I’m going to start this week’s post with an incredibly depressing but profound quote.
I read a Guardian article about crime writer Henning Mankell who was facing his imminent death from cancer in 2014.
The quote goes:
“Fear is natural and based on the simple truth that what distinguishes us humans from other species is that we know we are going to die. The cats I have owned during my life have never been aware of their own death. They haven’t even been aware that they were alive. They have simply been there, day after day – hunting, lying around, miaowing. Acknowledging one’s fear of the unknown is realising what it means to be a person. Our existence is basically a tragedy. Throughout our lives we strive to increase our knowledge, our abilities, our experiences. But the bottom line is that all of that will be lost in oblivion.”
Heavy going right? But an interesting comparison of humans and their pets. I am a huge advocate for having pets – particularly rescue animals.
Two years ago, my husband and I went looking for a cat to add to our family and were led to Pickles, a black cat who had been found very sick on the streets with cat flu.
He was taken care of by the Lost Cats' Home and now us and we can’t imagine life without him.
I’m sure you’ve heard the theory about why pets are so good for humans and in particular why it is so hard to ever lose them.
Relationships with pets are usually all positive, for a number of reasons... and here is what Pickles has taught me about life so far:
Accept people as they are
Our relationship with pets is so special because they accept us just as we are.
They don’t try to change us, they don’t mock us or put us down.
They love us just as we are.
Pickles is there for me through good times and bad and his love for and acceptance of me never wanes. His behaviour towards me stays consistent and it’s always positive. Whether I've I'm grumpy in the morning, have had a hard day at work or am just feeling glum in general, he's there for me in a consistent non-judgemental way.
I remember when we first got Pickles, one of his major demands (!) of me was that when I got home from work, I was to lay on the bed so he could lie on me and purr and cuddle after a day away from me.
I must admit this was a struggle for me to start with – I was very used to coming home and getting on with cooking dinner, or cleaning up, or doing something else on my to do list.
Instead I’d come in the door and Pickles would demand I relax and cuddle with him. A pretty amazing way to end the work day and start my evening.
Don’t forget to be silly
Pickles loves to sleep a hell of a lot (did you know cats sleep for 16-18 hours a day? Inspirational really) but he also loves to be silly.
He did this even more so as a kitten, but one of my favourite times of day, is when Pickles will run around the house like a maniac, leaping off furniture, tearing up the hallway or bouncing across our bed.
It never fails to make me laugh and reminds me how much I love to make jokes, be immature and take a break from the seriousness of everyday life.
Thanks Pickles, I owe you so much.