PTSD is a psychiatric disorder that can occur following one’s exposure to a life-threatening stressor or trauma – whether you are an animal or human. Psychotherapy, also known as “talk therapy,” is a popular form of treatment for this disorder. Stress comes in all shapes and forms – for both humans and animals. Picture this.
Your life is complete – you have the freedom to come and go as you please, receive abounding love from all those that encounter you, you are fed, have a roof over your head, you vocalise your needs and they are immediately met, you don’t have a partner due to the fact that your human has had your nuts removed, but life is good – enter Harry. Harry the snake catcher, the dog follower, the goat and cow growler, the rescue cat and people lover. Everything is perfect.
One day your beloved human, starts smearing salmon tasting goo over your paws, which you delightfully lick up. Who wouldn’t, especially as it makes you feel quite relaxed and combined with the cat-nip which is now being freely spread over your bedding in that dreaded cat basket which has suddenly appeared – you think you would have realised that something was just a little off.
Waking up at 4 am – nothing different here, but then un-ceremonially being bundled into said cat basket. Miaow!!!! That’s not cricket. And then being kept in this confined space for 10 hours whilst your human blares her music so loud you have to miaow even louder to make yourself heard. Stress 1.
Stress 2 – you arrive at a strange house, which smells of other cats and puppies and are kept locked in a room all night. Your human is with you, but is also restless and no matter how hard you try and communicate that you want out the room, it falls on deaf ears.
Stress 3 – the very next morning, after a little bit of salmon goo, you are once again bundled into the car and taken to a different alien smelling place. You voice your concern but to no avail. A strange lady prods you and says “Wow he really is a busy boy isn’t he” and then horror upon horror puts a cold metal object up into your nether regions and a needle full of stuff into the scruff of your neck. You flinch and look accusingly into the eyes of your beloved human who is holding you in a much tighter manner than you are used to. But it doesn’t end there.
Stress 4 – short drive to yet another strange place and here the smells or truly conflicting. Lots and lots of different cat smells all mixed together with a really strong smell of disinfectant. Nooooo!!!!!! It is a cattery – what is happening. Okay you get your own little den, but its not home. You hear your human saying it is like a little cat hotel and it is only for 1 week – but its not home.
Stress 5 – now you would have thought that after getting collected from the “Cat Hotel” and transferred yet again in a moving vehicle with music blaring and let out of your box into a new place, that smells of home – you would start to feel a bit more normal. Well you do – and you let your guard down, even though you have the indignity of having to use a sand box, as once again you are not allowed outside into that beautiful wide open space that you are so used to. Your human is also now more relaxed and let her guard down and you see a gap, which as an adventurous young boy, you take. You come face to face with 2 creatures of the canine variety, but you keep your cool and so do they. Saunter around the side of the house with so many new smells and noises, your human has spotted you but is keeping an eye on you. Casually jumping onto the dividing wall to explore and next minute you feel it – an electric current running through your small little body and instead of jumping away you jump through the darned thing, to find your self in a strange garden where the canines are not so friendly so immediately jump back up through that electric thingy and get zapped again. Tearing like a demon possessed you head straight for home and hide under the bed. Now all my human is wanting to do is talk – but as a male that is the last thing you want to do. You want to stay in your own little safe place and never come out again. Maybe tomorrow when you need some food you might say a word or two, but for now, no amount of psychotherapy is going to help. You will talk in your own time.