I have two cats. Buddy is a large tabby tom cat that I found in a snow bank when he was a kitten. He was very young, weak, thin, and had frostbite on the tip of his ear and part of a paw. I can only guess that a thoughtless owner of a litter of kittens tried to get rid of them. I only found one. Lucy is a smaller tabby queen that I inherited when she was a kitten. She is my granddaughter’s cat. I am the permanent foster mom since my granddaughter is not allowed to have another cat in her apartment building. Buddy and Lucy are best of friends. One entertains the other and they are usually found rolled up in a big ball of fur on the couch. They are strictly indoor cats.
Over 16 years after having two strokes, I’ve had a dog, bird, and now the cats. The bird was a cockatiel named Kato that I taught to talk, or perhaps the bird taught me to talk too as I was aphasic (a language problem caused by stroke or damage to the brain which leads to trouble speaking, understanding, writing, or reading) post-stroke. Eventually, the bird talked so much that I couldn’t keep him quiet! When I was on the phone he must have thought I was talking to him and would go on and on about how pretty he was and screeched out to “Be quiet! I’m studying!” It wasn’t difficult to figure out that the old bird had picked that quip up from my years at the university.
The dog was a miniature schnauzer named Cindy. She was our family pet when the kids were young. Cindy used to dance on her hind legs when we played the piano. I’m not sure if it was because she wanted to do a jig or because she wanted us to stop playing. Either way, she added great joy to our family.
Now, the children have grown and I live alone. But I am never lonely with Buddy and Lucy around. As a pet owner I have the responsibility of making sure they are fed each day and are provided fresh water. I make sure they are current with their immunizations and vet checks. I brush them at least once a week. And I talk to them too. Not that they understand me but they do react to the intonation of my voice. Believe it or not, they sleep with me too. No matter how many times I’ve sent them from my room they always come back to cuddle. Buddy curls up by my abdomen and Lucy wraps around my lower legs. Everyone is comfortable, except when I move they seem disturbed and meow their discontent.
Pets are important to all of us. After a stroke, pets can be wonderful housemates as well as giving us an opportunity to care for something else other than ourselves. Pets can heal our souls too. Cindy made me laugh when she danced to music. The cockatiels comb was always messy and he’d cock his head and look at you just to make you smile. The cats play with my knitting yarn then run and hide as if to say, “I didn’t do it!” All of these little creatures have added enjoyment to my life. They have helped me to keep depression, a side effect of stroke, at bay. They have helped me realize that I am an important individual in their lives as well as my own.
by Cleo Hutton @ MyHeartCentral