Monday, March 14, 2016

Honey the Cat

Sweet Abbey

Last week I wrote about my early experiences with animals. Most of those experiences were with dogs.

As a child, I had one cat that was “mine”: Honey. My cousin, who lived next door to me, gave me one of the kittens from a litter her cat had.

I named her Honey because she was light brown and because one of the characters in the Trixie Belden mystery books I loved was named Honey.

Honey had to live outdoors—no animals allowed in the house. I don’t even remember if my mother bought cat food for her or if she was expected to eat the dog food. 

In truth, though Honey was “mine,” she was only nominally mine. She wasn’t part of the family. I have no pictures of her.

The only time I spent with Honey was the time after I got home from school, before it got dark. I didn’t really know her. As I had with the dogs, when I went indoors, I felt like I was deserting her.

She walked back to my cousin’s house several times, on her own. That’s where her mom and siblings were. And that was no easy feat. When I say my cousin lived next door to me, I mean in the rural way—the next house over. There were large hay fields and corn fields between us. So Honey traveled to get back to what she considered her home.

One day I took Honey back to my cousin’s house and said I was giving her back because she kept going back anyway.

But really, I was trying to get rid of the guilt I felt over leaving Honey alone outside. And I was an anxious child. I was beginning to have symptoms of OCD, and part of the way that anxiety disorder manifested itself in me was huge sense of responsibility for the well-being of everyone around me. If I didn’t have a cat to be responsible for—if I could give that responsibility to someone else—then at least temporarily, that reduced my anxiety.

I still feel guilty about Honey, about giving her back. But I hope that once she was back at my cousin’s life, she at least had the comfort of other cats.

I was about 11 years old then. It would be over 25 years before I opened my heart to another cat.

Now let’s talk happy memories. What is your first happy memory about a cat?


  1. When I look back at things I did as a child, acting like a child, when no adult helped me reason things out, I am ashamed and sad, because of course a child has no understanding. My parents did not want any animals AT ALL while I grew up; a neighbor had two cats that wandered into our yard once in awhile, then a family had a cat and dogs which I had little contact with. My first happy memory has to be when Angel and Chuck (whom we adopted in 2005 as 6 week-old kittens) used the litter box! It felt like a triumph at the time...;-)

  2. Try not to be so hard on yourself. You were just a kid, and you've grown so much since then.

  3. guys....

    yur mom did what her thinked waz rite.....thatz all that matterz....her had compassion and sense enuff ta give honey a.... "home"

    sew thatz a 984 paws up in R book.... !!!

  4. Ahhhh I think you did a very nice thing for Honey. You did what was best for her. That is a good pet owner.

    I was raised with dogs and all of my extended family had dogs.My first cat memories was in the early 1980's. We went to visit my brother in law in Syracuse. He had 2 sisters kitties who were litter mates, Ursala and Gudrin. My husband and I were fast a sleep on the pull out sofa. I kept felling my hair being touched. I kept moving my head. I thought is was my husband. I finally woke him up asking why he was messing we my bangs. He said it wasn't him. I look up to back of the sofa to see biggest green eyes staring at me and a paw about to whap my bangs again.
    It was Ursala the black cat. When we arrived she had been very standoffish. Gudrin was the friendly one. Seems Ursala like me and my bangs. That is when my fascination with felines started. They are just so magical.
    Hugs Madi's mom

  5. This is a bittersweet story. You were just a child and you did the best you could.

  6. That story is so sad but I am hopeful that by bringing Honey back, she was able to be an inside/outside cat (since you were in the country), if that is what he preferred. My first cat as an adult was my happiest cat memory. I didn't have my first cat as an adult til my late 30s. catchatwithcarenandcody

  7. I am sure Honey was happy to be with her fur family. My first cat wasn't until I got married at 23, my husband's cat, Patches was a sweetie.

  8. Honey was beautiful. Don't feel bad about taking her probably was for the were young. We're glad you have cats again.

  9. i have never owned or lived with a cat. both of my sons have cats and i love all of them....

    i am allergic but Benadryl helps a lot....and feeling their love also!!!

  10. It was nice to read about your cat, Honey even though you didn't really know her well I believe in your own way you loved her enough to want her to have a good home among other cats. I've almost always had a cat in my life. I can remember the names of each one of them from my very first cat who's name was Boots (he was black and white).

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