Okay, I think this is the part when I act like a crazy cat lady… lol! I have mentioned my cat Checkers on a older entry, Tuesday Transformation. But I want to get into more details about Checkers, because it’s Cat-urday! Also, to get into the topic of pet therapy. Most importantly, because I love him very much. So let’s rewind and begin the story.
May of 2012, my ex and I drove to my brother’s place to help him move. On the way, we decide to go to a fast food burger joint to get something to eat. As we walked back to my car we heard some distressing meowing sounds. We went to investigate it and found a kitten in an abandon building next to the food place. It was trapped with brick squishing on to of it. It was barely moving. We managed to pull the kitten out safely. Walked back into the burger place to get a box to place it in.
To me the “obvious” thing to do was to turn the kitten into the shelter. However, my ex wanted to keep the kitten. I reminded him we don’t the financial means to take care of cat. We could barely take car of ourselves! But he reminded me that I have always wanted a cat since I was a little girl. Plus, I couldn’t resist the puppy face he was making as he was hold the tiny kitten near his face. The kitten was had the same facial expression as his. What kind of manipulative adorable team work is this? So I frustrated agree, but only if we take the kitten immediately to the vet to see if it’s okay.
As we were driving to my brother’s place we were trying to figure out a name. We decided to name it after the fast food burger place where we found him; Checkers. Though Checkers was an adorable kitten, I was stress out eternally. Like I have mentioned, the ex wasn’t working and I didn’t make too much money. So I thought this kitten is going to make my life more overwhelming.
After helping my brother move, we grabbed a canned cat food. As I fed him, I guess my eternally mother instantly kicked in. I instantly feel in love with the cat as ate next to me, cleaned himself on my lap, and played with me. We really didn’t have much. We couldn’t even afford a real litter box for Checkers. We had to use tossed boxes, magazines, and newspaper to hold the kitty litter. Thank god Checkers was a little to young to eat dry food, because they are pricier than small canned food. We couldn’t afford a toy for him. So this really small stuffed Easter bunny gift that I have received from ex, I gave it to Checkers. Thankfully he loved it! He played with it, sleep with it, watched tv with it, and dragged it around the apartment. It’s like seeing a child with their favorite stuff animal that was carried everywhere. We didn’t have much to give, but he loved us anyway. We were a little family. It was nice. For a little bit…
As I have mentioned in my previous entry I had stress, anxiety, extremely low self-esteem, and depression. I tried to kill myself with a handful of pills. Unfortunately kitten Checkers have witnessed his mom try to end her life. Ever since then, Checkers have been the same. Any time I took pills, whether prescription or vitamins, he has to look at my hands. He wants to see the amount and sniff them for reassurance. Checkers still does this to this day. And every time he does that, I feel like shit. Cause I feel like I traumatize the poor cat; thinking it was his fault or something.
It doesn’t help I had another moment years later and again, he was there too. This time he licked my tears off my face. Lightly grazed my hands every time I tried to reach for the bottle. He rubbed up against me and purred to comfort. I will admit, I became a bitch and kick him out of my room. But even then, he scratch and meowed at the door. He door was violently shaking because with all his might he was trying to push the door down.
However, I didn’t go through with it. Now, he doesn’t like the fact of me being alone behind closed doors. He know I have morning depression so every morning he’s on cue to be there for me by cuddling with me. Then eventually he leaves me alone when I stop crying cause he knows I just need space to be in my own thoughts. After laying in the bed for certain amount of time he would hop on my body and bop my nose. Indicating it’s time for me to get up and get ready for work. In the morning he is my assistant. He meows, rubs, paw, and his to make sure I stay focus and on schedule. He walks me to my door when I leave.
Checkers is usually by the door waiting for me to come home. My roommates have confirmed that few 30 minutes before I walk in they see him sit or lay by the door awaiting for my return. When I walk in, all Checkers wants is to share his love for me and I share my love to him; for at least 20 minutes. If I lay on the bed for too long he meows and paw me to get up and actively moving. I notice Checkers is very please when I am active around the house. I think he takes it as a sign that I’m not feeling too depressed today.
In other words, Checkers keeps a close eye on me. I love him for that. Sometimes, it does make me feel incompetent. I even tell Checkers, “Ya know, I’m suppose to take care you; not the other way around” But I guess we take care of each other, because we only have each other. I hate to say this, but I am only alive because of my cat. My point of view is, that my family and friends will feel immensely hurt when I pass away. Whether it’s suicide or not, this is true. But here’s the thing about life. Life goes on. Because of that, human beings are forced to move on. The pain will forever be there. It doesn’t go away. Time just make people learn how to manage the pain; hopefully in a healthy manner.
In this regard, I don’t worry so much about my friends and family too much. But Checkers is my main concern. If anything happens to me, then Checkers is screwed. After all the hardship we had gone through together and him helping me with depression, he doesn’t deserve being in a shelter with god knows what will happen to him. So I remain alive because there is something that needs me to keep going. So I try my very best to be better, for not only for me, but for Checkers.
Why am I telling you this novel size story? So you know how much of a crazy cat lady I am, lol! Besides that, it’s my way in saying pets are great for mental health. If a dog or cat is not your thing, then rabbit, fish, parrot, ferrets, turtles, snacks or whatever will do. Study have shown, people with pets are 74% happier then people without one. Having a pet kinda keep you on your toes; which is great for depression. It gets you on a schedule. Like walking the dog in the morning or evening. Knowing to refill the kitty bowl at a a certain time. Or setting up the time to do daily clean on the fish tank/animal cage. After doing the tasks you feel accomplished.
Pets are great for socializing! Especially if you’re an introvert or bit anti social like me. Sometimes you don’t want to interact with people, which I totally get, but having a pet you are able to communicate or do stuff which helps. Because the more a depress person socialize the better their mental health gets. If you feel uncomfortable or get anxiety around people, pets are the perfect substitute. Which leads to the next thing, pets can show love. A person with mental health issues usual loathe themselves and their life. Pets can provide unconditional love that can help a depress person to love themselves a little more. Also, as pets help to get physically active. I have mentioned in blog entry, Natural Antidepressants, that being physically active is essential to mental health. Playing catch with the dog, running around the house with a string for the cat to chase, and having a racing game with ferrets, are some of the ways to keep in shape.
Am I saying you MUST get a pet if you’re suffering from depression? No. It s huge responsibility. If you are not able to handle it, then don’t do it. Or if you’re interested, but still nervous about the responsibility, then get something low maintenance like a fish or a turtle. All I’m saying, that I’m happy to have such a great pet like Checkers and I want other depressed people to have the same happiness that I have with cat. Cause pets can make it easier to adult one day at a time.