on my website, simply scroll down : http://cynthiabaileyrug.com/Books-For-Sale.php
Ecclesiastes 3:19 “For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath; so that a man hath no preeminence above a beast: for all is vanity.” (KJV)
I realize many Christians will disagree with me, stating that humans are much more valuable than animals. I respectfully disagree though. God loves the animals He created. Reread the Scripture I opened this post with: Ecclesiastes 3:19 “For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath; so that a man hath no preeminence above a beast: for all is vanity.” (KJV) The Scripture states. “that a man hath no preeminence above a beast,” so obviously God believes humans & animals to be equal.
Other Scriptures speak of the value of animals:
- Genesis 3:20 “And Adam called his wife’s name Eve; because she was the mother of all living.” (KJV)
- Job 12:7 “But ask now the beasts, and they shall teach thee; and the fowls of the air, and they shall tell thee:” (KJV)
- Job 35:11 “Who teacheth us more than the beasts of the earth, and maketh us wiser than the fowls of heaven?” (KJV)
- Psalm 50:10-11 “For every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills. I know all the fowls of the mountains: and the wild beasts of the field are mine.” (KJV)
- Proverbs 12:10 “A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast: but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel.” (KJV)
- Mark 16:15 “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” (KJV)
Animals are a wonderful blessing to people! They offer us companionship, unconditional love, help us with chores (such as on a farm), & if we pay attention, teach us a great deal. I’ve had pets since shortly after moving out of my parents’ home at age 19, & pray there never will come a time I don’t have any! Mine have blessed me in more ways than I can count! They have made me laugh or comforted me when I was upset, defended me to people who were nasty to me, & taught me many things, including how to be a good mom.
I hope you, Dear Reader, aren’t one who thinks animals are “just dumb animals” like many people do. If so, though, I pray you’ll consider what I’ve written, & reconsider your position!
And, if you’re an animal lover like me, but never thought about such Scriptures, then please, also consider this post. Maybe pay a bit more attention to your furkids- they are wonderful teachers, & you can learn so much from them. Don’t forget to let them know how much you love & appreciate them, too! They appreciate hearing such things just as much as you do! 🙂
I’ve noticed an interesting trend with this blog. When I write about my mistakes, failures or struggles, my blog gains more followers & views. My recent post about a bad C-PTSD day gained me quite a few more followers & a lot of views.
I believe this is because people are tired of people who claim they’ve been completely healed from their past, saying all you have to do is pray & believe, & God will deliver you completely from your past. People who are completely delivered from their pain are in the minority, yet they are the ones most in the public eye, it seems.
The problem with this is it makes people feel like failures. It sure did me. I felt like I must not have enough faith or I was praying wrong. Maybe because my experiences weren’t as bad as some other folks’ God wasn’t going to set me free- maybe He thought I was over reacting & needed to realize that.
Then one night while watching TV a few years ago, I saw Josh McDowell doing an interview on TBN’s show, “Praise The Lord.” As a child, he was sexually abused. His story was heartbreaking, but it gave me hope at the same time. Why? Because he admitted that as a grown man in his 50’s or maybe 60’s (my guess.. not sure) he still had issues stemming from that abuse. He said when people touch his shoulder in a certain way, he can’t handle it, because it reminds him of his abuser.
Realizing that this wise, caring, good man of God still had issues from childhood abuse so many years later released the feeling of shame I had. He’s obviously no failure, yet God didn’t wave that magic wand & set him free of all symptoms of the abuse. Maybe, just maybe, that means I’m not a failure either!
Two Scriptures also came into my mind in a new way. Psalm 23:4, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.” & Philippians 1:6, “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:” I realized that God is truly there with me during all the bad times. Not only the times that I’ve lost a loved one or had a fight with a friend- all of the bad times. He is with me during flashbacks, panic attacks & depressive episodes. He is with me during all of those valley of the shadow of death times, not just some. Also, I realized you learn a lot more going through something than you do if you’re just delivered from it. The things I learn by going through are the things that I’ve been able to share in this blog, & in my books, too, & I believe people are being helped by these things. I’ve received plenty of messages to prove it.
Also, He is the one who showed me I needed healing. He started me on the healing path by gently showing me what was wrong with me & how to heal. So, since God started that “good work,” it seems logical to me, judging by Philippians 1:6, that He will continue working on healing me until Jesus comes back. This tells me there is nothing wrong with continuing to have issues for years after the fact. It’s normal!
These revelations gave me a new heart for how I write. Rather than constantly trying to encourage or teach readers what I have learned, I felt it would be a good idea to share my mistakes & struggles, too, to let my readers know that they aren’t alone. Everyone who has been through narcissistic abuse struggles to some degree. It’s ok! God is with them & helping them to heal.
So, Dear Reader, this is my promise to you- to be real, not only encouraging or educational. I’ll also let you know that I understand your struggles, because I struggle too, every single day. And, there is nothing wrong with you or your faith if God hasn’t miraculously delivered you. There are plenty of us in that same valley, so at least you aren’t alone!
Not long ago, I shared that my husband & I had lost our second cat in three months. Grieving the losses has been very difficult. However, I realized that in one way it is easier than it used to be- since my parents have stopped speaking to me, that has made it much easier. Typical of narcissists, my parents have no empathy, so when I’m grieving, their calloused words hurt me.
One way they have hurt me regarding my pets is hinting that I’m a hoarder. Yes, I have a lot of cats & a dog, but hoarder? No. And, they aren’t the only people who seem offended by the amount of pets I have. Other people over the years have made snide comments like I have too many pets, I need to get rid of them, no one can care properly for that many pets, etc.
If you too have several pets, I’m writing this for you, Dear Reader. No one has the right to say that you have too many pets, so long as they are well cared for. Ignore the idiocy of people who say these things. Or, come up with creative comebacks for these situations. For example, if someone says they think you have too many pets, you can tell them that you believe they have too many children. When they get offended, let them know that is how you feel when people say the same thing to you about your pets.
Hoarders are very different than pet parents. I have looked into it, because honestly, I was afraid my parents were right about me. I didn’t think many of people have a lot of pets like me, so I did question briefly whether or not I was a hoarder. Thankfully I don’t meet the criteria! Some of the criteria used to determine if someone is a hoarder are:
- A person having a large number of pets.
- This person being unable to maintain basic care for them such as good food, veterinary care, a clean environment.
- This person being in denial about the ability to provide such things for their pets, believing they are helping these animals rather than hurting/neglecting them.
- Often, the person neglects to take proper care of himself or herself as well.
- Many want to rescue & help animals, but severely underestimate their ability to do so.
This behavior is obviously VERY different than a pet parent or even a rescuer. While parents & rescuers may have large numbers of pets, they receive good, quality food, they see vets when necessary, they are spayed or neutered, litterboxes or cages are plentiful & cleaned regularly, homes are clean, & parents & rescuers learn the best ways to care for the animals in their home. We also know our limits- we won’t have 100 cats at once because we can’t provide proper care for that many at a time.
If you are like many of my friends & readers, & you meet the criteria in the above paragraph rather than the criteria for a hoarder, you’re in good company. There are a lot of us out there! So if an ignorant person claims you have too many pets or are a hoarder, rest easy knowing that person truly has no idea what a good person you are! Keep on rescuing those babies! There are so many animals in need, & you can make a difference!
I know, I’ve been posting a lot of animal posts lately, but they have been on my heart a lot too. Partly because I have lost two beautiful cats since May, but also partly because of the two cuties below….
There are two precious new members of hubby’s & my family. Meet Grace O’Malley (named after an Irish pirate queen). She has a heart on her back!!!! How cute is she?! She is extremely feisty & loving at the same time.
And this is Fergus (named after an Irish king), her brother… is he not adorable? I found him in the food bowl his first morning here.. lol Fergus is also extremely feisty, & very protective of Grace. He’s a wonderful brother.
