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Thursday, September 09, 2010

A Lifelong Fear of Cats and Dogs

All my life I was deathly afraid of dogs and terrifically nervous about cats.  Whenever my family and I were going to go somewhere, I had to realize that I might spend the whole time in the car or hiding because wherever we were going there might be a dog or cat.  It is a lousy way to spend your life as a child but even lousier as you become an adult.
I couldn't sleep in a house with cats unless I had control over the door of the room in which I slept so I could be sure where the cat was at all times.  I ran into my house when I was a teenager because the man nextdoor had a dog who might be unleashed.  What a lousy way to live.  I walked to our church and went in the back door and spent hours teaching myself to play the piano.  On the way was a German Shepherd and he barked and barked...but one day he was out and he bit me.  It speaks to my love of piano that I kept walking to the church and played anyway, however, I now had to find a different route to the church.  Life was scary!
People were always telling me that their animal wouldn't hurt me.  Didn't matter what they said, I didn't TRUST animals.
Then, when I was 55, I was staying with my goddaughter and a stray cat left one of its kittens (about 2-1/2 weeks old) and she brought it into the house.  I feel instantly and totally in love.  This cat had HUGE feet.  Smile.  And lots of fur.  And I took the kitten to the vets and got all the info I needed to raise him.  I named him Regan, after one of my son's friends, because I liked the name, and proceeded to raise and train a cat.
I didn't get over my fear instantly (although it is totally gone now with only a healthy watchful eye when I meet new dogs and cats).  I waffled about keeping Regan.  One thing that helped me was that I made the decision to keep Regan as an indoor cat and when he was neutered, I also had his front claws removed.  I know there is a lot of controversy over that and I myself feel guilty once in awhile but it has worked just fine.   Regan is a Norwegian Forest Cat/Maine Coone type and has a wonderful personality and demeanor.  He still acts like he has claws.  We have been a very good and loving team for 8 years now.
Then came Bearli.  When I moved where I am living, there was a stray cat who had kittens and was instantly killed and a lady here rescued the kittens.  The first one was gray and it was only 12 hours old.  I was able to keep it alive until it was 4 days old and then AJ (April if it was a girl, June if it was a boy) died.  We buried it here under a beautiful marker.  Then I got the brother that was by this time 2 weeks old.  All black, tiny, bearly formed, covered with bugs, mites, and walking dandruff (my vet kinda laughed a little when his computer spit this info out as he had never seen it before) and skinny.  I pulled out my little bottles, got the formula and went to work.  Named this little tyke Bearli (after "bearly formed" and Bearli the goat from "Heidi" because this little kitten looked like a little bear cub).  And today Bearli is 2 years old and has a bit of a wild and jumpy streak in him but by the same token he will sleep in my lap for hours, very relaxed.
I have gone over in my past why I was so afraid of cats and have spoken to my sister.  She is the same way.  My paternal grandfather was quite mean to animals and used them for things better not discussed here and I think that is why we both reacted so badly.  But I am over it.  Yay!!  What a lifting.
I just wanted to share this with whoever. 
I am thankful to Mother and Father God for all that I have, all that I am, all that I will be.