Running With Scissors is a memoir in which Augusten Burroughs recounts his unusual childhood after his mother sends him to live with her psychiatrist, Dr. Finch, at age twelve. There are few rules in the Finch household, and both Augusten and Dr. Finch's other children do mostly as they please, including smoking pot and having sex. At age thirteen, Augusten begins a sexual relationship with Finch's thirty-three-year-old son. Despite this unorthodox, and at times damaging, parenting method, Augusten comes to think of the Finches as his family.
Hope has a dream that her cat, Freud is consumed by a "white glob" and is convinced that the animal is dying. She will not let the animal out of her sight and will not take it to the vet either. In another dream she is informed that the cat needed to be "left in peace" to die. So, Hope sets up camp in the basement, sleeping next to a laundry basket under which the cat is trapped.
Dr. Finch performs a bible dip to find out if the situation is real, and comes to the conclusion that Hope is just under a lot of stress. The cat does die, possibly as a result of being trapped without food or water.
A week later, in the summer, Augusten finds Hope in the kitchen. She is dressed for winter and has a snow shovel. She claims that the cat called out to her and is convinced that she had buried the cat alive. Augusten then calls Dr. Finch. Neither Augusten or the reader finds out what he says to her, but after speaking to him she becomes calm and goes to her room for a nap.