Back in 2011, in the parking lot of the deli my mother and I used to get our breakfast from in the mornings, a little surprise awaited us.
We always assisted in the care of the stray cats who lived on the canal behind the deli, dropping off food and the occasional basic vet care ,if needed. We had our usual crowd of about three or four furbabies of the black and white variety, but one stuck out as it was ran up to me looking for love.
“My god, you’re so beautiful!” shouted my mom as he gently clawed up my leg and fell asleep in my arms.
It turned out that he was a drop off who was left here by a woman in an SUV the night before, according to the neighbirs. Why he was left remained a mystery still to this day, but it didnt matter. I wanted him to come home with me.
My students at the time were studying the Renaissance, and the name Da Vinci stuck out, kind of took an ode from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in the naming process. Because I’m a nerd that way.
It then became apparent why he was left behind. As the little man showed some signs of mental trauma. The psychotic litter box scratching, the refusal to drink water out of bowls, the random sitting in the bathtub and crying, the fear of being touched and loud noises. Whatever this woman did to him gave this kitty enough PTSD to out due an Iraqi war vet.
You might be reading this and notice the time stamp on it that will most likely read something equivalent to about 3am or so. That’s because Da Vinci had a weird episode the last 2 hours of straight crying in the bathtub with no signs of stopping. Whether cats dream is still up in the air and for the life of me, I don’t know what sets him off. But I just spent the last hour changing out the food bowls and water and trying to make him feel better. Would you believe I had to sit on my toilet with him curled in my arms with the water running to get him to calm down?
Whatever mental pain this cat is in is exactly how I have been feeling the last few days when my PTSD decides to be a jerk and come back full force. Yesterday, I cried at work and snapped at people randomly and it took a good chunk of the day to calm myself down. All because of nightmares and the overall fear of irrational bull crap.
It broke my heart to see an animal feel that way, the same way I have been feeling the last few days. His little body curled in my arms as he purred away (he never purrs) reminded me of the day I found him in that parking lot, abandoned and alone. The way I often feel despite having a great support system of family, friends, and fellow cast members.
Finding happiness in a often angry world is one thing I want to accomplish for both me and Da Vinci. Suffering shouldn’t be the only option for anyone, period, human or creature alike.
We’ll find it soon, buddy. I promise.