Cat lovers, cats mental health, information

Cats and Depression

Staying in dark, quiet places spells trouble if it is becoming your cat’s habit.

Cats do like dark quiet places to rest, but if you notice they’re spending more time away from the family than usual, your cat may be becoming depressed. If you’re like me and your cat or cats are not merely pets, but family members, you’ll notice their absents rather quickly.

Sax is my Maine Coon. He’s the one with his face showing in the photo. We traveled to another town to get him not knowing our choice would be him. I was looking for a black and white female as I was told they have dynamic personalities. This little girl kitten wasn’t looking for me. She pushed all of her legs against me in protest to cuddles. It’s unusual for a cat or kitten to push me away. My friend calls me Dr. Doolittle when we walk. Neighbourhood cats follow me, dogs strain leashes to get head rubs. Meanwhile, the only striped kitten of the litter had his sights fixed on me and my hubby. We held him and he loosed the purrs instantly. (Wrap ’em up!) He rode in the car like  he owned it, and he has no adjustment period at his new home. He was in and that was that. He lives up to his name, too, entertaining us with his personality and antics.

Sax became more aggressive with me as he got into his teenager-type years, I was his cat friend. I played hide and go seek with him, I roughed him up on the bed for a good ole cat fight simulation, and I taught him many tricks, words and phrases. I let him chase me, and I chased him. But it became apparent he needed another cat to chum with and do cat stuff, like the mutual washing. I adore my cat, but I just couldn’t bring myself to enjoy cat fur on my tongue. Ew—haha. That’s reasonable, isn’t it?

We adopted a rescue. Sax growled for four days. I kept Purrla in a separate room when I wasn’t present. Purrla was the size of a large muffin when I brought her home with blue eyes. Tender loving care was showered upon her as she was abandoned by her mother. When she finally meowed with her teeny voice, the gentle giant realized she was a baby cat and took over from there. He taught her the life of cat ways, washing her and often sitting on her to clean her back feet and her bottom after using the litter box. He showed her how to open the cabinet by the stove, how to toss a catnip toy around, and she was shown how to change the pitch of her meow to get treats. It was sweet to watch.

All was well for years. But Purrla has totitude. She goes out of her way to take swings at him, and she is trying to take over what was first his domain. Instead of fighting back, he tolerates her. He’s a big boy, he could send her rolling, but he takes the abuse.

I recently noticed his absents at night while bingeing on Netflix by the fireplace. In the day I was looking for him, too. He decided my writing lair closet was his safe place.

My husband didn’t agree cats could get depressed. It’s a good thing I know they can.

I went and got Sax to come downstairs with Purrla, me and his dad, who is of course my husband. If he left and went back to the closet, I’d turn on the light, sit with him and gently speak to him, petting him and scratching under his chin, backs of his ears. I’d pick him up and carry him back downstairs. I’d do that a few times a night if necessary. In the day I kept bringing him out and talking almost constantly to him. I’ve been doing this for a couple weeks and the improvement is vast. His eyes don’t look sad now. He’s starting to come when I call him. He’s been sleeping in areas I’m in during the day. He walks faster, he plays with toys, he asks for treats, and his appetite has improved.

Purrla is being disciplined and she’s adjusting her little black and red coat attitude. Yes, it is possible to train and discipline a cat. No, really. Expect a scratch and spit here and there, and you’ll be shunned with tail flicks, but it is possible to reroute their behaviour. Notice she isn’t cuddled up to him? I’m sad they aren’t good buddies.

I caught Sax’s descent into depression early. I’m no stranger to depression, so I could relate to his wanting to hide in dark, quiet places. It’s true. Our beloved fur babies can become depressed. Watch for hiding, appetite decrease, and, although it may seem weird, look at their eyes. Their eyes change shape slightly with cat’s facial expressions, so depressed cats look a lot like they do when you’re loading them up for a vet trip. Also, their tails tell a lot. A cat walking around with their tail up is good. Tails close to the legs indicates unhappiness of some sort. Whiskers, too. Straight out to the side or perked forward is good, pointing to the floor, not so good.

Am I a cat specialist? No. Do I research and learn because I’m a devoted cat mom and the subject has interested me since childhood? Yup. That’s it. I’m a hopelessly committed cat lady.

Here’s to furry mental heath, and ours, too.

Thanks for reading.

