Cats, amazing – I know, not everyone is a cat person, but they truly are wonderful little creatures that light up my life. My son and I got our first cat four years ago from North Shore Animal League as a birthday present for me. It was a very hard time for both of us because I just got separated from my then husband. I was sad, angry, anxious about the situation and worried about my son who wasn’t taking it very well. He loved his dad and being five and a half couldn’t understand why all of a sudden his parents weren’t living together anymore and why they were fighting any time they were around each other. All the yelling and crying of the pervious few months has also taken a toll on him and he was very sad and apathetic. I don’t know what was hurting me more - things that were going on between me and his father or seeing my son this way. I only knew one thing, it was going to get worse for all involved if I didn’t get my wits together and ended that unfortunate ordeal. Time heals everything, they say, so I just took deep breaths and did my best. It was a natural progression of thought, a knowing of a kind that whispered in my ear one day that we needed a cat. My son loves animals and was thrilled when I told him that we are going to adopt a kitten. And so we went to the Animal League with intent to find a perfect kitten to be a part of our small family.
There were cages full of dogs and puppies, cats and kittens. It was heartbreaking to see them locked behind metal bars, unable to run around as animals should, but these were the lucky few that had a chance of staying alive and being adopted and loved. My son and I picked up and petted different kittens, there were so many to pick from that our heads started spinning. We walked around wondering how we were going to choose. Just then I kneeled down to see a kitten in one of the lower cages, she was a skinny little thing, a tabby with big ears and intelligent eyes. My son and I asked to hold her and when we did she purred loudly, selecting us to take her home and be her family. I haven’t seen my son smile so much in a long time. Even though the kitten made herself comfortable without hesitation in our apartment, he followed her everywhere as she walked around with her tail up, purring and sniffing, sniffing and purring. And when he went to sleep, she nestled close to him and stayed there all night, occasionally grooming his hair. She did that every night until he notably cheered up and started smiling not only at home (both of us couldn’t help but smile when around her), but in school and out when playing with friends. It is amazing that one little kitten had the power to bring joy to our injured hearts with her mere presence. But that’s what pets do - they extend our hearts, heal us, show us the way to brighter more joyful lives. They are our companions and our friends. They teach us to love deeper, without selfishness, without holding back our affection and by that they fix the parts of us that were broken. They feel when we are sad or in pain and they comfort us. It is not a coincidence that Kisa chose to sleep next to my son when he was upset and that she still does that whenever he has a bad day. She cuddles next to my stomach when I have a stomachache and purrs my discomfort away.
There is an overabundance of animals in shelters and on the streets needing a home and a loving family. It is a distressing reality that many animals are killed simply because nobody wants them, as if it is their fault that they were born and haven’t found someone to love and protect them. There are plenty of families that could use some healing and an infusion of hope from feeling compassion. Why not adopt a pet and help each other? As people give love, so they shall receive. As people let themselves feel affection, their hearts grow stronger, bigger and brighter. And with that physical and emotional healing occurs and their spirits are set free from the suffering of the past.