My parents weren’t as bad as I thought. There was passivity from one and aggression from another but they deserved some credit for the good they did.
For virtually all of my conscious life I assumed I’d be a better parent than they were but now I’m certain that that isn’t true.
I say this because my cat is lost and I am furious with her and with myself.
As a cat dad to a four month old kitten, I wanted to protect her but I knew I had to give her some independence. Clearly I was wrong to do that because now I don’t know where she is.
Frankly, it’s negligence on my part. She’s been out before and monitored closely but today was the day she slipped away as I was doing some work.
On the other hand, maybe I shouldn’t be so hard on myself. I’m fallible after all. And yet, I’m still furious with myself but also with her.
I knew the risk and she’s still so young. How could I be so stupid? If anything were to happen to her I don’t want to know what I’d think of myself. I should’ve been on top of her at all times. She’s too young to know the dangers out there.
And yet, I’m upset with her because she’s a rambunctious ball of orange and white lightning in the house. It looked like she was manic with cabin fever. But once she went outside she was so happy and then would come inside calm.
Maybe it isn’t fair to compare my parents parenting me, a human, versus my parenting of a different species.
Maybe I don’t care to acknowledge that because I feel like I should’ve known better.
But don’t think the irony isn’t lost on me. I know I’m being self-deprecating due to how I was raised. Yes, I see that. But the fact is I’m upset with my kitten, just as how my parents were upset with me if I touched something I wasn’t supposed to or was playing around when they needed me to finish my homework.
That same anger that they turned on me I’m turning on myself. Yes, and while I acknowledge that that’s bad, I’m guilty of being upset with Penelope for ripping the underside of my bed, using my arm as a chew toy every morning and jumping on my laptop when I move her away from lying on it.
As annoying as she can be, I’ve never seen a cat as loving as she is. Plus, she’s a cat. I can’t criticize her nature just as how my parents could’ve been more lenient in their treatment of me when I was a child.
But this experience has been eye-opening. I get why my parents yelled. They were scared. I keep waiting to hear a meow at the door and I see myself crying and screaming.
Maybe I’m being melodramatic, but all I know is how I feel.
If this is how I am for my cat, I don’t want to think about a kid. This experience is kind of scaring me from having one because I’d be worse. This is all very revealing, jarring and saddening.
The previous cat I had was also independent but more fearful and didn’t venture too far from home. She died this year at 14 years old after being hit by a car.
I wasn’t exactly interested in getting another cat so soon but I was given Penelope and I just tried to get my dad hat back on.
If I drop the judgment just for a moment, I can say that this isn’t anyone’s fault. If this happened to anyone I knew I wouldn’t blame them or their pet, so it’s not fair to lambaste myself or her. Cats are gonna cat and I am not an indulgent/permissive parent nor a helicopter parent.
If I’m saying my parents weren’t bad parents, then I’m not either. Definitely not perfect but not deeply flawed.
But if there’s one thing that needs to be addressed, it’s the self-deprecation. For sure.
I’m still pretty sad though. Hopefully she’ll come home.
*** Update ***
She’s back :)