Why you are like a cat when you are upset…

Why you are like a cat when you are upset... by Keri Kettle

I had to take my cat in for surgery today. Which meant that he couldn’t eat after midnight last night. He was truly pissed this morning before we left for the vet. He kept running to the bowl and crying and running back to me and crying some more. The entire time that I was getting dressed and ready, he was jumping up on counters to get as close to my face as possible to meow loudly, trying to let me know that HE HAD NO FOOD. I kept telling him that he can’t eat before his surgery but, apparently, his English isn’t very good.

It got worse when I put him in his cat carrier for the ride to the vet’s office. He didn’t just meow, he howled. I used to go to a “cats only” vet that is 20 minutes away, but after taking him once and having him howl the entire time, I decided to find the closest vet possible. But even ten minutes is a really, really long time to be enclosed in a Prius with a yowling cat. Again, I told him it was all going to be alright but he just kept trying to let me know how much he hates riding in the car by making a LOT of noise. Seriously, my cat does not hear a single word I say.

When people are in the midst of divorce, grief or any other major crisis, they are in so, so much pain. I have been working with people in difficult times for nearly two decades now. Most of them can’t hear my words when they are deep in grief.

I KNOW with my whole heart they will be okay, in fact, they will most likely be even better than they can imagine right now.

I know that being in that place of pain and frustration truly blows.

I know that the only way out is through – you stuff it all down and it just blows up, usually at an inconvenient time or place, like the dry cleaners or your kid’s school.

So I don’t tell people in crisis that things aren’t as bad as they might seem. I don’t tell them to “let go and let God” or to “look on the bright side”. That’s a lot like trying to explain to your cat that you only take them to the vet because you love them.

I let them cry, even howl. I agree with them that it isn’t fair and it isn’t right. I try to keep a lot of tissues on hand.

For most people in crisis, this is the really horrible bit that will ultimately free them from a lot of pain. But the fact that I have seen so many people move on to have so much love and joy after difficult times doesn’t mean that they want to hear about that from me right now.

What they truly want is the one thing I don’t have to give – relief from suffering. So I keep agreeing with them that it sucks and it’s not fair. I keep handing them tissues and offering water. And I remind myself that one day I will see them shine again, maybe even a little brighter than they did before.

Please share your thoughts.