One of my best friends texted me about a week ago, saying she knew someone fostering 4 very young kittens in need of a home. They were about 4 weeks & in need of a home. They were born to a barn cat who had abandoned the litter. She was hesitant to ask me if I’d take them because we have lost 2 kitties in the last 3 months, & honestly, everyone in our household is having a hard time with the losses. After talking to my husband & finding out Grace has a disability, we decided to adopt two of them. I am so incredibly glad we did, too.
Grace & Fergus have been home since about 5 on this past Monday, but already are a very loved part of our family. Punkin is a great big brother, which isn’t surprising. He’s a kind, gentle kitty. Plus since he has feline PTSD, he’s very compassionate.
As I type this, Grace is napping on my chest, so if you see typos in this post, that’s why.. not easy to type with a kitty in your face..lol
After losing two other precious cats in such a short time, I’ve realized that adopting new ones fairly quickly is a good thing. I’m not trying to replace the ones we lost by any stretch, but instead, honor their memory by adopting other babies in need. The bonus is these two being young babies, they are at the super fun, silly stage of kitten development, so they are cheering everyone up just by being their cute selves.
It can be so hard when you lose a beloved furbaby. That being said, adopting a new one in need can really help to heal your broken heart. They can’t replace the one you have lost, but they can bring more love & joy into your life which helps to mend your broken heart. Please consider doing so! There are so many animals in need! If you can save even one, you are doing a wonderful thing!!!
Human beings aren’t the only ones who can suffer from mental illness. Animals can as well.
Contrary to what many people seem to think, animals have emotions like people do, & even process them much the same way as humans. This means that animals can develop Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD, following trauma.
Unfortunately for animals, they can’t verbalize their pain. You have to observe your pet to figure out if they have PTSD, & it can be tricky to identify.
My 2 year old cat, Punkin, has Feline PTSD. When he arrived in our home at 3 months old, I had no idea of this fact. All I knew was he showed up on the deck of the neighbor of my friend’s friend, & he was in need of a home. He was immediately friendly with the other cats, & seemed indifferent towards our dog, Dixie. A few months later, Punkin attacked Dixie out of the blue. My husband & I hollered at him immediately. He stopped, looking completely baffled, then ran away & hid. Thankfully Dixie didn’t even have a scratch, but she was visibly shaken, understandably so! My husband was mad at Punkin, but I realized he looked like I felt during a flashback. Once Punkin calmed down & apologized to Dixie (looking sheepishly at her & trying to be nice to her), I did some research & learned that yes, animals can have PTSD. I realized some signs to look for, at least in cats, but probably they are much the same in other animals:
- Kitty has been exposed to trauma. The lady who gave Punkin to me never knew of any trauma, & certainly there hasn’t been any since he’s been living with me. But, his attacking Dixie tells me he’s been through some terrifying experience with a dog before coming to me.
- Kitty avoids things that remind him of the trauma. For quite some time Punkin avoided Dixie. He wouldn’t even walk past her or nap on the bed or sofa if she was napping there.
- Heightened startle reflex. If your cat doesn’t see you’re going to touch him, he may jump drastically when you make contact. He can be very skittish.
- Sudden loud noises (for example, dropping a pan) upset your pet.
- Kitty can appear agitated or uneasy sometimes.
- Flashbacks. These can be harder to spot. Punkin looks different when it happens. He turns vicious (he’s normally very gentle, sweet & loving) for a very short time, then looks confused, & then runs & hides. After, he is skittish for a while.
- Kitty can respond disproportionately to what is happening. For example, someone suddenly picking up the cat startles the cat, who scratches &/or hisses. This behavior may trigger memory of the traumatic event.
After realizing what was going on with Punkin, I had to pray to figure out how to handle this problem. It’s not like I could take Punkin to a therapist, & he could discuss his feelings. As far as I know, veterinary medicine doesn’t even acknowledge PTSD in animals, so even a vet check up wouldn’t help. Thankfully God showed me some things.
- I pray for him. PTSD is nothing to take lightly, whether it’s in a human or animal. Although Punkin is doing very well most days, he has his bad days too. I pray for him on bad days as well as try to make him feel better if he’s open to it by offering extra love, playing or treats.
