How My Cat Helps Me Cope With My Disability
About a year ago, I made a necessary decision to move back to my home state of Massachusetts. Apart from the occasional trip to visit with friends, I had been away for almost five years. I found myself living in two completely different places while working tirelessly to earn a college degree. I had also been battling with some pretty tough circumstances as many of us do in life. It was then that I realized I had to do what most might believe to be counterproductive. I needed to go back in order to move forward. Little did I know, my life would change in a way that I would never have expected.
Growing up, I never had any pets of my own other than the average goldfish or hermit crab. I used to relentlessly beg my mom for a furry, four-legged friend. However, any attempt to convince her had been unsuccessful. In a moment of pure desperation, I wrote good ole Saint Nick one year, hoping that he would help me in my time of need. Christmas morning arrived, but none of my presents were moving. It was then that I knew Santa had failed me. He did, however, respond to my letter stating that a pet is a major responsibility. Apparently, he had a “discussion” with my mom and they both felt that I wasn’t ready yet. I realized two important things that day: I was definitely not getting a cat or a dog any time soon and that the jolly man in red was actually my mother.
I am much older now and understand that she obviously meant well at the time. It’s just that some of us are not cut out for being a pet owner. Some of us should also consider typing letters from Santa to their kids rather than handwriting them (love you, mom!). Among all of the traits that I have inherited from her, an aversion to pets is certainly not one of them. I have always been a true animal lover at heart and was determined to adopt one of my own someday. Therefore, I decided to celebrate my return to Massachusetts by spontaneously adopting a cat.
Although I hadn’t originally intended to become a pet parent at this particular time, it has easily been one of the best commitments that I have ever made. I never believed in my wildest dreams that I’d have so much love for a little ball of fluff. I also didn’t anticipate that it would help me begin the process of truly coping with living as a person who is physically disabled. One aspect of my disability that I have always struggled with, is feeling that I am too dependent on others. In other words, sometimes it can feel like I need people more than they actually need me. The decision to adopt a cat has lessened this struggle by allowing me to feel needed whether it is for care or just my attention.
Over the past few years, I have also noticed that my physical condition has worsened. It has been increasingly difficult to find effective pain management. Some days, it can be tough to focus on anything else. However, becoming a pet owner has provided me with a method of distraction. My cat’s company and his silly antics have helped to occupy my mind when the pain seems unbearable.
Thanks, Mr. K for your constant companionship and for bringing out my inner crazy cat lady.