Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Why I have cats

My current foster kitties Sandi and Bobby chill out on top of my rolltop desk while I work.
I have been asked this question many times, and usually they get one of the joking answers:

"They're easier to take care of than men - and don't smell as bad."

"I love having hair on my furniture and I don't shed enough myself."

"There was too much sun in my house and I need something to soak it up."

"I watched "The Birds" as a child and was permanently scarred. I need something to protect me."

One of my previous cats, Maia. She was rescued from Angels For Animals. She was FIV positive and ailing when I took her in, but I was able to give her love for about 8 months before she passed beyond the Rainbow Bridge.
At work I am referred to as the Crazy Cat Lady or the Geeky Cat Lady. And the question is whether I'm a crazy cat lady because I'm single or if I'm single because I'm a crazy cat lady. (The world may never know.) I jokingly call them my kids and I am quick to point out that I love having a fuzzy, warm body in my bed at night and that a cat's purr is the best therapy in the world.

In all honesty, though, the reason I have cats is simple: They keep me sane.

I have been through some rough times in my life and my cat or cats have always been there. They offer love, affection and comfort without being too demanding. They give me something to focus on besides how awful I feel and they give me something to laugh about when I am ready to stop crying.

My former cat Lyvani. She was with me 15 years before finally succumbing to intestinal cancer. 
I would even go so far as to say my cats have saved my life. No, they didn't drag me from a burning building or attack a burglar, but they have pulled me through suicidal depressions. I remember lying curled up on the floor in my bedroom, too distraught to even cry. I had had my third miscarriage a month before and the doctor had just told me I would never be able to carry a child to term. My fiance couldn't handle the news and had told me he couldn't marry a woman who couldn't have kids. And so I just lay there, knowing in my heart that there was no reason for me to live another day, when my cat Lyvani came up and curled herself around my head. Lyvani had been a rescued feral and she rarely showed affection, but she came up and wrapped herself around me and started grooming my forehead, purring and chirping like a mother cat does with her kittens. It was like being held in mother's arms, and I knew that I had to keep going because I had to take care of her.

Tyrone was always good for a cuddle and a laugh. I still get pics from my sister detailing his exploits. 
My cats now - my permanent cats and my foster kitties - give me an outlet for my maternal instincts. They are my companions, my rehab projects, my learning experiences. They are my children.

And that's why I have cats.

2 comments:

  1. I know what you mean about the comfort they give. I love my d'Artagnan who helped me get through my break-up with F/L.

    Weirdly enough, when I had my miscarriage last year, he was not enough. He doesn't like getting his fur wet. So I've since gotten a dog who will let me cry on him. :-) Still Dar gives me comfort every night when he curls up next to me in bed.

    -X

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  2. I love that you love so unconditionally and you give back in life to save life. You are a beautiful and compassionate woman with so much to offer this go around. Thanks you for sharing your family.

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