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Human Behaviour, Human Nature

Let the Addict Talk

People have lots to say about that defiant kid who got messed up in crack, heroine, fentanyl or other dirty drugs. Disrespectful and useless, they say. The kid had a choice and chose wrongly.  The kid will end up in jail or dead, just watch and see, they say.

Sometimes it isn’t just the wrong choice. What if, to that kid, it feels like the only choice after some ruthless dealer supplied the drug to try. Try before you buy, right? And it felt good to be euphoric, even if it was an illusion, and accepted! But why would a kid even fall for that? Why is he or she hanging out with those kinds of kids? Why? Because home life is dysfunctional, perhaps. Because the kid can relate better to kids who get him or her. Anything is better than the nothingness of a hopeless home life, an abusive parent who hates, and long since lost hope when there was only a thin trickle of optimism to begin with.

If the kid has an alcoholic, psychotic father and a mother too terrified to do something or tell someone, her kid will look for other ways to cope. And it sure isn’t going to be cuddling up to a favourite stuffy as a teenager.

Life is never easy. We live in a fallen world, but when that fallen world is the private world at home with no relief, kids do look for coping mechanisms. Like attracts like, so the dealers are dealing for a reason, kids are buying for a reason.

Maybe it’s a simple as the kid has too much time while both parents work full time jobs to afford the basics of a mortgage, household bills, debt, cars and car insurance etcetera. Teenagers are not logical. They’re impulsive. Kids do what they feel they need to do to feel alive, wanted and nurtured. I’m not saying parents should not work. I’m simply saying when teens are left to their own rules, they may cut their leash. Even I have a loved one who took the wrong route while my husband and I worked. It was an addiction nightmare, but she did recover. When we talked about it, she said she was trying to become popular in high school. Her focus went from me to her peers—and it happened so fast I didn’t see the blur whiz by. It just takes one try with some drugs when within the family DNA is an addict.

So what if a kid who became addicted had someone who knew the signs and were willing to help? Would he or she talk about why they need to get high to escape? They would if they felt comfortable. There is a myriad of reasons why being high is easier than being in the pit of anguish. Every kid has a story. Every story has been hushed up or spoken. For those who are being reticent and edgy, they’re likely being told what goes on in the home stays in the home.

Why do teens get addicted to hard drugs?

Let the addict talk.

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Human Behaviour, Human Nature, Humanity, Spiritual

A Micro Second Death Face

I remember the headlights and the shiny bumper on the white SUV. I was swerving and my husband was yelling at me, “You’re going to roll the car!”

The only thing separating vehicles from other vehicles on the road is about five feet of air and an imaginary do not cross barrier. What are drivers on these days? How many believe they’re experienced drivers who are immune to the effects of alcohol or hard drugs, or marijuana for the argument? Or was he texting?

My car didn’t roll, but I felt the unsteady jerking beneath me. I had swerved to the right towards the soft, gravel shoulder, and the SUV driver swerved to the left, missing my little Hyundai Accent by mere inches, tucking himself back in. He couldn’t see us when he thought he could pass? There was no warning. He drove out directly in front me.

That’s all I remember. My husband yelling, near tipping of my car, and the white SUV’s headlights and shiny bumper.

My life is forever changed.

Everything I have worked for, everyone I have loved or not loved, every sticky note I’ve written to remind myself of something wouldn’t matter beyond the micro second that it takes to die, then leave my body, and watch the vehicles embrace, in a crunching tangle from my soul floating 20 feet above. I’d look for my husband as he was extracted. He’d be limp and bent unnaturally. I’d try to see myself behind the battered face I used to recognize. The emergency team would pull my squashed body out. I’d see my husband looking, too. We’d then see each other hovering above the chaos, and we’d remember the discussions we so often had about dying together as neither of us could bear the emptiness if we were left behind. Also, there he would be, the drunk driver being extracted from his white SUV. He’d be bloodied and crying, repeatedly saying he’s so sorry. He’d be banged up, but he’d see his loved ones again. He’d finish projects, he’ll drink again.

He’ll forget about the people he killed when he drinks himself to sleep, but the dead will be there every time he wakes.

Nothing would matter anymore. Not my novel which was accepted by a trustworthy publisher, not the closet I meant to clean out, not the computer I am writing this on— nothing. Not a thing would matter. Our lives would matter to all who had to receive the dreaded news, though. Our grown kids, our friends. Our bosses. Our innocent cats who always wait to hear the door open would be surprised as family came in to do what had to be done. Maybe our cats would pine to death in a shelter, separated from us and each other.

