I have a grey and white tabby cat named Floyd. My husband and I adopted him 1.5 years ago from the animal shelter as a senior cat. He is technically only 9 years old, which isn't terribly old, but getting there. He is very fat and very lazy. And I love him like he is my own child, most of the time (except when he scratches my couch).
As I have mentioned before I have an anxiety disorder that affects my day to day life. Floyd plays such a huge part in managing it, so I want to tell you about that today.
I have read many places online and heard from many people that cats don't care about their owners. I mostly agree. I don't think my cat necessarily "cares" when I have an anxiety attack, but I believe that he is at least curious about what is going on. So, he usually investigates.
When I have anxiety attacks they usually manifest themselves in me laying face down on my bed basically immobile. I get "stuck,” as I am sure many of you can relate to. I can't get out of my head and out of whatever thoughts I am drowning in. So I just lay there silently or crying for quite a while. Most of the time my husband, Jordan, is right there with me trying to comfort me and talk me through it. And then, out of nowhere, Floyd always appears. And he gets close! He just stands/lays right on my face, which though slightly intrusive, grabs my attention.
My theories? I think that he either sees my husband and I sitting together and wants to be a part of the party or God sends him over in some God-to-cat-telepathy way.
Either way, he shows up and it helps.
There is something about the demeanour of Floyd that calms me right down. He is relaxed and moves so slowly and carefully that it is a little mesmerizing. So, I pet him and it usually distracts me enough to pull me out of the hole I am stuck in, at least long enough to come back to reality.
Now that I know Floyd has this effect on me I utilize him.
This last picture is from a day about a year ago when I had been at a campfire gathering with a decently large group of friends that drained me. Even if I have fun with groups of friends I still get completely drained. So I walked in the door and grabbed Floyd and collapsed on the couch. He doesn't fight me or try to get away. He just lets me hold him tight until I feel better.
I realize that every pet may not be quite so helpful; some pets are just less loving than others. But my cat is loving and helpful, and for that I am thankful. It may have something to do with the fact that he is a senior so he is too lazy to fight me and just rolls with it.
But to all of you who have a loving pet and deal with any level of anxiety or stress, perhaps you would benefit from using your furry friend as a comfort in anxious moments. (And if you don’t have a pet but live with anxiety, maybe you should look into bringing a furbaby home!)
Do any of you already use your pets for comfort this way? Think you will try it? Tell me about your experience!