Sunday, 23 November 2014

Even When We Cannot See It The Sun Shines On Us All

I have so much catching up to do with my blog reading. It's positively dangerous to be absent for a couple of weeks.  It was a definite crash but I am very encouraged by my ability to recover from crashes faster than I did a few years ago.  It seems like I have been not functioning well for about a month though I managed to fake it for part of that and have really only spent about two weeks needing significant help.  My mother is an angel, a saint, or whatever the non-theist version of that might be.  I attempted to order groceries online.  It was my first time; I was an online grocery virgin and I am sure that next time it will be better.  Actually it was pretty good except that I only ordered one mushroom.  The person filling the order must have found that pretty strange.  Oh well, I have troubles preparing food when I crash anyhow and don't like it when produce goes to waste.  My mother, in one of her many saintly ways, will often wash and peel or cut up vegetables for me or cook me meals and send Dad over with them still hot.   While I was not fully bedridden it was a daily choice between showering and dressing or managing to scramble some eggs.

I turned the corner a couple of days ago and suddenly am longing to read, write, paint, to do everything and to get out.  That is the difficult part actually because I must not overdo it.  I must reign myself in.  It's a bit of a surprise that I am doing okay at this moment because in the past week I have been through a challenging and emotionally difficult experience which I was not sure I was going to be able to write about.  In the end, writing is always a very good way for me to relieve the burden of emotions and while I am not one for airing the dirty laundry, this bit of news has to be shared.  It has to be shared because it involves Sophie.

Rest assured, Sophie is alive and well.  But she is no longer living with me.  I shared stories and pictures of her on this blog and I believe, I hope, it is obvious that I love her.  She is a complicated character though and what I didn't share was her violent side.  Yes, I did just use the word violent.  Sophie spent the first two years of her life growing up with a puppy.  It is another difficult story but suffice it to say the dog is no longer my companion either.  I thought I was cured, that I no longer had M.E. and I wanted a dog.  It went well for the first year.  That's a long story and I will cut it short but the point is that I chose Sophie because she displayed a very boisterous personality and I thought she would do well with a dog.  She sure did.  She loved to play with Lucy and they chased, wrestled, hid, pounced, attacked, and bathed each other.  Sophie did most of this and Lucy just sort of lumped around and enjoyed it.  It has been nearly a couple of years since Lucy lived with us and Sophie has been without her playing companion.

I thought this would be okay.  Cats, after all, usually outgrow play to some degree and Sophie proved skilled at amusing herself.  But in time it became obvious that she is the border collie of cats.  She is intelligent and very active.  She gets bored and when she is bored things get destroyed.  She wants to play for hours and expects human participation.  One of her favourite games is fetch.  When Sophie wanted me to play with her, which was nearly constantly, she attacked me the same way she used to attacked Lucy.  Lucy loved it.  Lucy had thick skin and fur so hardly felt it and after the roughhousing Sophie would wash Lucy's face.  I tried many tactics to train Sophie, to redirect her energy and to give her alternative things to bite.  I researched online what to do but nothing worked.  I tried to put up with being scratched and bitten.  I excused it and focused on her sweet side.  Sophie's frustration at being bored was increasing over the past year and she would often bite the sofa or a pillow with the most intense ferocity.  She knew she was not supposed to do this.  In fact she would stop if I said 'no' but stop only for a minute and then possibly attack me if the sofa was not an option.   Eventually she began to get sneakier.  She would sneak up on me and attack so that I had to be on guard all the time she was awake. 

I find it difficult to admit to her dark side.   I do not think it her fault, but rather that she is a cat not meant to be an indoor cat.  She needs physical and mental stimulation and I could not give her the life she needed.  Last week she bit my arm so hard, sinking her teeth in, that I looked like I had been attacked by a vampire.  That was when I made the difficult decision to give her up.  I did not know anyone who could take her (unlike Lucy for whom I found a wonderful and better home) so it had to be the SPCA.  I was not physically able to cope with this myself, being so exhausted, so Mum helped.  Although they said they could take her, it was four days later that they actually had physical room for Sophie so it was  yesterday that she went.  I miss her.  I am, of course, experiencing guilt along with the sadness.

The place in the kitchen where her food and water were looms large and empty so that I almost trip on that unexpected space.  I woke this morning and instinctively reached out my hand and spoke to her though she was not there.  I came home from an appointment today and expected her to greet me when I came in the door.  It feels like a death although it is not and Sophie and I will both be fine.  She is a lovely cat in many ways and with the right home, with the opportunity to go outdoors and perhaps other animal companions, she will get the stimulation she needs and will be a loving companion.  I miss her snuggling with me, but I do not miss being bitten.  I do not miss feeling close to tears because she still wants me to play with her and I have done as much as I could.  I miss the sounds of her breathing. I miss the mess of her toys everywhere.   It is quiet in her now.

Life brings changes.  It brings difficult things and joyful things.  It brings endings and new beginnings, it brings both growth and loss.  The only thing I know how to do is to keep going and I have done so in situations much more difficult than this.  And yet this is difficult.  It's possible that the emotional strain of not being able to cope with her contributed to my small crash, and it's possible that the relief of dealing with it has contributed to what looks like my recovery.  I am not sure I can live without a cat.  I have hardly ever done so.  But for awhile I will.  And right now I mourn my loss of the beautiful, intelligent, complicated, affectionate and rambunctious Sophie. 


  1. It is never an easy to give away a pet. We adopted a cat that had lived on a farm and been tormented as a kitten by three kids. He was very skittery and started to attack our elderly dog that we had at the time. The boys were scared to walk past him as he would leap out and attack their legs. So I took him to our vet as I didn't think he would get any better. I agreed that if he could be re homed to do so but he was in the end put to sleep. You will miss your dear Sophie but you have done what is right for you and that is the most important thing.

