As pathetic as it may sound, I often think cats have saved my life more than once.
I didn’t have a happy family and surely didn’t have a happy upbringing. There was a lot of tension, fights were regular between my parents. What helped to dissipate all that negativity, were my cats. There were always one or two cats in my family, and their playfulness was always the best thing to help us boost our moods, at least mine.
There was a cat when I was a very young child, there was a cat when my parents divorced, and there was a cat when my mom moved out of town and I was alone. No matter what happened in my life, I always had a cat with me.
At some point in my life, I struggled with depression. I was young and alone; I didn’t have anyone to talk to, and everything felt really hard. Pointless. Meaningless.
But I had this cat to feed, and it was a cat who had to be on a special diet. So, I was forced to get up in the morning, shower, get dressed, and go to the supermarket to buy his food. Being forced to move and go out, do things, and react, I eventually reacted fully and in the end, healed. All because of him.
This happened every time I went through a tough time: I felt like giving up, but I had cats!
I had to get up in the morning, clean the mess they’d made, vacuum the house, go out and buy them food… and in the end, my depression always shed away.
Years ago, during one of these hard moments, I gave shelter to kitties with health problems, and for about eight months, I lived with nine cats. Seeing how they went through life despite their issues, how they played, ate, cuddled, and enjoyed everything to the fullest, has been one of the greatest teachings I had. They treasured life, no matter what. Most of all, they were living the moment, and the moment was great. Just by looking at them, I learned how to keep all anxiety about the future at the door – at least, most of the time. I learned how to focus on the moment I was in. And the moment was always good.
During that time, I was going through a lot of changes, some very, very difficult, and seeing how gracefully my cats approached the end of their lives was a huge inspiration. The moment, the moment. The moment was always good. There was food, a soft cushion, or cuddles. It was good. The important things were there, right at that moment.
Knowing my time with them was limited made it a tough, serene, hard, happy, sad, playful time. All the emotions merged and made me feel deeply in connection with life, like never before.
After a while, some cats went peacefully, some of them stayed many more years, and all of them have my gratitude. This illustration is for them.
They say cats have nine lives; I say every life should have nine cats.
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