My Life with Cats

There are two announcements at the bottom of the page. And apologies – the formatting is off because WordPress is being more difficult than usual today.

I‘m Taking a Break

Those of you who have been following me know that I have days when my blood pressure is so low that I can’t accomplish anything. Things pile up, and then I get totally overwhelmed. Self-care gets more and more time-consuming, and I feel stretched very, very thin.

I decided I needed to replenish my store of energy. So I arranged for friends to visit and cleared out my schedule except for medical appointments and really important online commitments.

From May 17 to May 25, I will be off playing, doing all the wonderful things I don’t normally have time for. Assuming, of course, that my blood pressure remains above 80/60.

There will be no blog post on May 20, and perhaps not even one on May 30. (Yes – I know this one is late – that’s a function of being overwhelmed, thanks to a run of low blood pressure days.)

Overwhelmed or not, I have been working behind the scenes on the new blog. If I steal some material from it, I won’t have to write a whole new post today. The new blog is about ritual abuse, of course, but there is also an entire page devoted to my cats. It’s called, of all things –

My Life with Cats

The year before my amnesia lifted and my memories came, I bought two Cornish Rex kittens from the same litter, a girl, Rosie, and a boy, Fargo. They were named after Rosebud, South Dakota and Fargo, North Dakota. That was because their father’s name was Demon Dakota. (Oops, I promised I would say nothing about RA/MC. I just can’t help myself. It’s such an integral part of my life.) Their mother’s name was Sweet Purrfection, yuck. They were orange cats with white markings.

 They lived a long time. Rosie was sixteen when she died, and Fargo lived another year and a half. I thought I would never get another cat because no cat would be as great as they were. Surely a kitten would outlive me, and it wasn’t fair to go and abandon him like that. So there was lots of crying – “I’ll never sleep with a cat again!”

 After a couple of years, I changed my mind, got another orange and white Cornish Rex kitten, and named him Dakota. He lived to be eighteen and a half. Obviously, I was wrong about dying before him and leaving him all alone in a cold world.

A black Cornish Rex kitten named Bobcat joined us when Dakota was six or seven and stayed a few years. I had to separate the two because Bobcat was bullying Dakota and made his life miserable. I found him an ideal home with two adoring people and an adoring one-eyed, toothless Italian greyhound, and he has been very happy there. It was best for all involved, but still heartbreaking.

 I lost Dakota last September, and, to my surprise, I was not nearly as hesitant about getting another cat. I have no idea why. Am I braver? More impetuous? More selfish? Am I betting on being immortal? Who cares? This is the way it is – I want a cat.

 I realize I no longer have the energy to chase after a kitten. Fostering was a possibility, but I wouldn’t be good with a cat with behavior problems, and I would be heartbroken about having to give up an animal I had grown attached to. The other option was adopting a grown cat, perhaps an elderly one. The two of us could keep each other company as we limped through our golden years.

 For months, I knew I wasn’t ready because I kept expecting Dakota to be in the next room. (That’s called seeing a ghost cat.) As Dakota gradually stopped visiting me in his new form, I began checking out and local animal rescue organizations. My friends started asking me if I had found a cat I liked. I liked some well enough, but the chemistry wasn’t there.

 I had a few non-negotiable demands. It must be older, short-haired, and affectionate, and it can’t be orange. I don’t need an echo of Rosie, Fargo, and Dakota. I prefer an open adoption so that the previous owner can check that their cat is okay in my home and can even visit him if they want. I can ask a million questions and send cute pictures.

 The SPCA website beckoned. I hadn’t intended to go there because their process of giving up a cat and adopting one is detailed to the max, and, frankly, I found some of their questions intrusive, even insulting. 

One night I was in the mood to window-shop and went to their site to look at the photos of available cats. Lo and behold, the SPCA has gotten far more reasonable! They now have a section called “Animals in the Community,” which lists cats available for private “rehoming.”

 It turns out that some non-negotiable things are negotiable after all.

That’s all for now, folks. There are two more cats to come, Baker and Spencer.

Reminder: Survivorship’s 2023 Online Conferences Are Almost Here

Clinician’s Conference – Friday, May 19

Survivor Conference – Saturday and Sunday, May 20 – 21 

“Sound of Freedom” Trailer

A survivor wrote me, 

“This is a movie about child sex trafficking that will be in the theaters July 4. 

“This is the trailer. At the end of it the link is given where you can buy tickets…for yourself and for someone else who might not otherwise go, see, or learn about this horror. 

They also give free tickets to those who can’t afford it.

Let’s try and fill the theaters with people who need to hear/know about this. Pass this on!