None of this death aftermath happened, though, but my life has changed nonetheless.

Thank God we are alive. No one can tell me God didn’t have the last say at that near head on collision. Why am I here? I’m going to find out. We all should find out why we’re here. A micro second wipe out could be anyone’s ultimate fate, but when?

Live before you leave. Really, really live. God Bless.

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Human Behaviour, Human Nature

Time Has No Wings

The tick of the clock can be a hollow sound. The hollow sound is the waiting, waiting, waiting, like the echo of hard soles of shoes in a dark ally.

There are no wings on time. It doesn’t fly, it passes slowly. The sluggish tick, tick, tick on the hourly tocks about waiting. Time holds us prisoner, it keeps us still in the moments of pause.

When time is not sluggish, it’s pushy. Do this, do that, do it all in a short day, but still, time has no wings. If it did, time traffic would collide.

Swift or dawdling, time has its own agenda. Waste it and we’re sorry we missed it. Use it and we look back on what we did. Spend time on what matters the most if you can.

Notice Time. That’s all it wants.

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Human Behaviour, Human Nature

Waiting Wilts or Strengthens

In a year, time waits for no one; birthdays and holidays seems to repeat themselves frequency.

How is then when we wait weeks, perhaps months for something personally important to us, time moves like a dangling drip from a faucet? It drops eventually, but like a pot put on to boil, it is best not to watch.

Patience is a virtue. A virtue is integrity. Integrity is good character, and this means patience is a good and moral act. It’s a hard act, though. Nothing easy produces great results, slow and steady wins the race. Still hard.

People don’t like to wait. Is it a societal thing? With today’s technology, we wait micro seconds for most things. There’s not even enough time to chew a bite of an apple waiting for something to react to our command on a computer. In nature, that apple took from spring till autumn to ripen.

I’m going though a season of waiting. “Good things take time,” they say. The thing about waiting is the worry often accompanies a long wait. What’s the hold up? Is it supposed to take this long? Has it been cancelled? Have I been forgotten?

Waiting wilts or strengthens we humans. If we worry, we wilt. If we imagine how long it takes an apple to ripen, perhaps we’ll be put things into perspective. Once we get through the waiting, we’re strengthened by having patience with a reward: the thing, the product, the reply. We must wait, the prize will present. After all, nothing happens faster when we worry about the wait; except one thing: wilting.

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Humanity

World Disasters

The most frightening thing in the world is losing our world. Everything we worked to have, everything we love, and people we love, even out pets.

I feel deeply for those affected by fires, floods and earthquakes.

My prayers are with the scared, the injured, and those left to carry on without loved ones and beloved pets.

If you’re reading this, you’re safe. Thank God.

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Human Behaviour, Human Nature, technology

Disconnect and Disrespect

A glance at a cell phone’s screen, and the decision is made to ignore or answer. Or the cell is shut off thus giving the servant of it pause from notifications etcetera. However, these days a cell contains the world and all its information—and people, so it is everything and everyone being shut out when the cell’s off.

One problem with this is adult kids have aging parents. Sometimes it takes many hours for a call to be noticed, and by then a parent might already be processed and in a morgue. This sounds dramatic, however, it’s a reality of disconnection.

With social media, being connected is also being disconnected. For instance, I often go to my favourite coffee shop alone to have a coffee break from my writing work. More often than not I see two at a table, coffee steaming, and cells in hands. An actual caller rings, gets a glance, and is ignored. As much as we think we’re more connected with fellow humans, we couldn’t be more wrong.

Respect is denied. The cell seems to dictate decisions. Answering a text is somehow easier than hearing a live voice. “Text me,” is more common than “Call me.” Ignoring a caller is more common than simply making a call short, yet humans subscribe to Bluetooth in their car.

I observe this and feel justified for not having data on my cell. I use it to hear my husband’s voice tell me he is safe on his dangerous job. I have a desk top computer. I have a landline. If I’m missing something, I’m yet to notice.

A cell phone is a tool which has become the unscrupulous, multitasking master of human minds, and aging parents often have no way to reach their kids. Landlines are antiquated. Disrespect is fresh and alive; it’ll be a while before it’s outdated.

Thanks for reading~

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