Early consciousness | For Animal Lovers

Courtesy of colesdaily blog

Courtesy of colesdaily blog

What is the earliest memory you have? Were you five or six? Or much younger? Were they good memories or bad ones? Or a mix of different experiences?

I don’t have a lot of memories prior to starting school. I have a few. I remember my dog pooping on my good dress. I remember it vividly because it was very soft and looked like yellow mustard. (Hey, I was a little kid and this was a new experience for me!) I didn’t eat mustard for a long time. Still don’t eat the yellow stuff.

I vaguely remember my first day of school. I had to take a bus. Going from home was ok but after school there were several buses waiting and they all looked alike – big and yellow. Finally someone helped me board the right one. Of course now I have this fear of getting lost when I travel.

Perhaps all phobias start from stupid experiences — some that weren’t necessarily life threatening. So how do the really bad experiences affect you? Maybe I don’t want to know.

This cogitation started because I wondered about my cats. I have four, all rescues and I wonder what their kitten hood was like and how it affected their personalities.

Jake showed up in a friend’s yard. He was about three months old, skinny and hungry. Did someone drop him off? Did he wander off and get lost? He didn’t let anyone touch him for a while so he wasn’t people socialized. Or maybe he had a bad experience with people. I had to work with him when he ate so he could get used to being touched. Now he is a very friendly cat.

Mollie was about 15 months old and had already had a litter of kittens when she joined us. She was very people socialized so she was probably someone’s pet. She is shy but will warm up if people are around long enough.

Hazel is a wonder. She came to us at about six months give or take but she was very timid and not at all people friendly. She still isn’t. If someone comes to the door, she is under a bed in a nanosecond. With her tummy that is no small feat.

She won’t let us pet her very often. She is very intent on food. I wonder what her younger days were like that made her so cautious and fearful. Did her mama tell her bad things about people? Did kids torment her? Did she go hungry? Who knows?

Now we have Morgan — the new cat. I already know she had some issues. She was picked up as a stray with a bad eye infection. She was very skinny when she came to us (she had already been at the shelter for five months) but she wasn’t shy.

She had to have been around people. She greets all visitors and has no problem letting us know when it’s time to eat. In fact, if I’m too slow for her, she will jump up on the counter and help herself.

She doesn’t fear loud noises and will sleep through the vacuum cleaner. For a while, I thought she may have hearing issues. If she does, she has somehow learned how to hear the cat food can lid open from any location in the house.

This is one of those times when I wish they could talk to us and tell us what life was life before they met us. In the meantime I keep telling them that living with us is like winning the lottery.

They keep telling me to keep the food coming and oh yes, a little catnip would do nicely too.

32 thoughts on “Early consciousness | For Animal Lovers

  1. Pingback: Tigger is . . . Ten! | Spirit Lights The Way

  2. It does sound like your kitties have hit the lottery. I wish all animals were so lucky. We have two cats we adopted as kittens from a shelter about 5 years ago. Our female is shy, but she does come around. Our male always was the social critter. Both, thankfully, have warmed to our grandpuppy who was about 10 months old when our eldest daughter’s family adopted him. They do add a lot to a family.

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  3. I’m in awe of your dedication…so many cats in need of homes…a friend of mine has four she just rescued from the woods by her house. She’s decided to keep them all. Her husband is freaking out but she fell in love and can’t part with them. Think I’ll send her a Petco gift card…you’ve inspired me Kate…you and your many readers.

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  4. Tigger was raised by raccoons . . . he loves water and uses his paws to pick up food and bring it to his mouth. 😛

    He is brave around people, vacuum cleaners, etc., but he’s not much of a lap cat.

    If I pick him up to snuggle, he acts like a teen-aged boy who is “too old for that, mom!” He gives me about 15 seconds before he starts to wriggle and squirm to get away.

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      • I love watching him, but have never managed to have the camera in the right place at the right time. He reaches out with both paws . . . pushing the treat between them . . . and then lifts it to his mouth. He also jumps up and catches treats the same way.

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  5. I found my dog across the street from my place. She was about 2 months old and ridiculously cute. And curious, and bossy, as I found out the next day. She decided that not only did she like staying here, she would do so whether I liked it or not. I’m glad she did though 🙂

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  6. I think Teddy was mistreated somewhere in the first 4 months of his life before I adopted him. He is afraid of hands. For the longest time he wouldn’t let me hold or pet him. Even now if I wave my hands or move them too quickly he runs and gets under the covers of the bed. I have never hit him but he acts like I have sometimes. So sad. I hope he learns that he is safe with me.

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    • I’ve seen that with dogs. They will cower when something happens that they remember as bad. Makes you wonder who could mistreat a kitten. Molly adapted so easily that I can’t believe someone gave her up. She is a wonderful, and beautiful cat. She appears to have been well treated and doesn’t have any fears at all except for the vacuum cleaner.

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  7. Your lucky kitties are giving you clues all the time about their past lives and the issues they faced. I feel the same about Rozie our rescue dog. What must she have endured to have caused so many unfounded fears?

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  8. All the pets I’ve been responsible for obtaining came from shelters. I support them as much as I can with donations of either cash or items when they put out the word of what they need. My animals all had “quirks” (never issues) and I’ve often wondered what their previous lives must have been like for them to become that way.

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  9. My cats are rescues as well. Bartkett was found in a dumpster with 2 siblings when he was a week or two old. He was about 4 weeks old when I got him. I am his mom. He talks to me, he sleeps cuddled up to me and gets pissed when I go out. He trusts no on else. Other than me there have only been 3 other people he’s gone near: one of my friends, the young guy who used to handle my computer problems and the gal who used to move in and take care of my cats when I traveled. Other than them he hides the minute he hears voices in the hall. I have had him 13 years and my cleaning lady has never laid eyes on him .

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    • For about the first 5 years, Jake was extremely shy around strangers. We had house guests for a week and they never saw him. He ate and did his business at night or when they were out. Fortunately he got better as he got older.

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  10. Our girl kitty came to us as was a kitten who ate food out of a dumpster outside a hospital. She was always scared of the sound plastic bags– loved people who sat still. Our boy cat’s mother died after his birth so he was bottle fed– but did not have much use for people. The girl cat’s behavior made sense to me, but the boy cat’s behavior made no sense to me. They both were goofs.

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  11. I wonder about our rescue kitties too, but it certainly didn’t take them long to get used to living in the lap of luxury. Oh yes, and people-ownership!

    If Morgan is helping Jake, Hazel and Mollie edit your blog, and if she has a mind of her own, you might need to change the subtitle from “three opinionated cats” to “four opinionated cats”

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