Beltane 2023

Beltane is the worst day of the year for me. It’s more than just an excuse for an orgy; it is a cruel parody of the beauty of spring, a negation of abundant life force. Old guys raped little kids as well as any women that caught their eye. And the young guys followed suit. There were always a couple who looked miserable, and I hope they got out, remembered, and started their healing journey.

Actually, I wish they all could have remembered and come to their senses. It would have meant the end of this insanity.

I always wonder what happens to babies born on May Eve or Beltane. I have known one survivor born on Beltane, so they didn’t all get killed, as I fear. 

I don’t remember any babies at the ritual. That is because, in our cult, children were not allowed at rituals until they could “behave.” Instead, they were trained to be obedient, to be amnesic, to be sexual, and to kill. Those who trained the children – both men and women – did not have high status, but they were good at what they did and seemed to enjoy the work.

Some cults call children conceived on Beltane “spawn of Satan.” In our cult, they were considered special – it would make sense that any child of Satan would be pretty special. Just a few days ago, I put two and two together and realized my father could well have been conceived on Beltane. He was born a bit less than nine months later, a couple of days before Candlemas. He didn’t look at all like my grandfather, although his brother did. Well, I shall never know, for there is no way I can ask my grandmother, is there?

So here I am, feeling sad, angry, and afraid. Those feelings are absolutely appropriate for a Satanic cult survivor on May Eve but at odds with a sunny spring day. Flowers are blooming all over, and the wind is rustling through trees that are starting to leaf out. I look out the window at the gorgeous big street trees, wishing I had taken a picture of them every spring to track their growth. There is still so much beauty in the world, despite a surplus of ugliness.

I hope all of you are safe today and will stay safe through Beltane, through the rest of summer, and through the rest of your lives. I wish for your pain to ease and for you to find your place in your own post-cult world. 

Life may still be hard and painful, but it will never be as bad as when you were a powerless little kid surrounded by huge violent grown-ups constantly lying to you, tricking you, deceiving you, and hurting your body, mind, heart, and soul in every conceivable way. You have survived your childhood. You are resilient, strong, and creative. 

May you come through this Beltane with renewed hope and strength.


Did I tell you he has thrown away his winter coat and is wearing his beautiful soft new summer coat? So pretty!

He has also learned how to drink from a water faucet. I let the faucet in the bathroom sink drip slowly, and he contorts himself to get every last drop. When he straightens out for a moment, the water falls on the top of his head and surprises him. He shakes himself and goes back for seconds.

I’m tempted to get him a drinking fountain of his own, but all the ones I have found are ugly plastic things that you have to clean all the time and keep supplied with filters to keep mold from growing. Why bother? He seems pleased enough with this free, low-tech set-up.


Sunlight Lives. I love this blog, especially the gentle healing story. 

The videos of the RA/MC panel presented at last year’s Social Justice and Human Trafficking Conference are at: Part 1 – and Part 2 –

The GrassRoots’ April Newsletter is ready. To be added to the mailing list, send your request to: 

Survivorship 2023 Online Conference

Clinician’s Conference – Friday, May 19 – Survivors’ Conference – Saturday and Sunday, May 20 – 21    

Researching Ritual Abuse and Mind Control in Art and Literature: One Art Historian’s Journey – Lynn Brunet PhD

The Effects of Social Movements on Survivor Support Systems and Survivor Recover– Neil Brick

The History of Ritual Abuse and the Effects of Social Trends on the Therapeutic Profession – Neil Brick

How to Create a Successful Recovery Path for Disassociated Survival Skills and DID – Shelby Rising Eagle

The Enmeshment of the British False Memory Society and the British Psychological Society. – Dr. Rainer Hermann Kurz 

Child Trafficking through Family Court Proceedings: A UK Case Study – Dr. Rainer Hermann Kurz

Some Evidence-Based Practice Guidelines and Standards Relevant to the Psychological Care of Extreme Abuse Survivors– Dr. Randall Noblitt 

Creating Calm – Patricia Quinn

Programmed and Internal Psychological Mechanisms that Perpetuate the Cycle of Extreme Abuse – Ellen P. Lacter, Ph.D.

Of Mice, Memories, and Ritual Abuse

My New Blog Is Coming in April!

We are in the checklist/troubleshooting phase. Yeehaw! You know what I love best about SquareSpace? They have a helpful customer service/tech service department! And they hire real, live, intelligent, trained people. No pawing through message boards of customer problems to find our problem and its (possible) solution.

This blog will stay up for reference for a long, long time. It may live forever through the WayBack Machine at

The new blog will be online sometime in April. As soon as we go live, I will let you know!

