There has been a lot going on in our lives this year – some good, but most about as bad as it gets. The worst was in March, when my mom suddenly decided she wanted a bigger house – as in Heaven. (Honestly, the day before she passed away, she told me that “…by summer I want to move into a bigger house.” To which I said, “Okay, I’ll help you!” Turns out she didn’t need my help.)
We also lost two cats who we loved very much this year. One (Renee Elise), we hadn’t had very long at all. The other (Carly) was a well-established family member. Then, last month we had a close call with Bo that nearly did us all in…
We did get an addition to the family when we inherited “custody” of my mom’s MUCH beloved and very sweet dog, Wednesday. He’s become part of the family and we love having him around. (The cats have adjusted better than I thought they could or would.)
But I think all the losses and the stress that comes with it has taken a toll on all of us. I know I’m just now getting to the point that I feel relaxed….and almost my old self. For months, very little mattered – and I’m realizing that now as I’m trying to “clean up” some of the things I’d let go! My laundry room and flower beds may never forgive me. And I can’t say that I blame them.
I was thinking earlier about how our cats have been affected. Animals are very sensitive to change, as well as to human’s emotions. When they see one of us cry, for example – they know something’s wrong. My babies have seen a lot of that this year, because whenever I feel my emotions getting the best of me, I go outside. They, of course, come running and we all sit down on the porch or on the patio (sometimes in the driveway!) – it’s as though they intentionally try to cheer me up and/or comfort me. Adam and Svenn get as close as possible to me and purr louder than I’ve ever heard any cat purr. Alexa and Bo like to keep me busy….trying to save my feet from being mauled or my fingers from being chewed. It’s hard to feel sad when your cats are pouncing and stalking your houseshoes.
Prissy is a cuddler/purrer like Adam and Svenn – she’s just a lot older, so she falls asleep about 2 minutes into the comforting!
Until I really started thinking about it, I didn’t realize how many times they’ve lifted me up.
I’ve been trying lately to just chill with them like we used to do. No tears, no sadness – just smiles whether we’re just sitting around (praying for a breeze!), grilling, playing with tennis balls, ribbons, or sticks, taking walks around the yard, or doing yard chores like picking up fallen apples and tossing away the bad ones. (Bo’s favorite chore. When I walk out the back door with plastic bags, he heads for the apple trees ahead of me.)
I think we’re all learning how to live normally again. It’s just something that we sometimes forget when we should always remember – animals have emotions and they can feel stress just as we can. To make matter worse, their coping skills are even worse than ours! They rely on us to help them out, and often in doing so, we help ourselves as well.
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