Oh my heavens, I'm in tears here. Both happy and sad ones.
Tonight, during our regular play session, she really didn't want to play too much. Fine, no issues. I sat on the floor in front of the condo, and let her settle down some. I put out some treats, and she smacked me (again, no claws...
) and then ate the treats. She then turned her back on me, and gave me her bottom.
Well, and so why not. I reached out - without the feather wand!!! - and tentatively touched her left hip. She didn't move, didn't change her breathing, nothing. So I added several fingers, one at a time, until all 4 fingers and my thumb were touching her hip. Rhythmic, gentle oh-so-delicate touching, small strokes, ready to move my hand should the need arise.
And NO need arose. I progressed to her spine, stroking her from about 4 inches above her tail to her tail, slowly, gently, and firmer, now. Not as deliberate as I do with my other guys, but she knew it was me, there was no doubt she knew. And as I stroked her back, I would scritch her intensely gently at the base of her spine. She allowed that. Her breathing slowed, and you could feel her relaxing her back and hips. She was enjoying this, accepting this.
And this went on for about 4 minutes. 4 MINUTES!!!!!
Of course, tears were dripping down my face. No way I could do that without crying. But while I was stroking her, loving her gently, trying to send all my love through my fingers, I felt a hard bump. It wasn't a cyst - I know what those feel like. I let my fingers wander a bit over that spot, trying to not touch it too much...and then I realized. It is the spot where her spine was broken. It's healed and calcified, per my vet, and that was what I was feeling - her old break, now healed and healed poorly. And it made me cry all the more.
I've known she broke her spine at the base of her back since I had her vetted. I didn't realize I would be able to feel it. And that evidence broke my heart. For while I wasn't touching her, while I wasn't feeling it, I could sort of ignore that she has gone through hell to make it here. Sorta because of her behavior, but still...I could ignore her injuries. But I can't help but cry for all th pain she must've felt, all the hurt she endured, by herself and without Dr.s care. And it hurts me in my soul to know this about her, my sweet terrified trying-to-trust-again kitty.
And so it's both good and bad that she's letting me love on her physically. Good because of what that means - she's beginning to trust me, to know I'm not the boogie man. Bad because that means I really understand now what's happened to her, and that makes my heart heavy; makes my soul cry.
But she's letting me touch her - and for a long time, too. I stopped before she could get antsy...but it's a real vision in my head that someday she will be in my lap, and I'll make a post with her purring there, snug and secure. How great will that day be? Hugely great. And while I can't wait for it to happen, I am willing to wait as long as it takes. Because that day, I'll be in heaven, and she will know she's loved and protected.
I am sooooooooo very proud of her.