Spencer and the Dentist

My dentist, not his. Once again, I asked the assistant to talk to me as much as possible about anything at all. She chose to talk about her cats. Thanks to Annie, I didn’t have a flashback the whole time.

She likes cats, has four cats, fosters other cats, takes care of feral cats…and has a Turkish Angora. She was happy to talk about them for an hour, non-stop. I couldn’t ask for anything better. Except I did ask for something even better, something I really need.

I told her I was 85 and planned to live forever, but was prudently making arrangements for other contingencies. One of the things that I want to have in place is a foster home for Spencer should I become unable to take care of him. I described Spencer’s personality in detail, and she said, “Sure, I’d be glad to! I am used to timid cats and that should be no problem.” That was my lucky day!

As for Spencer’s dentist, his regular vet will see to his teeth. However, I thought it would be good idea to give him preventative care. I am pretty sure I would fail miserably if I tried to brush his teeth because I have more than enough trouble brushing my own.

Mr. Google told me that there were treats called Greenies that keep cats’ teeth clean, preventing the build-up of tartar. So I ordered some. I am supposed to give him eight treats in the morning and eight at night. Of course, since he’s a cat, there was no guarantee he would eat them. 

He LOVES them! But he doesn’t want to stop at eight. He wants the whole bag. And he doesn’t want it twice a day, he wants it available all day long. Plus which, he remembers exactly where he was given them and haunts those places seeking more. 

Sometimes, even a reasonably-priced product from a legitimate company with good customer ratings is so popular with the end users that nobody wants to buy it.

Of Mice, Memories, and Ritual Abuse

I get a lot of medical news – announcements of newly-approved drugs, articles, research findings, social and economic issues. Recently, a research article on mice memories caught my attention. Here is the abstract of the article. Scroll down to see the figures and captions, which are also interesting. “Activating positive memory engrams suppresses depression-like behaviour.”

(Sorry folks – I can’t make this link work. You will have to copy and paste.)

I have no idea how they did this because it was described in other papers. Apparently, they could isolate the tiny part of the brain that contained a memory. They could even obtain an image of the shape of the configuration that corresponded to the neural network that held the memory. They then injected a substance that made the image of that particular memory glow when exposed to laser light. Green for memories of fear and pain, red for memories of pleasure.

Now here comes the fun part. They triggered the fear memory, then triggered a pleasant memory. Lo and behold, the green dots became fainter and started to disappear. The pleasant memory was taking the fear out of the unpleasant one!

Just think! No more flashbacks. Constantly diminishing anxiety. No psych meds. No payments to therapists or psychopharmacologists. Just remember to think happy thoughts. Easy peasy!

I can’t remember how many nights I have lain awake at 3 AM thinking, “What’s the matter with you? Can’t you think of anything pleasant? Just one little happy memory? Or you can make up a happy little story. Come on, you can do it.”

But the dark thoughts flowed back in and usurped my mind. I could not think of anything even remotely pleasant. I probably was making each unpleasant memory worse by remembering other unhappy and frightening things and thus reinforcing the fear.

I am split between cynicism and hope. Cheer up! Don’t be so negative! Just think of happy things, and the fear will melt away. Say affirmations daily, and you will no longer feel you are the lowest of the low. Buy a book on cognitive behavior therapy. Make a cheery playlist of uplifting songs.

I believe that these things work. I conceptualize the process in terms of brain plasticity. If you repeat something often enough, that thought becomes readily available. A new neural pathway has been created and strengthened by use. The image that comes to mind is one of a rutted dirt road. Each time a car passes over the road, the ruts become deeper and more visible. Instead of looking like a long-abandoned road, it looks well-traveled.

This is why cognitive behavioral therapy or dialectic behavioral therapy works. Positive thoughts weaken negative ones. It’s not instantaneous by any means, though. You have to be persistent and keep repeating positive thoughts and acting positively.

This was true in the mouse study. If a memory of a negative experience was triggered, and then, before it had faded, a positive memory was triggered, the amount of fear diminished. But the next time, the fear was just as strong. It took many repetitions of pairing memories of negative and positive experiences to extinguish the fear.

I know that mice aren’t people and that not all the discoveries using mice as research subjects apply to humans. Still, this paper has chipped away at my cynicism. So next time I think badly of myself or ruminate on past actions I regret, I will try my hardest to counter these thoughts with positive ones.

I think the positive thoughts don’t have to be on the same subject. Any thought that engenders a sense of well-being will do.

If I can’t think of anything positive in the whole wide world, I can try doing something engrossing. Move furniture? Timed writing prompts? I’ll make a list of activities that require focus and concentration so that I don’t have to remember them in the middle of a negativity storm.

Thank you, little mice!