Hope everyone is doing well and staying safe! <3
I just recently adopted a cat, and he is literally one of the best things that's ever happened to me. He's taught me a lot about trauma and how I view myself through that lens.
Before we met, he was likely someone's former pet, who was either lost or abandoned, and then became a street cat for a few years. He was starving and living a very rough life outdoors, and it's very likely he's been through some things and been traumatized as a result. His dental condition became so bad over the years, that once he arrived at the shelter they realized he had to have most of his teeth removed so that he could be able to eat without pain.
Right before our state-mandated quarantine back in March, a friend of mine decided to take him in as a foster from a local shelter. She loves fostering cats and she wanted to have a cat to nurse back to health while she became recently unemployed due to the pandemic.
He's a senior cat, during kitten season, so he was very much being overlooked by people in terms of being seen as "not adoptable". He's also a tuxedo cat (black-and-white) and unfortunately black, and partially-black, cats are severely under-adopted in the US because of dumb superstitions about them.
And he's missing almost all of his teeth, which also made him seem less "attractive" to a lot of people. As a result of all this, he had to wait for over 3 months in foster care to be adopted, which is a long time.
As soon as I met him on a video call, I immediately
fell in love with him! I very quickly asked to adopt him, and earlier this week he became mine.
From day one, he's been super affectionate with me and has already claimed me, and my apartment, as his-- because let's be real, we
don't adopt cats they
This is seen as very odd behavior given the fact that cats usually take at least a couple weeks to adjust to their environment.
I give all this backstory to say that I see a lot of myself in my kitty: I've also been through a lot of trauma throughout my life, and I've felt abandoned by people who were supposed to be there for me. I also have been faced with obstacles in my life due to my appearance as a person of color, and I've had to come up against a lot of things as a result. I've also felt for the longest time that I'm "too old" to find a partner as someone in my mid-twenties who has yet to be in a romantic relationship, and I've often felt that my flaws -- like my mental health, addiction recovery, eating disorder history, etc. -- would somehow be viewed as being too terrible to look past despite my positive qualities. I've devalued myself so much for most of my life as a result of looking at myself through a trauma lens.
But in adopting my cat, I've learned that all the things he has faced in life, and his little quirks, are all exactly why I love him so much! When he yawns one of his toothless yawns, he looks like an adorable little stuffed animal-- I never saw this as him being any less "lovable" because he got the help he needed to survive. He follows me around from room-to-room, partly because he wants food, but I'd also like to think partly because he loves me. haha
I find his older age to be endearing, and I didn't want a kitten anyway because I felt like I wouldn't be able to give them the attention they need once quarantine lifts-- I never saw him as being "too old" to love. And since cats can live a long time, he's likely got another 10+ years in him anyway!
Also, I've noticed that he still is learning to trust and warm up to me since he still has a hard time staying in bed with me when I go to sleep, but he's making progress! He'll nap towards my head and not at my feet during the daytime. He just needs to be shown that I will consistently love and care for him, and to build that trust (even though he's surprisingly built a lot of trust with me so early on!) He's super affectionate and loves when I give him pets, and I love giving them to him whenever I can.
I realized that if my cat can be lovable not despite
all those things he had going against him, but because
of all those things, then maybe, just maybe
I could potentially be good enough and lovable with my past, my flaws, and all.
I hope maybe this can help others to hear the story of my cat! I love him so so much and it's already been so therapeutic to have him in my life since adopting him earlier this week. <3