Louie, the Cat

Many times in the course of this work, we have come up for air concerned that we really ought to take something for our collective insanity. Are we just imagining these things? Whether real or imagination, it's certainly entertaining, and cheaper than the movies. But is it real? -- or is it not? Are we just fooling ourselves, attributing effects and phenomena to mere coincidence, wishful thinking, the "placebo effect"? In the physical world, such questions are answered through double-blind studies and animal research. From time to time I have met people -- and animals -- that inspired this thought: "If I believed in demonic posession, that would be an example." One such creature was Louie.

My husband, wanting another kitten, had noticed a sign for "free kittens" on the street. When we stopped by the house to see, I did not like the feel of those kittens and actually wanted OUT of that house so badly that I dragged my husband out the door and down the street. I couldn't explain it, but they didn't feel like kittens! -- there was nothing cute about them. They didn't play, they didn't dance or frolic with each other the way kittens do -- they were like little black balls of animosity. But he insisted, walked me back and took the creature. Although I carried the new kitten home in my pocket, I felt for some time that its nasty behavior was due to my ambivalence about him. Finally I decided it wasn't me.

The Symptoms

1. Abusive Behavior. Cassie, older by a year and a kind-hearted female, took care of the new kitten. He repaid her by snatching her food and hissing whenever he thought there was any danger of her taking something out of the food bowl for herself. After he realized that we were good for warm cuddlies and pats, he would cuff Cassie and chase her out of the room if she walked in. He didn't want his strokes decreased and apparently didn't want her to have any. Cassie resigned herself to this behavior by withdrawing into herself -- if we were paying attention to her and Louie heard it he would immediately come in the room. She would just sigh, get down and leave. The bed was his turf so that if Cassie even came into the bedroom he would attack her; although she would bounce from bed to the windowsill which she refused to surrender. Sometimes she would short-circuit his attack by licking and grooming him, which he would accept because it was more pats. Not as good as hands perhaps, but better than nothing. And while he would accept her care, he never gave any himself.

2. The Potty Yowl. Louie had a remarkable and striking habit of sitting on the toilet and yowling desperately while we took showers. It was a morning ritual -- we would A) get up, B) get in the shower and C) Louie would leap up on the toilet and start yowling. A, B, C. Every day. Every day. Without fail.

3. The Search for a Hand. Louie's demands for attention were constant and unending. He would spend the entire night walking over on us and searching out hands which he would butt with his head, push, pull, lick, ANYTHING to get his head rubbed or chin scratched. This behavior got him tossed and sometimes thrown off the bed dozens of times every night. My husband, between heaving him into the hallway and roaring at him in frustration, defended Louie's behavior as being "very affectionate." My feeling: "This is NOT an affectionate animal, this is a heat-seeking missile." I would finally get fed up and lock him out of the room whereupon he would spend the rest of the night crying to be let back in.

4. The Eyes. He always conveyed the impression of glowering, burning eyes. He looked angry, hateful. If Hollywood had been designing him as a demonic movie extra, those are the eyes they would have given him, except of course, for being bright red and glowing. During my own experimental detachment session, months earlier, I locked both cats in the back room so they wouldn't bother us. Louie was quiet about that, no serious complaining or meowing to get out. His usual behavior if he's locked in a room and wants out is just a fairly standard whimpery "meow." But it was interesting that at the point where "troops were summoned" he let out a hair-raising scream. Ben's barked order to "bag that one up" resulted in a sudden stop to the racket -- but no subsequent change in the eyes or behavior.

So how to validate what First Century is doing? Why not try a detachment on Louie? Being a cat, he would not go in there with "expectations" or come out with a "mindset"; no "placebo effect" or "psychosomatic" issues, and no changes due to any "power of suggestion." Just results or no results. As an attempt to set up a single-blind study of sorts, I took care to conceal my plans from my husband, who didn't even notice that he was missing a cat on that Sunday night.

The Process

Louie clearly was not happy about being in a strange place, although his initial distress seemed to be offset by all the attention he was getting from a roomful of cat lovers. But when Ben called for troops, Louie (in my arms) suddenly stiffened, trembling violently. At the end of the session, several people remarked that "his eyes look different." Yes, they looked different to me, too, but the test case for me (in order to avoid suggestion on my part) would have to be my husband's observations -- if there were any.

Ben's conclusion: "Found some demons. The Troops removed them." Yeah, right. Sure. However, whatever happened, Louie was immediately a completely different animal, in ways that were striking and obvious. [And the changes in long-established personality patterns have continued to this day -- 2/14/96].

Results

Like humans who have been through a detachment, Louie displayed the identical behavior pattern of sleeping, sleeping, sleeping for days. Although this would not on the surface appear to be unusual for "a cat" it was unusual for Louie. It could have been from the shock of having been to a strange place and back again, but it nevertheless paralleled the behavior we have seen time and time again in human subjects.

Outside Observation. The following Friday, when Louie was lying quietly on the bed purring (in itself an astonishing and unusual piece of behavior), my husband suddenly announced that Louie was "really different." "Different how?" I asked. "Well, he's quiet, he's relaxed -- and his eyes look different." "How long has this been going on," I asked, in as innocently neutral a tone as I could muster. "At least two or three days," he said. Only then did I tell him where Louie had spent his Sunday evening.

1. Abusive Behavior. He stopped chasing Cassie away--to the point that they both are sleeping on the bed which she hadn't been able to do since he arrived in the house. The following weekend I saw him licking her, and they were walking around the house -- together! Just kind of hanging out.

2. The Potty Yowl. He immediately stopped yowling during showers. That very marked behavior just stopped. [Note: in the past two years, the Potty Yowl has reappeared maybe two or three times, but very briefly, a few seconds at most, almost as if he remembers -- but there is no urgency or compulsion behind the action. 2/14/96]

3. The Search for a Hand. If we sit or lie down he may very well come over and try to get us to pat his head, but he is easily persuaded to just lie down and relax and be quiet. The frantic, untiring Search For A Hand has stopped. If he does it now it's for seconds (worst-case, minutes) rather than hours.

4. The Eyes. The change in the eyes is the most subjective observation. It isn't measurable (I don't even have before and after photographs) but the eyes and expression are nevertheless, remarkably different. Before he always had this feeling of glowering, burning eyes, a feeling of insatiable hunger and smoldering resentment. He always looked frantic. Now he looks calm and content. He looks like a cat.

Pats, of course, he still appreciates.