- I follow Punkin’s lead. If he wants to be left alone after a flashback, I leave him alone while keeping an eye on him from a distance to be sure he is OK. When he’s feeling playful or loving, I go with it. If he doesn’t want snuggles, I don’t snuggle him.
- If Punkin does something that warrants correction, I don’t holler at him, since noise upsets him. Instead, I say his name & tell him to stop it in a slightly louder than normal volume, but using a stern voice. He gets the point without aggravating that startle reflex.
- I try to keep life as consistent as possible. (Since I have Complex PTSD, it benefits me too.) I have a routine that rarely changes much. This helps Punkin know what to expect. It helps him to feel safe & secure.
- I give Punkin a lot of love & reassurance. He has no doubt he is loved & safe.
- We’re very blessed with Dixie- she has been a great help with Punkin learning to trust her. He sniffs her sometimes, as cats do, & she stays perfectly still, allowing him to sniff as much or as little as he likes. She’s never aggressive with him, which has helped him see that not all dogs are mean. She instinctively knows what he needs from her. As a result of efforts on both his & her parts, they are now on civil terms. In fact, sometimes he actually gives her a little love.
Did you know that there is a specific day of the year devoted to loving our adorable feline friends? Well there is! Although in my home, every day is Black Cat Appreciation Day…lol
Black animals, cats especially, are the most overlooked in shelters & the least likely to be adopted followed closely by solid white cats. Silly superstitions are probably behind this as well as misguided beliefs that black cats are always the familiars of witches, therefore evil.
I call b.s. on this. Sorry to be crude, but the sentiment fits very well!
I have had 6 solid black cats & 3 solid white cats in my life as a cat parent. They have been some of the most amazing, fun, silly cats I’ve had the privilege of parenting. Magic was my first cat, & I have written about him before. He was something special. Loving, devoted, extremely intelligent & very opinionated. He knew my moods better than any human ever has & responded to me well. He protected me once when an argument with a former boyfriend not long after adopting Magic almost got physical (interestingly, the man’s dog did nothing- only Magic protected me). He scared my mother in-law away from me once & another time pooped on her carpet to show he disliked her. Magic was a handful & an extremely interesting way to start life as a cat parent, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. He has been gone since 2007, & I still think of that precious guy daily.
Magic was just one example of the wonder that is black cats. They are sleek & beautiful, often strongly resembling a black panther. They are highly intelligent & intuitive. They are creative, dignified yet can be silly sometimes. All cats are wonderful, but I have found there is something special about black cats.
If you’re a cat lover but never adopted one, then I strongly suggest opening your home to one. You won’t regret it! It will be an experience you’ll never forget or regret 🙂 Just look at these beautiful babies of mine… don’t you want to have your own mini house panther now too?? 🙂
This past Thursday, we lost a beloved & very special member of our family. Our cat Pretty Boy passed away suddenly of unknown causes at just over 14 years old.
I’m not sharing this for sympathy. I’m sharing because I want to remind you fellow pet parents out there to enjoy every moment you have with your furbabies. The time together can end in an instant, so make it a point to treasure every moment you have with them. Pray for them regularly. You may be surprised how much your furbaby likes it when you pray for them. Pretty Boy had diabetes for 5.5 years, & I regularly prayed for him. When I prayed for him in his presence, he purred & cuddled me. It can be a bonding experience, praying for your furbaby.
Also, I have asked God to help me to understand & communicate with my furkids. As a result, we are all very close. And, I think this also has helped them to become the wonderful little creatures God created them to be. It’s not just me that thinks they are wonderful either. I’ve had several friends over the years who have said almost exactly the same thing- “I’m not normally a cat person, but there is something special about yours. They’re so friendly & loving.” I had one friend who was terrified of cats.. until he met my first cat, Magic. Magic became his buddy in no time. This friend also was no longer afraid of cats after spending time with mine.
