Every day that I get to love on my cat, I take it. She has managed to help me through some of the darkest days that I have. She makes me laugh at her facial expressions, especially when she cocks her head and looks at me like she’s trying to be funny. She rolls on her belly to get belly rubs. She purrs when she’s picked up and cuddles, and snuggles up beside me when it’s time for bed. She plays with my blinds looking out the window at the birds and chirps along with them. She makes me smile even when I don’t always feel like smiling.
I think that’s why I absolutely love animals. Unlike people, they don’t look at the world in political views. They see that they need their needs met. It isn’t about who looks different. Or even about who does what. As long as their needs are met, they give all of us the love and understanding we crave. As a whole, animals accept us for who we are. PETA doesn’t like the word pet and yet the word pet is in their name. Yes, there is animal cruelty out there and there’s no excuse for it. Animals have proven time and time again to be loving and nurturing. Not all animals are. Many of them are conditioned for kindness or aggression. There are always exceptions to the rule.
When I was a very little girl, my parents had a cat named Scramble. He was a beautiful cat but extremely wild. He didn’t play nice with others and there were times that he attacked my mom. He was a feral cat. A few years later my parents got me a bassett hound named Mandy. She was the runt of the litter and I adored her. She would play soccer with me since I had a nerf soccer ball and she loved to play. As she aged her arthritis made it more difficult for her and she died while I was in college. I took so much for granted with her. She was exactly what I needed growing up. I still miss her to this day.
I had a cat once named Wink. He adored me and my mom. I found him in my grandmothers barn when he was too young to take. I raised him with a baby bottle and he clung to me for dear life. As he got past the danger zone of not being able to survive, he was very close to me. And I him. He allowed me to cry. Purring through the joys and heartbreaks that came along with life’s curve balls. He was a smart cat. We kept him in the basement of our house where he had free roam. Every day, he managed to rattle the door knob to let us know he was ready for attention and we obliged. He roamed every day until he was ready to go back to bed and when he was ready to call it a day, he’d go back downstairs and start the pattern again. He trusted me and mom. My father was a different story. He tolerated Dad because Dad wasn’t too fond of animals. He was never abusive to Wink. He kept his distance so that he wouldn’t get too close. I learned later that it was because my father had wanted to keep a kitten when he was younger and his family couldn’t afford it so his father killed the cat. It was a different time and era but it still hurt my father greatly. Dad loved dogs. He always used to tell me that he preferred dogs over cats. In some ways I understand his logic but in others I have to say cats are much simpler to take care of.
When I got married, I wasn’t able to take Wink with me so he stayed with my folks. When he died, it tore me up. Not too long after Wink passed, my then husband decided to get me another cat. Her name was Gretchen and she was mild mannered, declawed, and skiddish. It took her a while to warm up to us. When she finally did I felt relief. One day I came home and Gretchen was really sick. I called the vets office and we took her in. She had bowel obstruction. If any of you have ever had to take an animal that you love to the vet when they are not feeling well, then you understand how it feels to watch an animal deal with pain. It’s almost like watching a child. You feel so helpless. After the vet was finished with the exam, Gretchen literally ran into my arms and wouldn’t let go. Something inside me broke. I had tried not to get attached and she managed to break through my walls. Later on after she had recovered, my husband and I took a trip to Alaska. We were gone several days. We had family and friends look in on her but when we got home, she went ballistic. She did not want to let us out of her sight for anything. When we lost her at the age of nine due to feline leukemia, my world was shattered. Our marriage had fallen apart, I was losing her, work was horrible because I worked in a toxic environment.
While we were trying to fix our marriage, my husband got me another cat – Ms. Mattie Muffin. We found her at a local Petsmart. She was declawed and black. I have a preference towards black cats. I find them to be some of the sweetest cats around even though they get a bad reputation. Mattie was my cat. My husband had a cat named Hope and she was completely white. She was a very sweet cat and both cats helped us through a very difficult transition. We had separated, but the trust wasn’t there anymore and without trust a relationship can’t survive. I had Mattie from the age of two until sixteen. She died from kidney disease. She hung in there for me. Even when she was sick, she worried about me. She knew the hurt I went through after losing a child, a marriage, my father, my jobs and my home. She knew the devastation that I carried and yet she made the tears survivable. She didn’t judge me. All she did was offer unconditional love.
I’m not the only one with animals in my life that have made a difference. There are so many people on this earth who have been able to experience the joys of animals. You may be one of them. Animals tend to alert us to danger, lower our blood pressure and be better for our health. They absorb our energy and give us their energy. I know of so many stories of dogs and cats that have helped to save lives. I’ve read stories of how animals can see things that we can’t and I’ve even witnessed this from the animals I’ve lived with more than once.
Sadie is the most recent cat I’ve taken in. She was the only female in the litter and the only one that I knew of at the time to survive a coyote attack. She was supposedly a feral cat but she’s the most docile and animated cat I’ve had the privilege of caring for. When she was a kitten, she used to crawl in the food bowl that we left for her and before we took her inside the house, she would look longingly at the porch wanting to come up but she didn’t want to get her paws wet in the snow that had fallen because it was cold. Eventually we took her in. She has adapted quite well. She loves all the soft things in the house because she lived in a woodpile before and has decided that the house is warm, her abode is soft and safe and that we are good people who give her love and affection. She loves my mom. My mom could do without her taking over her bed but that’s mild for problems. Her feet can never seem to hold her up because she is constantly plopping at our feet for a belly rub. And she purrs a lot. She even purred when she was neutered. Even the assistant at the clinic said he had never seen anything like it.
When Sadie was a kitten, she started roaming the house and I will never forget it but I sat down at the table, and here comes Sadie. She jumped in the seat, and put her paws on the table like “Where’s my plate?” It was so cute I didn’t have the heart to scold her. When she wants treats, she cocks her head and looks at me like “What do you mean I have to ask for a treat?” But when she gets rewarded with a treat, she wraps her paws around my arm very gently and takes her treat and purrs. I’ve never had a cat like her until now.
Animals have the ability to change our moods. We can be having the worst day ever and animals can make us feel better just with their presence. The opposite can be true though. We can come home from work and the house will be torn up with pillows in the floor, blinds that are messed up, rugs that are moved around, and things knocked off of dressers or furniture. In all their cuteness, they have the ability to disorganize our homes. For those who have dogs, they really are more like children than cats. Dogs require much more care and attention. But the love we have for animals is many times bigger than words can express. Animals help us appreciate the little things in life. Without them, the world would not be the same.