Flatlander Faith

Apologetics from an Anabaptist perspective

Tag Archives: pet therapy

Three cats in the house

We are two elderly people and three cats in a fairly small house, and it is winter. All five of us spend much more time inside these four walls than we would if the weather outside were more clement. This makes for some conflicts. We provide nice cushions for our cats, plus two recliners and two office chairs for ourselves. The cats prefer our chairs. Plus, they prefer to be in the same room as we are.

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Panda, the oldest at thirteen, coming fourteen in summer, is a big black Maine Coon cat. She wants to have her long hair brushed or combed several times a day. This grooming must take place in one specific corner of the living room carpet. If we try to brush or comb her when she is somewhere else she will get up and walk to this spot and lay down. She also loves to be vacuumed and will come whenever she hears the sound of the vacuum cleaner. The other cats maintain a respectful distance between themselves and that noisy machine. When Panda wants my attention she will use her claws to tug at my pant leg. She is a patient cat; if I speak to her emphatically she will lay down and wait for a more opportune moment.

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Pookie, the youngest and smallest, will be five in summer. He is a flame point Siamese, and the most talkative of our cats. He will let us know vocally if he wants our attention, and if ignored will reach up and tap our arm with a soft paw, the claws fully sheathed. He will also respond well to being told to wait awhile.

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Angus is a year older than Pookie, a Siamese in conformation and temperament, but all black. Everything is an emergency to him. He begins by running back and forth, punctuated by plaintive cries:”The sky is falling! the sky is falling! Do something right now!” If we ignore him he will bite one of us on the arm to make his point. The bite is not a vicious bite, never leaves a mark, but it does get our attention. Most often, the reaction is a shriek from my wife which startles Angus enough to make him forget the cause of his anguish, at least momentarily.

Why do we put up with these nuisances? Why do we feed them, groom them, take them to the vet and vacuum up the cat hair? A few answers have come to my mind.

  1. Having other living creatures around that are dependent on us keeps us from becoming too engrossed in our own thoughts and health problems.
  2.  There is something very soothing and calming about having a cat jump on your lap and start purring when you sit in the recliner and put your feet up.
  3. Cats are very forgiving. It is reassuring to know that our cats still like us and trust us even if we accidentally step on one’s tail, or take one on an unwelcome trip to the vet.
  4. There is an object lesson in all this. If I can love and accept my cats, with all their foibles and annoying habits, why can’t I love and accept the people around me in the same way?

[The cats in the photos are not our cats, the pictures were downloaded from Pixabay. Our cats do look very much like the ones in the pictures.]

Our cats missed us

When we came home Sunday night Panda and Pookie, two of our three cats, were in the house. Angus, the third, streaked through the yard a few minutes later as we were cleaning the last of our stuff out of the car. He stopped, saw that it was us and dashed in the door. Michelle said she saw Angus a time or two while we were gone but he would never come close.

We hadn’t been gone long – five days, four nights – but they didn’t want to let us out of their sight for most of the day yesterday. In the afternoon I sat in the recliner, put my feet up and instantly had two cats on top of me. This morning I slept late and when I awoke all three cats were lying beside me, each one snuggled up next to me, but not touching each other.

I know that dog lovers all have good reasons for loving their dogs, but there is nothing that a dog can do that compares with the purring of a cat. There is power in the contented purring of a cat that draws tension and anxiety from the mind and body. There is a different kind of purring that cats do when they are hungry that isn’t so relaxing – I’m not talking about that.

For two older people, our cats are just what we need to make sure our days aren’t totally boring and dreary.

The sedate, the frolicsome and the frantic

We have three cats and the words above describe their personalities. Panda is the oldest, we consider her to be the same age as our oldest grandson, which means that six weeks from now she will be 13. She was part of a litter discovered in an abandoned car in a back alley in Saskatoon and taken in by a cat rescue operation. We had to pay for her. We assume from her large size, long hair, the ruff around her neck and her serene personality that she is mostly of Maine Coon cat ancestry. She is all black.

Her personality fits well with the elderly couple who share this house with her — my wife and I. We both spend an inordinate amount of time in front of a computer and when we feel a need to get up and do something more energetic to get the blood flowing again, Panda doesn’t lift an ear. She will come several times a day to where I am working and sit patiently until I take note of her. As soon as I make eye contact, Panda is on her feet and heading towards the kitchen, her ears laid back to hear if I am following. She stops at the place where we keep the comb and brush and waits for me to pick one of them up and come and groom her.

Pookie is our youngest cat, a feral flame point Siamese who showed up half-starved on to our doorstep when he was about six months old and has never left. He is the bounciest and friendliest of our cats, still likes to spend as much time as possible outdoors, but comes home to sleep. He has a little patience and seems to get it when we are too busy to jump up right away to see what he wants. He is the smallest of our cats and has stayed quite lean because of his exuberant lifestyle. He does not like to be picked up, but if we sit on one of the recliners and put our feet up, he will probably jump up on our lap. He is very agile, his jump seems effortless and he lands like a feather.

Angus is our middle cat, a little older than Pookie, black like Panda, short-haired like Pookie and mostly Siamese in conformation. We called him Angus because he is all black, but he looks more like a panther than a cow. He is much bigger than a real Siamese, but he definitely has the personality. Everything is an emergency with Angus. He will not eat unless one of us is in the room with him. If there is food in his bowl, he won’t touch it until we add a little bit more to let him know it is for him. If he wants to eat or to go out, he becomes almost hysterical, running back and forth and meowing frantically. For that reason, his name often come out sounding like Anguish or Anxious.

I am convinced that our cats are beneficial to our mental health and our physical health. They are certainly distracting, but we need those distractions. They are amusing and affectionate and that too is good for us.

Our oldest grandson tends to be quite impulsive and has been known to be rough with his siblings at times. But he has a cat that he dotes on. Before his cat was full grown, it was bitten by a dog, breaking one of the hind legs. He was worried sick about that cat. His parents took it to the vet and she did the best she could, but said that the break was so close to the growth plate that the leg would probably never grow as long as the other and the cat would have a limp. She did better than she knew, the leg is just fine. This is an outdoor cat, but our grandson often brings him in and holds him on his lap. The care and patience he shows with that cat gives me confidence for his future.

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