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.