There has been a horrible cat living in our neighborhood. It has left poop on my doormat. It attacks other animals and people indiscriminately. Nobody likes the cat. The elderly lady who was feeding it called it "Lamby". When she sold her home and moved away, the cat stayed. The family who bought the house renamed the cat "Rascal" and continued feeding it. Lamby/Rascal has disappeared lately. We have a new kitty in our home. Her name is LillyKay. She is a lovely little long haired orange cat. She looks like L/R except she is about 15lbs lighter - about 1/4 the size. She is an inside cat. She is unable to meow out loud. But she likes to sneak out when ever she can. About two months ago she did just that. When I came home she was out. We looked everywhere for her. I thought she would be afraid of the dark. I thought some of the local wildlife might get her. We continued looking for her over the next few days. To make a long story shorter she was eventually found - she had been attacked by the neighbor's adult grandson because she was mistaken for the feral Lamby/Rascal. Animal control had been called in to remove her - broken and bloody. By some amazing miracle the neighbor decided to call my home to let us know a cat had been taken to the animal shelter - they had no idea she was our cat. I went to the shelter and picked her up just before they gave her the shot - they were waiting on a second opinion. I took her to our vet and he did his vet magic and the cat survived (surprisingly - really, I can't believe it). She did end up losing her beautiful tail, but she does all her cat stuff well without it.
Last night I was thinking about that. I understand why the neighbor wanted to kill Lamby/Rascal. I know it was a case of mistaken identity. I don't like the ugliness of the act, but I understand it.
This post is not about cats though. What I was thinking about last night is this: We have stuff in our lives that pain has imprinted there...sometimes that pain is wrapped in hatred and malice or numbness or other emotions (or lack of)...and the pain is legitimate, the source is real, but our response to it becomes something mutated. I am thinking about the baggage carried from one horrible experience and filtering our perspective - to the detriment of all. That guy would not have hurt my cat. That guy was kicking a cat who had attacked him. He saw the other cat when he looked at my cat. How do we keep "our cat's" straight? We learn from experiences and yet we never really duplicate events - we carry what we learn (correctly or incorrectly) forward to our next day and apply or misapply it to the present situation. Like trust. I have learned not to trust from previous life experiences...but trust is good...but we all know you can't trust everyone or maybe even anyone all the time. I wish we could go into the day, the situation, the relationship, with out all the "cats" in the background.