Today is my little furbaby’s first birthday! Happy Birthday, Loki!! He’s been with us since he was four months old and what a wonderful, wacky, love-filled eight months it’s been. I can hardly describe the countless hours of joy and comfort this little guy has brought me since the moment he walked through my door, but I’ll do my best. In honor of his big day, I put together this collage video, so you can see how much he’s grown.
It’s hard to believe it’s been eight months already. Sometimes it feels like he’s always been here, but it’s really not at all difficult to remember how lonely and sad I was without him. I know I am so very fortunate to have a spouse who has stuck by me through a decade of being mostly housebound, but there’s also a long list of things I’ve lost; family, friends, career, home, the chance at having my own children. I even had to give up my beloved dog when I wasn’t capable of taking her on walks anymore and we didn’t have a yard. I never thought I’d get over the grief and guilt I felt over rehoming Verona, my border collie, but I had to work through that before I could let myself move on and love another animal. It took 2 years before I could even think about her without crying.
As wonderful as my husband is, as much joy as he brings me and as much as he works to love and care for me, he’s just not enough. No one can be your end all and be all. I have to have more love and companionship in my life than what he can give me, but that doesn’t necessarily have to come from another human. What Loki has brought me is very meaningful and significant to my life. He’s my only companion every day from 12:30 pm to 10:30 pm, sometimes longer, as my husband goes to work and lives his life beyond our home.
That’s where Loki comes in, though he certainly doesn’t take time off when my husband comes home, either. Loki is my comfort when I hurt, often opting to spend nearly the entire day in my lap or by my side on my really bad days, gently purring and chatting to me. On those days, he knows better than to meow at me incessantly as he does on other days.
Loki treats me with a care and respect he doesn’t seem to have for anyone else. He harasses the hell out of my husband when he puts his shoes on, for example, chasing his shoe strings and sinking his claws in so it’s impossible to tie them. Not me. He never interferes with me trying to accomplish something, at least not on my bad days. And when I’m asleep, he never bothers me. I don’t know if he senses just how hard it is for me to sleep or what, but he won’t even come near the bed when I’m asleep, though if we close the door he throws a real fit.
On my good days, he’s always up for a game of blanket mouse or pointer chasing. No matter what I’m doing or how I’m feeling, he’s usually by my side. When we first got him, he wouldn’t allow anyone to pick him up, but now he lets me, if a little grudgingly, for some cat cuddles. He’s in love with my robe and the way it feels and always nurses on it just like a baby kitten when I wear it as he’s done since the day he came into our lives.
Of course life with Loki isn’t always rainbows and sunshine. We thought we were naming him after the trickster god of Norse mythology and a Marvel character, but his name really turned out to be short for loquacious, as he’s the most talkative cat I’ve ever met in my life. His chatter can be a bit much to take at times, especially when I’m riding high on histamines with headaches, anxiety and sensory overload. But I’ve come to realize most of his meowing is about his own anxiety and I try to be patient and reassuring, which usually quiets him down a lot quicker than anything else. Of course he also chats quite a lot when he plays, if he’s hungry, feeling challenged and for a few reasons I have yet to puzzle out. Just check out this video of him playing.
When I got him, I knew I needed a companion, someone to love and care for and who returned that love. I’ve almost always had animals and they are like my children to me, but after having to give up Verona and having had several cats that I just couldn’t seem to build a strong relationship with, I had all but given up. I still don’t feel confident that I could give a dog everything she or he needs, so after three years of loneliness, I decided to give a kitten a try and I sure am glad I did. I think back to how sad and pitiful my life was without Loki and I can hardly believe I let myself suffer like that.
Now that he’s here, my life feels so much more complete. He brings me joy with all his kitty antics and his sweet loving ways. He brings me comfort with his gentle, watchful care. He provides me companionship and lets me know I am never alone. He provides me with a sense of accomplishment, as I am proud of the strong cat he’s become from the emaciated, bedraggled, flea-bitten kitten he was. He truly is my pride and joy and the best little companion animal any Zebra could ask for.
A pet can provide a real sense of purpose and emotional connection for someone who is housebound and/or disabled. By getting a pet, you’ll no longer feel so alone or struggle as much with issues of mental health. There are many reasons this is true. For a more in-depth look into how pets affect us mentally and physiologically, check out this great guest post by Pamela Jessen: Fibromyalgia and Pet Therapy.