As mentioned before, we’ve taken in my parents’ kitty, Simon for a short stint to get him treatment for this yucky growth that was on his leg. We had him at the apartment for a few days before he went for surgery and he made himself at home from the moment he got here: following us from room to room, meowing for food and rubbing up against our legs, and above all, cuddling with us on the couch. His favorite spot was the ottoman and he would sit between D and I in the evenings when we’d watch TV.
D took Simon to the vet Thursday afternoon and he stayed there until Saturday, when I picked him up about mid-afternoon. I was in contact with the vet who said that he was doing fine and was actually very calm. I visited him Friday and he seemed fine, though pretty reserved and mainly just looked up at his reflection in the metal cage and the side walls. We were going to keep him ’til Sunday, but I didn’t want him to be overnight another evening in a small, cold cage (even though the vet is amazing and most of the vet techs are very loving). He hadn’t been messing with his stitches and there seemed no reason for him there anymore, plus I thought he’d enjoy the opportunity to lay in a sun spot since it was such a beautiful day. So, I picked him up around noon on Saturday.
Everything seemed rather normal in the car, and by normal I mean he cried the entire ride home. He happily made his way out of the carrier the minute I open its door and then cried to be fed. All seemed to be well. After he finished eating, I moved the ottoman back to in front of the couch so he could settle back into his favorite spot. At first, he followed me to the couches/living room, mewing happily. I opened the blinds to let the sun shine in and Simon followed me to the window. I turned around to pet him and noticed that he froze, staring uneasily at the couch.
Judging from the spot he was staring at, I figured he was looking at one of the pillows, thinking it was something else. I figured he’d realize it was just a pillow and then chill out, but he continued to back away. I called him, trying to draw his attention away from the spot, but he kept looking back at it warily, every few moments. In order to distract him, I picked him up and put him in the window so he could enjoy the view and the sunshine. Instead he sat, completely tense, facing the couch, his eyes wildly moving back and forth as if following something. At this point, I started to freak out a little bit because this behavior was so uncharacteristic for him. He continued to sit in the window, only paying attention to this spot on the couch for another 5 minutes before jumping off, and hurrying away, the whole time looking back to make sure whatever it was he was looking at was still there/not following him.
I texted our vet to inquire about his behavior and she mentioned that sometimes the antibiotic he was on could cause hallucinations, but he hadn’t received it all day. I called Donnie at work who thought I was overreacting and figured he might just be overwhelmed from all of the unusual activity the cat had been through in the past week. When I left to run some more errands, Simon was frozen in front of the fridge, peeking over, but refusing to move.
We returned home a couple hours later and Simon was hiding underneath our bed and would only come out for a few fleeting moments. When he was out, he would look towards the door that led to the living room, cower, and retreat back to the bed. Donnie suggested we close the blinds in case it was the shadows from the sunlight that were freaking him out. We closed them, even though the sun was just about set by this point, but he still would not emerge from underneath the bed for more than a few moments. Any time he’d inch closer to the door, his eyes would widen and he’d run for cover again.
The next day was much of the same, but we had little time to dwell on this since it was Easter Sunday and we had places to be. When we left, Simon was still cowering under the bed. He finally came out for food, but would barely even meow when I took the tuna can out of the fridge (very unlike him). He ate hurriedly, the whole time very visibly anxious. He continuously paused to look over his shoulder. By the time we left, he was back under our bed.
I discussed this with a few of my relatives (i.e., the ones who wouldn’t think I was totally crazy). My one aunt suggested we get a smudge stick and perform a blessing/cleansing in the apartment, just in case Simon did bring something or someone back with him from the vet’s office. Fortunately, I actually have a smudge stick already (I had picked it up a few months ago from my friend’s shop) so when we got home I was able to get right to it.
Just as when we left, Simon was still under the bed. He came out of hiding for a moment, but still would not pass the threshold into our living room. I lit the smudge stick and stood in our living room, asking whatever (until Donnie corrected me)–whoever–was there to please leave and go towards the light. I told them we meant them no harm, but they could not stay and we hoped to send it along with positive energy and wished it a peaceful transition.
I felt silly at first, standing there and commanding an invisible presence, but very shortly after this ritual began, Simon emerged from the other bedroom, walked right into the living room where he had refused to go for the past day and a half, and circled the room. Then, he jumped into the window (something he has not done at all while being here) and looked as though he was watching something. He then went back into the bedroom, jumped into that window and did the same thing. After, he came back out, he jumped back onto the couches and inspected everything. He sprawled out on the floor for some time before finally making his way back onto the ottoman in front of the couch, where he slept throughout the night into the next day. Donnie and I just stood there, completely fucking dumbstruck.
I am sure to many people this is a matter of strange coincidence and perhaps impossible to believe, but I guess that feeling is also based on your belief in the supernatural and the power of animals’ ability to feel things humans cannot. I’m not going to spend much time trying to convince anyone of what Donnie or I think happened Sunday night, but all I can say is it’s definitely made me a much firm believer in things I thought I already believed…