Wednesday, July 18, 2007

The Cats of My Life: Allie

I think I was in sixth grade when I got Allie. It was a big deal. Our previous cat (who I haven’t talked about yet) had died and I’m not sure if we had gotten Cleo yet or not. My mother had a friend at work who ran a rescue group, and for the first time I was to go and pick out a cat for me.

The place was just an apartment overcrowded with cats of every color. I do remember there was this big orange one my mother wanted, but I wasn’t sure, there were just so many! Then this big grey tabby tomcat jumped on a garbage can and called me over. He was the one. Being uncreative in the naming department at the time, he became “Allie” because he was an Alley cat.

When we took him home it turns out he was sick, so he had to stay in my room for a while. At the time I had a ‘big sister’ through the Big Brothers Big Sisters Program. We did somethings, but for the post part she just brought me stuff back from her travels, a lot of cat items because at the time my motto was “Animals are my favorite people.” One of the items that she had brought me from Italy was a hand-painted scarf that I used on top of my dresser. Of course, that was Allie’s favorite spot to lie as he drooled out his illness. All the inks ran.

Allie was a big boy, and just a glorious cat. My brother commented on how scared he was all the time. But our house wasn’t exactly quiet. I used to have this one Polaroid picture of Allie curled up in a ball surrounded by my dolls. He was just so beautiful.

Sometime later Allie had urinary blockage and was in the hospital. When he returned I read up on ash and magnesium and how to take care of him so the crystals didn’t build up.

I don’t have any pictures of Allie anymore, I don’t know what happened to them. The only ones I even remember is the one I mentioned above and one where he was, I think, in-between the screen door and main door. My brother used to lock him out on the back porch because Allie would jump up through the hole in the screen door and balance to get our attention.

Should I warn you now, this doesn’t have a happy ending? There is a lot I blank out on about Allie and the memory I do have was the first one I worked on with my current doctor. It’s called ‘Immersion Therapy’ and I have to close my eyes and keep going back into the memory and telling it and connecting to all the emotions and that whole unification process I talked about. I also have to recognize the situation and that what happened wasn’t my fault.

I think there was something to do with cat litter. There is a vague recollection of my mother throwing the litter box into my room, and I put up my hands or feet to deflect it and it spills all over. She’s yelling at me, screaming. I don’t even see her, just the darkness that is her in my memory and those piercing grey-blue thundercloud eyes. She’s raging. Something about not doing my chores, not cleaning the litter box, not being responsible.

The next part I remember is trying to hide Allie and myself. She had threatened to take him away, said I couldn’t take care of him. I know I could take care of him; I already had through two illnesses. But my mother is claiming I don’t deserve the cat.

In the next part I remember I’m screaming, crying. She has taken Allie away, said she was bringing him to the pound to teach me a lesson. I don’t let up all night. How could she do that? How could she take away my animal, one she made such a show of me getting, for whatever her reasoning was? How could she so callously strip me of some living thing I loved?

The next day she says that because I’m being such a brat and to shut me up she’ll go get him back. Nothing about her feeling guilty for what she’s done. I just want her to understand how much she hurt me. That she, the mother, has caused me great pain. When she returns she tells me that he is dead. “They got a lot of animals in that night and put him to sleep,” she tells me. “He was just so frightened they didn’t think he’d do well. You know, if you hadn’t tried to hide him and scared him even more he’d probably be alive right now.” She continues by saying that now we can’t get another cat from the shelter because she has been added to the database of people who bring their pets in.

That was the part that hurt me for so many years – she blamed me. If I hadn’t of tried to hide him, he’d be alive. She shifted all of the blame on me. For so long I carried that burden. If I hadn’t have chosen him but gone with the orange cat, Allie would have lived a longer and happier life. Maybe the orange cat would have died in his place, maybe not. If I had just done the chores my mother told me too, if I had acquiesced, if I hadn’t tried to hide him, if, if, if. They swarmed around.

Bottom line though is she killed my cat and took the coward’s way out by shifting the blame to me, a 12-year old girl, her daughter. Instead of taking responsibility for hurting her children and now, taking a life, she passed the buck and rationalized how she was in the right and everyone else was wrong and ‘caused things to happen’ or ‘caused her to do things.’

How dare she. How dare she take a life that I loved, destroy it, and blame me. It’s taken a while to get to the point where I can say it with conviction, and I’d love to add a few curse words in here, but how dare she ever do such a thing. I think that was a major turning point for me. After Allie died I remember being filled with rage toward everyone. I hated so much. The love in my life was so horrifically taken away and I just blamed myself. However, I think I did begin to realize, somewhere within me, that there was no chance of my mother redeeming herself in my eyes. It started me down the road to total disgust with her, a road that has helped me separate myself from her actions and from believing I could ever be like that monster.


Amel's Realm said...

Oh dear!!! It must've been SO hard on you, being blamed and blaming yourself for everything.

HUGS for you!!!!!!!!!!!!

Victorya said...

thanks for the hugs! yeah, it took a while to realize it wasn't me, it was her.

Amel's Realm said...

Yeah, I can understand that.