Dead cats

A dream this morning between 6 and 7. Vic and I are at home but it is my childhood home. We are looking after some children. Toys are scattered everywhere. I am sitting at a table reading. Suddenly I feel Lalo on my lap, real as life although I know he is dead. I pet him and he stretches in pleasure, turning almost upside down, sliding down between my legs. And I realize that this must be a dream, that I dozed off while reading, but I want to tell Vic, tell him how real it felt.

I am afraid to open my eyes for fear of breaking the spell but when I finally do I see a black cat huddled on the wood floor a few yards away, looking at me. I am upset. Was this the cat who was on my lap? Definitely not. How did this cat get in here? I pick it up to carry it outside, wondering if it has fleas. I get out to the porch (my parents’ porch but screened in, like mine) and see a small calico kitten on the porch and another one outside, trying to get in. They are very cute but I am in no mood for their cuteness. I shoo them all away. I surmise that they are all strays from across the road.

And then I wake up and realize it was all a dream. More than that, a dream within a dream.

Uh-oh. I hope that black cat wasn’t Opus, the late, beloved pet of my son and daughter-in-law. Opus, a splendid black cat, died in January. If it was Opus, I wasn’t very nice to him because I didn’t recognize him, although I thought there was something familiar about this black cat with a few white markings. But he has no business showing up in my dream. I do hope he visits Jesse and Linnea.

So much information in this dream.

1. I miss my kitty quite a lot, more than I have consciously felt. The dream brought up strong feelings. I think the fact that Lalo appeared in a dream within a dream shows that this loss is too fresh and raw for a regular dream. The dream makes me teary, and I haven’t been this way since he died. I was so happy to feel him. (I wasn’t even allowed to see him.) That happiness, and the upset and sense of loss that followed it, needed the outer dream to cushion these feelings in the transition to waking life.

2. The relationship with a pet ties me to my childhood. I always had pets when I was a child, loved them dearly, and, of course, eventually lost them. Lalo is the only pet I truly loved as an adult.

3. That relationship is peculiar to an individual animal. It doesn’t transfer to others. You can’t substitute one cat or dog for another.

4. I really don’t want another cat right now.

5. Nevertheless, they may come calling.

RIP Lalo, August 1994–February 17, 2014.

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