  2. So sorry about Sophie, Shawna, but it sounds like she really needs a lot of playtime and playmates, so it is most probably better for both of you. I do believe that it is a matter of a good match with people and pets. I can imagine that it feels lonely without Sophie now. But you will find a sweet companion for yourself as soon as you're ready, and your new friend is ready, I am sure of it!

    And I am happy to know that you are feeling better! That's great news. I do miss your presence. I hope you'll pick just the right pace for yourself and have some good fun reading, writing, painting and going out, and still have enough rest, so you have energy and feel good. Take a good care of yourself. And how wonderful that your parents live so close and can help out. They love you so much. Say hello to them! :)

    Thank you for your kindest comments, I do appreciate them very much! Have a great week and Hugses! xxxxx

  3. I've parted with cat thorough the inevitable sad end that follows old age or serious illness and still remember the pain and heartbreak. Be strong. xxxx

  4. sadly it is impossible to send a cat in a parcel over half the world! our woodsy environment and the many mice would be perfect for the wild cat sophie!
    i´m in that party that birds don´t belong in a cage and cats must have the possibility to go outside. i hope that sophie will find a house with garden to live there happily :-)
    p.s.: depends on the size of the mushroom :-D

  5. How sad and difficult. Time is the only thing that I know which softens these wounds.


  6. It is sad to live without Sophie now, but I can understand it well.
    Have self a cat, always I say: Borderline / ADHS;-)
    She needs constant attention and proofs of love breaks all my activities. I am autistic, need routines and controlled processes in many things, but not one thing I can not end in order to constantly interrupted. There are days when I break down crying and all day's work is in vain, not done. This is the bitter truth and dark side of love for animals, sigh!
    I have often wondered, give away, only no one takes them. So keep.
    She goes out, the summer is not so bad ... but again rain and winter. The same problem.
    If you are disabled themselves, sometimes a serious problem is additional. Your deciding is hard, but right!
    It will hurt for some time, live without Sophie ... but maybe later another cat. They are not all like her, I know a lot - my is also an extreme cat.
    All the best for you :-)

  7. Please don't feel guilty. You made the hard decision that pet owners sometimes need to make. It's better for her to be where she is now. You did the right thing. I am sorry for your feelings of loss, though. I can't imagine how hard that must be for you.

  8. How very sad. Sophie definitely sounds as though she is a cat requiring lots of space and stimulation, and the opportunity to roam outside will probably make a lot of difference to her. Her biting behaviour isn't evidence of a dark side; she's an animal without morality, just instincts and needs. Our cat Charlie is quite aggressive at times, but we are a lively household full of people and other cats, so his behaviour is diffused in the general melee. I can understand completely how hard it must have been for you to give Sophie away, but if you and she were not the best match, then it's the right thing to do. But I know how much you will be missing her presence in your flat, and in your life. Hope you feel better about it all soon. xxx

  9. Awww too bad! There is an excellent web site called l'Educhateur, the provide services for owners who have problems with their pets - They do consultation via Skype or you can send them a video of your cat - The session costs around $140 and i heard good things from my vet about L'Educhateur - Here's the web site They provide consultations in both french and english

    You never know you could solve the problem and maybe she could come back


  10. I can understand how sad you must be feeling ... but focus on the beneficial side ... not the sad side. Sophie will no doubt find a more suitable home and then in time you can find a more suitable companion.

  11. Oh poor you Shawna, what a difficult situation to be in but hopefully Sophie will be able to find somewhere where her boundless energy can be used.Sending you many hugs.x

  12. Everybody has said all the things. So hugs from me xo JJ

  13. A situation as complex as this is a drain on all one's physical and emotional resources, Shawna. Be very gentle with yourself as you emerge from it, knowing you made the best choice for both you and Sophie -- and your mum, who is probably relieved that a potential source of serious injury to you has departed the scene. The Universe times these things: be sure Sophie's new playmate is searching for her this very minute!

    Very interested in your comments about at-home grocery shopping! I, too, "get busy" and allow veg to languish in the drawer. My solution has been to prepare freezer bags of chopped veg (peppers and onions) for quick retrieval when a single lady's supper needs color and vitamins, e.g. a steak saute, sort of. We do what we can, when we can -- we can do no more.

  14. :( I am so sorry you had to give your kitty away. I don't know how I would react if I have to give away my fat stupid cats. I practically don't interact with them whole day, because they've merged with the sofa, but still, I think I'll be very sad. Your story reminded me of that show "My cat from hell". The show is awesome, kind of like the dog whisperer, but for cats :D
    I'm happy to hear you're back on your feet! I missed your posts, and cheers for your amazing Mom. I want to buy her a drink now! Love you Shawna, don't ever stop blogging!

  15. Sending lots of love you way special lady ... At least you know Sophie will be cared for. Take it easy and be gentle with yourself!!!

  16. That was a brave decision to give up Sophie and I am sure you will miss her presence, but she will find a better match, as will you if that is the right thing. Glad you are feeling better xx

  17. I get you and understand so much, as difficult a decision it was to make, allowing Sophie to have a new home is the right move, it's important you are able to focus on your health - Whiskers (my AWOL cat) is a violent cat, so much that Charlotte was afraid of him, luckily most of his violence was aimed at me and not the kids, before he left he became quite fat so I'm convinced he's with another family but I feel impossibly guilty that I don't miss him as much as I should x x x


I love visitors and I love comments. I will try my best to respond to everyone! Thanks for stopping by.