I was in my late twenties when a memory suddenly came back - so fast and so strong that it felt like getting knocked in the gut. Took my breath away.
I was small, maybe 8 or 9 or so . . . and we lived in an old house that had vents in the floor for heat? I'm guessing. They were rectangular, maybe a foot wide, 2 foot long . . .
I was little, so I'm just going off what it seemed like to me. Anyway - the memory was me, sitting on top of that vent to keep it down, since a bunch of kitty faces where trying to push their way out.
Why those kitty's were in the heating vents? Why so many that I had to SIT on the vent to keep them down - I'm talking about 15 or 20 cats - because my mom loves animals.
It's an unhealthy, hoarding, love. Take, keep, and hold so close that it suffocates 'em.
This house had a basement, and that's where she kept the cats. She thought kittens were wonderful and that it was cruel (not to mention would cost money) to fix em, so she didn't. And the cats were allowed to multiply in the basement.
The basement already was at hoarder state, you didn't walk around the floor . . . you walked over stuff - but after a while, with all the cats, we didn't even go down there. Mom didn't keep a litter box. Every now and again she would send one of us kids down with dirt in a box down there for them. We never removed the other ones.
The smell was so bad that you could taste it on the way down. That had to be pretty extreme because, the house where we did our daily living already smelled super bad! So, the basement smelled stronger than our already bad smelling house that I was used to as a child.
And to feed them we'd buy a large bag of cat food, open it and just throw it down there. I don't remember anything about water.
But there had to be water, because there were all those cats alive, and trying to push their way out through the vents.
And it hurt me so much to be sitting on those vents to hold them down, but that's what I had to do.
To this day I HATE it when I hear she has an animal with her. My heart breaks for the animal, and I often felt relieved when I heard that one died - so the torture would be over.
And I've always been bothered by birds in cages, fishes in small bowls, etc. They make me uncomfortable and sad.
And yet I never remembered this until my late 20's. There is a lot I don't remember of my childhood.
Scary - isn't it.