• Soliloquies Concordia

Projecting Betrayal

By Swan


mage is a sketch of a cat sleeping on a chair. The background of the image is beige.


I’m fascinated by animals. They are such intriguing beings, but I never really had much proximity to them. My family had fish, everyone else had cats and dogs. Now, living by myself, I had been pondering on whether it was time to get a pet, especially with loneliness and depression following me in my shadow.


While writing articles, I’d been sent to the ER for a variety of reasons; things were not going my way. That was until a friend told me about a cat named Mittens: an elderly, declawed cat who was getting bullied by the cat she lives with.


It quickly went from she’s cute to I want to open my heart to her.


Following an odd sequence of events, I found myself staring at her in her carrier wondering what I was supposed to do now.


I left her in my bathroom with water, food, and her litter box. I was so scared of disturbing her, I visited my family next door to use the bathroom. I recorded every time she emerged from her preferred hiding spots and even caught her stalking around at night.


I wanted to make her happy; I took care of her better than I took care of myself. But then I noticed things that made me wonder if she was okay.


The visit to the vet was to make sure I wasn’t missing anything important. I didn’t think much of it until I woke up the day of and spent two hours wrangling a cat that did not want to be put in the carrier. It took the combined efforts of my mother and I to do it.


Like I did at the beginning, I peeked into the carrier and my heart just seemed to cry out. I saw pain and anguish.


I saw loneliness.


I saw betrayal.


I am clearly projecting. I walked to the vet late and spent most of the trip trying not to throw up with anxiety, or cry because of my own wounded heart. I felt, and still do feel, that I’ve done something horrible.


Which I know is untrue.


I am projecting my own trauma onto Mittens. Emotions that had been pushed down with school, the pandemic, and my job. I thought about it and saw the emotions like one sees constellations. I could see history and pain in all of them.


I never thought owning a pet would make me think about these things.


I love Mittens, but I know she’s probably unhappy with me. She’ll probably forgive me after some treats and grooming.


There are bigger things in my mind, but at least I’m not alone anymore.