Communicating with animals is possible, & God will show you how to do it. It is beneficial for you as well as them, & draws you closer to the furbaby. I wrote some about it in my book, “Pawprints On Our Hearts” & will discuss it in a bit more detail in an upcoming blog post. Job 12:7 says, “But ask now the beasts, and they shall teach thee; and the fowls of the air, and they shall tell thee:” (KJV) God will allow us to communicate with animals & be blessed by it. It is truly a glorious gift He has given us, to communicate with these wonderful creatures He has made. By communicating with mine & becoming so close to them, I have been blessed more than I can say. In fact, one of those blessings has come in the form of music. As my cat Weeble, was dying in May, she told me that the song “Angel” by Jon Secada reminded her of me. I still have trouble listening to the song since losing her was so recent, but at the same time, it gives me comfort. Also about a year ago, I was listening to Queen when the song “I Was Born To Love You” came on. Pretty Boy & I were snuggling when he stopped & looked at me, giving me the slow blink cats do when saying they love you as the song came on. Immediately I knew he was saying this was our song.
Just because… here is a picture of Pretty Boy. RIP, my angel boy. I love you with all my heart & will see you again one day soon..
As I wrote about earlier today, our little family became a bit smaller recently with the sudden loss of our cat, Pretty Boy. Losing a furbaby is absolutely the worst part of having pets. It feels like my heart has been ripped out, to tell the truth. Not only because of my personal loss, but watching my husband & the other furbabies grieve is so incredibly painful too.
Thankfully, I’m surrounded by friends who love animals as much as I do, or at the very least, understand how much I love them even if they are not avid animal lovers themselves. They have been sending their condolences & praying for my little family, which is simply awesome. I’m incredibly grateful for them!
Unfortunately, not every single person in my life is this kind. My narcissistic parents come to mind. As of the time of me writing this post, they don’t know about Pretty Boy, & I hope to keep it that way for a while. The reason is they end up hurting me each time I lose a furbaby. My mother has said things like the one who passed is better off dead than with me as his or her mom, “at least you don’t have any sick ones anymore”, repeated a story about losing her cat when she was 14 years old, or simply ignored my loss. My father sort of tries to be comforting, but he has no idea how to. He has no empathy.
When you’re grieving, whether it’s losing a human or furbaby, you are especially vulnerable to the cruelty of narcissists. They know this, & that is why they attack at this awful time.
I want to remind you Dear Reader, & myself as well, that it is very important to protect yourself during such fragile times. There is nothing wrong with keeping a distance from narcissists when you are grieving. In fact, it is a wise thing to do to protect your mental health.
You owe them no explanation as to why you need time to yourself, either. Just state that you need some time to yourself, & if they insist on calling, texting, visiting, etc., ignore them. Don’t answer the phone or the door. That is your right! If later when you speak to them, they try to shame you for not answering their calls, etc., simply remind them you told them that you needed time to yourself & ignore the guilt trips! Easier said than done, I know, but it can be done. I’ve done it myself. By calmly stating that fact & ignoring the guilt, the narcissist may get annoyed, but sees that the tactic isn’t working, so usually he or she abandons it.
Also, narcissists don’t understand what it’s like to grieve. To grieve means you loved someone, which is something narcissists don’t do. This may mean they try to invalidate your feelings or shame you for grieving. Do not allow their poison to get inside you!! Just because they are unable to love someone enough to grieve a loss doesn’t mean you are wrong for grieving.
When you are in the throes of grief, it is especially important to take good care of your mental health. Do your best to rest often, do nurturing things that help you to feel better, eat healthy & avoid toxic people (especially narcissists). You need to do these things so you can go through the painful grief process, & eventually learn to live without that special person or pet.
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At the time of me writing this post, it’s just over a month since my sweet tabby cat, Weeble passed away suddenly at 16. She was the oldest member of our family, & deeply loved & respected by the other furkids.
Since her passing, I haven’t been able to wash the linens on the guest bed where she & I spent her last 30 hours as she fought so hard for her life. Aside from the obvious fact that grief takes a lot out of you & I haven’t had much energy, the other cats have spent time on that bed quite a bit since her passing. Chester in particular naps often in the very spot where she passed away.
