Updated: Oct 23
In August of 2019 my dear cat, Ivy went missing. I was distraught and heart broken. I never found her and it's been very hard to accept. But while looking for her, walking, knocking on doors further and further from home, I walked up to a porch with a very tiny black kitten, screaming. I rang the bell and they told me to please take that kitten. She had been there crying for 3 days. 3 DAYS! I determined she was about 4 weeks old. I later learned her mom had been hit by a car. She was covered in fleas, emaciated and traumatized. I rushed to the store and got formula and got her home where I bathed her and got the fleas off. As soon as she ate and was dry she fell asleep and slept for 3 hours. She would cry in her sleep and jump awake and fall back asleep. It was really hard to see just how traumatized she was. I went back to look for any siblings and couldn't find any. The vet said she was healthy, just weak and malnourished.
Over that year as she grew, I could tell something was different about her. That October she loved it when I brought amanitas home. She ate on them but only a small amount and then I saw such a huge difference in her mood and personality. Then it dawned on me, of course! Her trauma and potentially her anxiety from it could be healed by amanita. And she must have known that. From then on, I gave her nibbles of dried or small doses of tea when I noticed her being more moody or jumpy. And I watched her mature and change. It was really amazing.
As I started working on creating my smoke blends and bringing foraged things home, Freya would always show up and hop up on the table and look and smell and watch and learn. She stayed by my side the whole time I worked. Once I finished and started putting things away she would go eat and use the litter and go to sleep. I wondered if it was hard for her or if she was just truly fascinated and loved it like I did. And she did this every time. When I bring home amanita she gets really excited and meows and jumps!
Some cool things started happening last summer. We have a lot of animals show up on my back deck. Some are injured, some are regulars and some are transient. But last summer Freya started acting weird. She would come to me at night while I'm working here on the computer and meow very loudly. I would get up and she would trot quickly to the back door where I would look and not see anything. I would come back and she would get more throaty in her meows and more demanding. I would go and look and see nothing. But one time I realized I hadn't put food out so I got food and put it out and as soon as I did she walked away and laid down. She didn't come back to my desk or wail at me. Could she really be concerned about the animals outside? Does she watch for them? Does she know I am feeding them? Does she care about them?
Turns out that yes, those things are all true. I tested it by not putting food out each night and every night she came wailing at me and running to the back door. I put food out and she calmed down. I would watch when the raccoons and possums came to eat and sure enough, Freya was at the glass door sitting and watching them. She seemed to really be at peace but also sending them something like energy or love
or empathy. It was very strong whatever it was. If I did put food out, she never did come to yell at me, just waited by the door until they showed up to eat.
Over the 2020-22 years I would go on to rescue 4 more kittens who are now family and as each one has come into our lives, Freya has followed them around, come yelling at me if one of them got stuck in a cabinet, needed food, was hurt or scared. She licks them, mothers them and cares for them. Her level of compassion and concern is so amazing to watch. She sleeps with me for the first part of the night each night. She comes back in the morning for snuggles and we pet each other and spend quiet time together every single morning before starting our day.
When I started travelling it was really hard on her. I did talk to her before my first trip and I let her know what was going on but I don't think she was prepared for how long I would be gone. How do you explain 10 days? I did tell her it would be a very long time. She didn't speak to me or come near me for 3 days after I got home. When I got the suitcase out the next time she sat in it and wouldn't move for me to pack it. When we sat down to talk about it, she requested that I allow her to sit in the suitcase at least one day before I leave so she can seat it with protection and her energy. I have done that now, ever since and she has dealt with each trip much better. She still says it's hard but she completely understands the work and the purpose in it for me. We have mutual respect for each of our work and paths. I let her go out any time she wants even though it is really hard for me to do and I worry every day. She is chipped and has tags but nothing will stop whatever took Ivy from taking her. It's just respect and we do this for each other.
She has gotten good at trying to learn the English language. She knows most simple sentences and things I say. She is working on responding in English when they are words she can approximate without a larynx like yeah or naouw (no). She also says sure, hap (help) and ma (mom). And she's good about using her tone and volume and aggression or body language to accentuate how she's using those words. She has a special vocalization for love for me and I don't know how to write that in a blog post.
When she got attacked by the hawk and had to have surgery it was really hard on her. She went into a pretty deep depression and was really hurt by the hawk. I think she saw all living things as friends with compassion so I think it really truly hurt her emotionally when it attacked her.
She had a 3 week long recovery with infections and a second surgery. The amount of pain she was in was really hard to bear but I stayed up with her through it so she wouldn't have to be alone. She would put her paw on me and I would hold her until it was time for her next pain medicine dose or when the meds just weren't enough. She would vocalize when I would ask her how she was feeling and it was really sad. She felt so betrayed when I had to take her in for her second surgery and that was really hard. She got so depressed and it got really dark for us both. I am proud of how she bounced back and also how she allowed me to care for her and how she leaned on me. Also it changed her permanently the same way a long hard illness and pain changes us. She was so much more mature, more calm, more quiet and also more jaded but wise. It was a life changing event for her.
I wrote this to share the true depth of her and her work and devotion to helping others along with her compassion and commitment. I love how she always shows up and helps when I make my amanita products, when I package them, and when I pack orders. She walks around the packages and rubs on the bag of them and sends them off. All the photos of her that I have posted on Instagram or the community page on YT were taken when she was with me, while I worked and she was also holding space and sending love and energy into everything there. She really is my familiar and I can say that what I make and send out into the world would not be what it is without her input and space and energy. Her birthday is July 4th and she is 3 this year. I love her deeply and cannot image life without her. She is my best friend and I am so grateful she is here.