i) This is a detailed blog of my own experience and reflections and should not be taken as professional or medical advice. If you or someone you know is suffering/believe to be suffering from mental health problems, please seek professional help.
When I was a younger girl, I have had only one other pet ever- a beautiful, English cocker spaniel named Didi. In my subsequent days of teenage-hood through to young adulthood, I have had family dogs and the such but the key thing to take away here is...they were all dogs.
You could say I wasn’t really bothered about cats. I mean, I do love all sorts of animals, but perhaps because of my little to none bonding to felines. I never really gave it much thought as a pet.
Until I met my partner.
Akin to him changing my life (cheesy), his cat, Tsuki, had REALLY changed my life and introduced me to the world of affection for the feline species.
aka. ‘The Queen’
Currently 7 years old
Obviously, it was quite the trial and error relationship between Tsuki and I since I had only ever had dogs and dogs usually crave constant TLC (tender, loving care) from their humans. Most cats, however, are less likely to be running to you when you come home, or appreciate it when you smother them with suffocating affection (though I did come to know later that there ARE indeed certain breeds that have lap-cat tendencies).
I do agree with the notion that cats will only come to you when they want affection. They are indeed, on the whole, quite independent and they simply do their own thing throughout the day, and are not afraid to make their voice heard (adamantly) when they want something.
With this in mind, I do believe that there is a different type of appreciation for cats and this particular appreciation is what helped me in my personal journey with my emotions, notably, this emotion called loneliness.
I remember those early days when I would turn my head to look at Tsuki and she would be looking out the window with such serenity. I did wonder what went on through that feline brain of hers (though at times it was because she probably saw a bird or something and hawk-eyed on it). I remember just lying down in bed and she was slightly further down the corner of the bed.
Not too close, yet nor too far from me.
This constant presence of hers eventually played the biggest role in alleviating my many moments of my loneliness, which I believe was a subliminal emotion that I never dared to tend to. It was like a mole that you can’t actually see but you know exists somewhere on your body.
Even if she can’t talk and even if she’s not snuggling up right next to me, her quiet yet salient presence had become an essential part to what I now call a home.
Throughout my life, I have constantly struggled with loneliness within and without home. I seem to always be in this perpetual state of isolation in my head and that no matter who is with me, I regularly only see the emptiness that surrounds me.
It became more evident as I grew older and it was truly troubling since I was not able to explain its origins. I could perhaps pinpoint a couple of reasons and triggers, but I could not be sure.
Meeting Tsuki and living with her had become such a mediator to my loneliness. It did not completely remove its existence but I feel that her being around had allowed me to silently reach out to her when I hit rock bottom. I feel like she has this constant openness for me to reach out to her without any constraints on my feelings. She wouldn’t necessarily respond nor comfort me, but her calmness and tranquility just sitting/lying/rolling there allowed me a companion to speak up and to, without curtailing my thoughts and emotions. She was like a living form of a diary, I guess.
Her warm presence seemed to be a prompt for me, to allow myself to admit that I am actually lonely indeed.
A year later we then adopted our second cat, Taiyo.
aka ‘The Diva’/’The Princess’
Currently around 3.5 years old (we don’t know her exact age)
She can get her b**** on whenever, wherever.
Another key aspect I felt I should give credit to Tsuki and Taiyo is something that lives in my darker times.
There were those olden days when I was not aware of my implosive and explosive emotions, and my inability to channel those emotional outbursts had had negative effects at home. It had been a recurring theme throughout my younger days to my young adulthood. It wasn’t until I’ve met Tsuki and then adopted Taiyo that I realised when my partner and I argued (seriously) at home, it had major effects on our cats.
I noticed that they would refuse to come out from wherever they were hiding for a considerable amount of time, and it wasn’t long when I realised that it was my actions that were scaring them, and probably making them feel unsafe. I felt so disappointed in myself, especially when they would always give me comfort but I couldn’t do the same for them.
When that occurred to me, something in my head switched on. Therein began the long, arduous process of self-regulating my emotional outbursts, and practising to communicate clearly and concisely through words- not just on what I am trying to convey, but also the emotions I am feeling. This daily process of newly discovered mindfulness had made me become a better person. It had taught me to articulate and use a calm and collected demeanour (which in turn a much more productive and beautiful experience) rather than a outburst to express my heart.
It taught me to be (and THAT is a whole other story for next time, with a whole other back story that led to this).
By the time we adopted our third cat, Hoshi, two and a half years on, I do indeed feel much more emotionally wiser and better attuned to who I am as a person and what my emotions- and this sense of loneliness- are in the contexts of my life.
aka. ‘The Brat’
Currently 3 months & 8 days
I truly believe he is literally fearless.
Each day I feel so grateful for having these companions with me in our home. They each have very unique personalities and had given me such a great environment to live in with their liveliness, independence, and feline affection.
Their very existence- them just being what/who they are- allowed me to alleviate so much of loneliness in my world.
How spectacular is that.
Thank you for reading.
There are many cats and dogs that are waiting for a new forever home, both young and old.
If you are looking to introduce a new friend into your home, have you considered adoption?
Check-in with your local adoption shelter and give them a visit. If you are unsure where your closest animal welfare centre is, you could start here.
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