I think it was 2 days after her death that I found him here, & asked him “Are you missing Weeble?” He meowed a soft, mournful meow, & pulled the covers close to him. It broke my heart. Grieving is hard enough but the hardest part is watching the furbabies hurting too & not being able to do anything to help them feel better.
Animals feel deeply. Moreso than many humans I’ve known. Please remember that about your pets. They hurt when another animal in your home dies too, so don’t forget to give them extra love & comfort during this trying time. It will help both of you to feel better.
And, keep their feelings in mind at other times too! They can be hurt just as easily as a human can if someone snaps at them after a bad day or ignores them for the TV. Criticisms hurt them too. Don’t forget, animals understand the words you say, not just the tone of your voice. If you call your dog fat or your cat lazy, they know exactly what you mean, & it makes them feel as badly as it would you if someone called you fat or lazy. (This topic has been the cause of many arguments with my narcissistic mother, as she thinks it’s acceptable to come into my home & tell my pets who is too fat, too skinny, too whatever. It took over 20 years to get her to stop that awful behavior.) Calling your pet beautiful, smart, etc. will have a very positive effect too, just as it would if someone complemented you. I also tell my furkids how proud I am of them, how smart & caring they are. I praise them frequently & they respond to it well. Do the same with your pets, & see if they don’t love the praise!
One interesting thing I’ve noticed is that my furkids love to be prayed for. Pretty Boy was diagnosed with liver carcinoma at the end of 2013. The vet said he only had a short time left. I knew the vet was right- not only was she a very good, but she showed me the bloodwork results. He also had lost 2 pounds- a fair amount of weight for a cat. His side where his liver is also felt somewhat enlarged, which the vet said was his liver. She saw it on an ultrasound. I prayed for him constantly, & every time I did, Pretty Boy would purr the entire time. I even asked him before I prayed if he wanted me to pray for him, & many times, he would rub on me or headbonk me. The best part of this is when he went back to the vet the following year, there was no sign of the liver carcinoma! No swelling, he had gained back the 2 pounds he lost, & his bloodwork was fine. In fact, the vet said “it was perfect.”
Just please remember, your furkids are people too! Treat them with the love & respect they deserve, & talk to them with love. When you must correct them, do so gently & with respect. They will respond very well when you do this!
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Tomorrow marks the thirteenth anniversary of my paternal Granddad’s passing. Like every single year on May 31, I know I’ll be depressed & missing him more than usual.
Grief anniversaries are rough days, but I think they can be a good thing in a way as well. They remind you of someone you dearly loved yet lost. They gently push you to remember some good times, & the things you loved about that person. As sad as May 31 always is for me, I also look forward to the day in a way because it gives me an excuse to remember the good times, like sitting around what is now my dining room table with Granddad, listening to him telling me stories of our family. Or, going to our favorite little Italian place for lunch & chatting over a yummy meal. I also remember how after his death, butterflies started appearing in my life, comforting me. I also laugh how my talking teddy bear that he liked has started talking without me pushing the button since he passed, & I’m pretty sure he has something to do with my talking bear. His way of saying hi.
Sometimes, too, the day reminds me of the viewing the day before & the funeral. Those memories are extremely hard & all these years later, still make me cry. But, sometimes tears can be a good thing. They can be cleansing & healing. They also are proof of having loved the departed one a great deal. Loving someone is truly one of God’s most precious gifts.
I’ve also noticed grief anniversaries can be spontaneous. The scent of your loved one’s cologne or perfume, the sound of his or her favorite music or even a sport he or she loved can be enough to bring you to tears for missing that person sometimes. Even now, there are times I think, “I should call or email Granddad about this” or “I wish I could talk to him about this” & experience a renewed grief with the reminder I can’t talk to him anymore until I see him in Heaven one day.
I really believe these days are important to acknowledge. They keep your loved one in your heart & mind, close to you, so he or she is never really gone. That is why every May 31 & August 15 (his birthday) I remember my granddad. I also remember days I’ve lost others I’ve loved- my grandmother, great-grandmother, & my furbabies. They’re always close to me, always in my heart.