Sleeping tabby cat

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I love cats. Saying that, I feel very strongly about how these furballs have affected me in helping me cope with my depression. I had a tabby cat named D’Artagnan (more affectionately known as Dart), that was my best friend for 13 years. When I had one of my bouts of profound sadness, I was known to track down Dart and bring him in my room to cuddle. He was very mellow-natured, which made his presence all the more comforting to me. I would babble about my problems and displeasures to him, even though I’m sure he had no clue what I was saying. I could literally find myself relaxing as I stroked his tummy, or brushed him (he LOVED to be brushed). His purr was literally the only thing that would get me to fall asleep at night; I would go crazy trying to sleep if he wasn’t somewhere on my bed.

It’s funny about the term I came up with; cat therapy. I thought I was the only one who used that term, but I ran across another WordPress blogger who used the SAME term. I cannot remember his name for the life of me, but his comment to me on that phrase made me feel a little less silly. Dart never charged for his sessions, except in tummy rubs and treats. I cried all over him at times, got him all wet with my tears, hugged him like a ragdoll. He put up with all of my drama with remarkable fortitude, but I like to think personally that he tolerated it because he loved me.

I have always been more comfortable around animals than people, because I feel that animals know how to judge a person and not betray them. People do that; they do it in a heartbeat because humans are very fickle souls. That’s just my take on it; others may disagree with that assessment. Animals won’t lie to your face, or insult you, or be outright malicious to you. They don’t spread gossip behind your back, break your heart, or steal from you. Maybe I’m just anthropomorphizing all of this, but deep inside, that’s how I feel, and it’s truth for me.

He cared about me, my Dart. When I was sick, he would keep me company on my bed. About five or six years ago, I had to have surgery for gallstones, of all things. My sister came up to care for me, because my parents were bringing my little sister to college. She witnessed this, of how Dart, for all his goofiness, kept a strict watch over my recovery. He sat next to me on the bed and would meow in an annoyed fashion if I tried to get out of bed. If his vocal warnings were not enough,Dart went further to plant his front paws on my ribcage, or drape himself across my legs to prevent me from getting up. When I had to use the bathroom, Dart would be come very agitated if he was not permitted to accompany me into the bathroom. he would sit outside the door and start howling piteously until I let him in. Upon returning to bed, he gave me a ‘cat scan’, which involved a thorough sniffing of me to make sure I was okay.

That was love. Whether you believe it or not, he cared about me. He knew when I was in the dumps because he would invariably make his way to my room and curl up beside me. I truly believe he was one of the biggest reasons for me not taking my life. He was my furry guardian angel, my very own Clarence Oddbody in fur. Dart gave me the strength at times to drag myself up from the abyss of my grief and keep going. People have no idea how much it means to one person to have a pet in their lives, of how much it can improve their well-being. People live longer having a pet. Maybe some people don’t have the time or patience for a pet, but I do. I grew up with pets; I had a dog for sixteen and a half years before she had to be put down due to severe illness. This is the first time in my life since I have had no animals in my life and it’s painful. Six years now without pets. I monopolize people’s pets when I go visiting; I keep trying to make friends with a cousin’s neurotic fat cat, Angel. I shamelessly befriended my neighbor across the street’s cat, Jack Daniels (I kid you not, that’s his name). He was so fond of me that he brought me a dead mouse one time when I was out walking.

My present form of cat therapy has been via YouTube videos of cats. It was partly why I created my own channel there; so I could gather cute, funny, and touching videos of cats in order to cheer me up. I have to say, it’s been a pretty good coping mechanism so far. It’s not self-destructive and there are no deleterious side-effects from watching them.

So, in closing, that’s my take on cat therapy. Now seems like a good time for another session.

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