zip zap boom
Of all my least favorite seasons in Colorado, moth season is clearly not my favorite. (Do other places even HAVE a moth season??). It started about a week ago when I noticed one big whopper of a flying grayman on my ceiling. Yesterday, five of them invaded the apartment–causing all three of my cats to lose their shit. Literally.
What ensued last night–around this time till about…oh, 1:30 am–was an epic disaster. The cats did things cats should never do–some extremely gross–and were crying and chasing flying grays around this apartment so aggressively that it may never be the same. The neighbor’s dog also went apeshit around 10 pm–waking me from a sound sleep twice–which alerted me to the crazy cat situation (along with the crashes that sounded like a Hummer stormed the balcony).
Almacita was not effing amused. I ended up staying up till well past 4:30 am (when I get up at 6:30 am). After cleaning up everything, I was pretty much fuming. At bugs. At stupid cats. At myself. At the world for making me so tired and never getting a break.
And did I mention all of this happened when I had a severely injured knee–so injured that I can barely walk to feed the cats in the first place?
I have a complicated, but ultimately simple, relationship with moths. Well, all bugs–really.
When I was little, I was terrified of them. Except when I dug in dirt. They were supposed to be there. That was okay because I was the invader. I have vivid memories of fumigators coming into our home. We never had rodents, but ants and roaches would come from our neighbors’ homes. I lived in utter fear that some bug would be crawling on me when I woke up every day. Moths were particularly scary to me. I remember I hated them more than all other bugs because they dive-bombed me. They just had really terrible attitudes. They wouldn’t let up either. So, often, I’d sleep with a thin sheet over my head–just in case.
I got less freaked out by bugs as I got older. I no longer would run, shrieking from a room in full-on priss mode, whenever a bug entered. I was a bio major, after all, and I understood these things. I was smarter than they were. I just had to wait it out. As an adult, I didn’t enjoy moth divebombs–but we had a truce. They would leave me alone, and I would leave them alone. And that truce continued on until a couple years ago when I got some cats. Cleo, my sweet girl, was pretty sadistic when it came to killing them. She liked to maim them and then play with them–never actually killing them–so I’d have to step in because I’m not that mean. Fogg was much more crazy–taking big risks and knocking down everything in her path to happily munch on moths. At least she ate them. The two young boys are kind of game changers, though. Both are hunters. Rilly, in particular, gets obsessed with bugs and will meow to them. Loudly. He also has been known to jump five feet in the air to get to one. He’s also quite dumb. So, there’s that. Mumford is much more intentional about his kills. But I guess that goes with being a street cat.
In any case, it happened again tonight–with much less hurrah and curse words from me.
I cleaned up the mess and went about ridding my home of these invaders–offering them an escape if they chose to take it. Of course, they’re dumb and didn’t do so. So I swiffered them. I recommend it. Great reach. (I mean–what kind of idiot bug invades the home of three hunter cats and a grumpy redhead?).
I’m an animal lover–yes–even bugs. They’re often beautiful, usually fascinating, and a key part of our ecosystems. I could talk your ears off about that. I respect them. But–like all uninvited houseguests–I don’t appreciate being infringed upon. There are plenty of places to hang out–much better ones, at that. And I don’t barge in on them. That said–as much as my black heart kinda gets a jolt of glee when the smackdown comes, I also feel sad. Like–man–why didn’t you let me shoo you out?
This afternoon, while utterly bored at work, I started examining the last day or so. I woke up this morning still feeling angry about the night’s events. My cats were assholes–I muttered. Didn’t I raise them better?
Then I realized I’m dumb and was trying to moralize cats about innate behaviors. I was also beyond mad about the gross things that happened–that I eventually figured out were related to one of our cats having a cold or something.
It helps that these three stooges are about the most adorable animals ever, and I am their resident kitty mama. While cuddling with the sick lady, I decided to give her some meds. Drops and goos and probiotics. She was a great sport and just seemed so appreciative. And I felt like an asshole for being so mad.
I had acted like she and her brothers had done all of this shit last night with some kind of malice. Didn’t they know how tired I was? How much pain I was in? How hard it was for me to even move?
Nope. They didn’t. And what’s worse–they had no comprehension of it. And they had no idea why I was yelling–just that I was kinda scary sometimes. I felt bad. In the early days of kitty mamahood, I learned that scolding cats was an exercise in futility. Cats don’t respond to scolding. They respond to love. If you love them and give them attention for good things, bad behavior usually stops. In my rage, I forgot that.
There’s not one bone of ill intent in any of their bodies. They act on instinct. They are physical beings. And judging them based on human ideas is totally unfair. See? I’m an asshole.
I found my compassion and my anger left me so easily. All I could be? Kind. Tolerant. My best self. It’s odd how easy it is to be those things when you stop playing the blame game and just open your heart to the little being in front of you–who wants nothing except a head scratch and some tuna.
It made me think about how I do the EXACT SAME THING with people. Only it’s harder to find compassion there. Because they’re people. They’re smart people who should know better. They should know without me ever saying anything?!
God. I operate at that level all the time. In fact, it’s the key factor in my anger towards others and the thing that often causes me to distance myself.
It’s that assumption that we all have the same information about each other–even when one person refuses to freely share their side of reality. It’s so easy to come from that place of rage rather than stopping to think about it. When you do–it’s pretty clear…God, that’s unfair. And it’s a way to seek out excuses to be mad and a way to justify behavior motivated by hurt and fear that (often) has nothing to do with the person in question.
Most of the time, it’s not personal. So why do I make everything too personal and then refuse to volunteer the vulnerability that comes with being personal?!
I’ve said it before, and I’ll likely say it a thousand times over, but my sweet kitties teach me a whole lot about what it really means to be with people–to love them and care for them.
Thanks, littles, for continuing to love me even when I’m a whirling dervish of growls. I promise to remember to love you even when it’s really hard.