Disclaimer: The views expressed within this article are entirely the author’s own and are not attributable to Wessex Scene as a whole.
I think that sometimes when people think about having a cat they envision an aloof fluffy overlord who ignores you. But for me and my six therapy cats, it’s different.
My cats and I are a family. Yes, that sounds like the most clichéd sentence ever but it’s true. I didn’t get a cat just for the sake of getting a cat. Instead, I waited to find the right cats. I waited to find the ones who would choose me, rather than the other way around. I waited to find the ones who would need me as much as I needed them. I’m a survivor of abuse and trauma. I know what it’s like to feel voiceless and afraid. I know what it’s like to be neglected, used, and thrown away. I gave my heart to the cats who know what that feels like too.
My cats bring order and purpose to my day. They remind me that I’m responsible for someone other than myself and that I have a commitment to create a happy life for them. So, their presence in my life keeps me grounded. And when I didn’t have the motivation to get better for myself, to prioritise my own mental health and wellbeing, I made the effort because of them. My cats motivated me to abandon my negative coping mechanisms and replace them with positive ones. They showed me that recovery can be scary, but it’s worth it if you’re not alone. They showed me how to laugh without being self-conscious, how to create moments of joy every day, and how to find hope in dreams of a happy, healthy future with the ones I love.
My cats also taught me to cherish consent and self-respect. Because that’s the thing about cats—they’re not as aloof as people think. Actually, they’re just protective of their energy and they are excellent judges of character. So, when a cat does give you their heart, when they are free with their affection, it’s because you earned their genuine trust and respect. Unlike people, cats have complete emotional honesty, and that’s how I learned to be more like my cats. I learned to set and respect my own boundaries instead of chasing a relationship with someone who treated me like I was nothing. I learned to pursue healthy, mutually beneficial relationships with those who love and value me.
Today, the seven of us are thriving. We love each other and we love life because we truly are a family. That doesn’t mean that our lives will be perfect, but it does mean that we will never face life’s challenges alone. I will never again wake up and feel paralysed by silence and solitude. My cats will never again feel unwanted or unloved. Together, we can make life better for each other and that makes all the difference in the world.