Thursday, February 14, 2008

Traumatization: A Family Tradition

I wrote before about how we have traumatized our children. Well, last night we traumatized our cat also. It's really not our family "rite of passage", but traumatization just happens to be something in which we excel.

Our kitten Eddie has discovered the outdoors. The vet told me that once Eddie gets a taste for it, he will want to go out more and more. There have been a few times when we have been going in and out that he snuck out the front door while it was open. Yesterday as I was coming in the door, I started to close it but noticed something was in the way of the door. I was carrying a box, so couldnt' see very well. I looked and realized it was the cat going out, and I had started to close the door on him. It took me a few minutes to catch him and bring him back inside.

Last night my husband came home from work and I told him that someone had called for him. The phone number he needed was in his car, so he went out and left the door open. Unbeknownst to him, Eddie went outside. About 45 minutes later, as we were getting ready to go to bed, I asked if anyone knew where the cat was. My husband spoke up and said that he had left the door open for a minute while going to the car, and wondered if Eddie had gotten out. My son went outside to look for him.

As J. stepped on to the front porch, the cat, who had been crouched there on the porch, got startled and with a loud meow,jumped high up in to the air and did a back flip off the porch in to the bushes. J. jumped off the porch and got the cat out of the bushes. The cat was scratching and hissing and biting the whole time. J. brought him inside and put him on the couch in the living room. Eddie stood there with wild eyes with his back arched and every hair standing on end. He was growling and hissing at us. If we tried to go near him, he scratched and bit. Clearly he had been traumatized by being left outside. It was dark, it was windy, it was cold, and it was foreign. He was rightly scared.

I kind of liken this to when someone has a nightmare and you try to wake them up. They are still in the terror of the dream, and it takes them a few seconds to see that they are no longer in the nightmare. Eddie was in terror mode, so reacted to everything out of fear. I sat on the couch near him and had all of the family leave the room. Almost immediately after they left, he came over and let me pet him. I picked him up and he started to purr.

I wonder if he will have an aversion to going outside now. I hope not, I think if he can overcome his fears he will really enjoy it. I do think he needs to grow a little more first. But now we can say that he really fits in to our family. He has been traumatized just like our children. :)

No comments: