If you are after something intellectual, you can stop reading this right now.
No, the world won’t stop turning and conflicts won’t get solved, but I am still going to share something that has opened a whole new world to me.
I want to talk about cats.
It all started last August, after I replied “I’ll take him” to an announcement about a rescued kitten looking for a loving home on Facebook. It was not a very wise decision as I am allergic and I’ve never had a pet before. But the next day, a fluffy and wet-eyed cat traveled across London with me to his new home. You can’t believe the number of “awws” we got while traveling during the underground rush hour as he was desperately meowing in his travel case.
That’s the story of how I became a proud, new pet owner for the first time in my life.
I spent my whole childhood begging for a pet of any kind. With two people with asthma in my family, my parents had to say no to any sort of hairy creature. My sister and I tried to find loopholes, so we kindly asked for slim and cute snakes instead. “Not in a million years”, was my mom’s automatic reply, which I never quite clearly understood why until recently.
Twenty years later, I finally got a furry pet of my own. At the time when he arrived in my life, I was suffering from a personal loss. I think my immediate instinct to reply “I’ll take him” to the message on Facebook was an unconscious attempt to fill the hole I was suddenly missing in my life.
Responsibility is an amazing feeling. This little fella needed me, but little did he know how much I needed him. When a close friend of mine was going through a difficult break-up, she told me that her two pets were her reasons to get up every morning.
The wonderful thing about pets is that they are a constant in our lives, day after day. Sometimes that is the most precious reminder of what humans need to be happier.
While writing this, I am abroad and missing my cat like a crazy cat lady does. Luckily, we have another cat in the house I’m staying in to meet my needs.
When I got back to my current accommodation yesterday, I didn’t want to leave the confines of my cozy bed. I think the house cat read my thoughts and he crawled silently into my room and snuggled himself under my covers. I didn’t dare to move all night as I felt so lucky to have him with me. Maybe he knew exactly what I need.
I think we can learn a lot from animals—domestic or wild. Cats really know how to relax. They are independent (okay, until food time) and affectionate. They purr. But they are also little rebels. You can’t really own or teach a cat because clearly they do what they want to.
I highly recommend pet therapy to everyone, especially if you are feeling a bit low. You don’t even have to get your own pet, just start by going to these new trendy cat cafés or pay a visit to a friend who has a dog or a cat.
When I stroke my cat, I become more present. He makes me laugh with his silly chasing habits and attention-seeking purrs. Pets make us feel important.
My cat has brought a foundation of happiness into my life. As much as pets take care of us, we need to take care of all the creatures of the animal kingdom as well, big or small. In the end, it might even save some lives and world conflicts.
Author: Sara Kärpänen
Apprentice Editor: Tess Estandarte / Editor: Caitlin Oriel
Image: Jorbasa Fotografie/Flickr