Losing My Cat Was Like Losing A Best Friend

Losing My Cat Was Like Losing A Best Friend

A fur baby in Heaven is a broken heart on Earth.

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Three — almost four — years ago, I adopted my two furbabies. He is the cuddliest good boy and she was the sweetest girl. If you read my previous article on them, you would've seen they are cats that literally act like dogs. Tummy rubs. Following you around. Unconditional loyalty. They possess the kind of attributes that a lot of people only give to dogs or even humans. They clearly love me so much, and I love them right back. Which is why when I lost one of them, my heart broke.

The truth is, not everyone understands the heartbreak of losing a pet, especially a cat. Some people see a pet simply as an animal, not as a best friend, not as a family member. And more specifically, some people see cats as reserved animals who do not really care for their human owners.

For crying out loud, dogs are called a "man's best friend," not kitties. For some reason, cats have a negative stigma I will never understand.

But I will clear the air right now and tell you that cats love you unconditionally, even if all of them are not the best at outwardly showing it, so please love them back.

My sweet furbaby who is prancing around Heaven right now showed me that kind of unconditional love, always. Anytime I was sick, she never left my side, constantly comforting me. Anytime I had a tear roll down my cheek, she was jumping up next to me to cuddle. Even when nothing was wrong, her sweet little voice was always filling my ears, rubbing her head against my hand, begging for love and attention.

She was also one of the smartest animals I have ever seen. She never had to be trained to do anything impressive, she just did it, somehow teaching herself. One time, I bought her a light-up ball, and she learned to pick it up and drop it down just hard enough to light up the foyer of our house with the flashing red and blue lights

She was also so incredibly loyal. I have brought up many instances that already exemplify that, but one of the coolest "non-cat-like" things she did was to greet us at the door when we came home. She was excited to see us, jovial to be with us.

Even in her final moments, she lifted her head at the sound of my voice, a brighter light shining in her pained eyes because I was there with her. Even in her final moments, she proved to be a best friend, a family member.

It's so hard to not have her in my life. And even though not everyone understands the pain of losing a pet, I hope this short and sweet tribute of my sweet kitty — who was taken far too soon — gives a glimpse into my pain, into the pain anyone who has lost a pet feels. Because we did not just lose an animal — we lost a member of our family; we lost our best friend.

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5 Ways Impulsively Getting A Dog Saved My Mental Health

Those four paws are good for a lot more than just face kisses.

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Shortly before my husband and I officially moved out onto our own, he surprised me with a puppy in hand on the morning of our anniversary. Moving out, tackling college, and everything in between, I thought another huge responsibility was the last thing I needed. However, in reality, Oakley, the lab/Australian shepard/collie mix, was exactly what I needed to get back to "me."


He provides emotional support

One of the most obvious reasons is how much emotional support dogs, (and other respective animals) can provide. His paws have been accidentally stepped on, and he certainly isn't a fan of the forced flea/tick medication doses, but less than 30 seconds later, he is without fail immediately by my side again, tail wagging and ready for more kisses. Although he is not trained or certified as an ESA, it's without a doubt he has effectively (and unconsciously) combated random anxiety attacks or feelings of being alone.

He requires being cared for

You'll heavily judge every crazy fur mama, as did, I until you become one. Getting Oakley immediately got me consistently back on my feet and forced me to ask myself, "What does he need today?"Even simple, easy tasks like taking him out to run/go to the bathroom had me excited and forced me to find a motive in the day to day activities. I loved no longer having even the mere choice to be unproductive. Don't want to start your day? Well, Oakley needs his day started, so let's get moving.

He serves as protection

It's no surprise how far a dog's loyalty will go to protect their owner. For decades, specially trained dogs have had life-saving responsibilities assigned to them. Even being married, my husband and I's schedules vary significantly to where it is not uncommon for me to be alone. The slightest sound or shadow from outside our door immediately initiates barking. In the bathroom taking a shower? He's there. Knowing that Oakley is looking out, even when I get carried away with tasks like cooking dinner, always calms my nerves.

He's become something to look forward to

The nice thing about having Oakley is regardless of how my day goes, I know exactly how it is going to end. Whether I passed an exam with flying colors or got the lowest grade in the class, I know what waits for me when I open the door at home. After a long day, nothing resets my mood like walking into a face that is just as happy and excited to see me!

He encourages bonds with others

If you want your social interaction to sky rocket: get a puppy. No, I'm serious. You'll have people wanting to come over and visit "you" (let's be real… your puppy), like it's your last day on Earth. For me, this was exactly what I needed. Getting Oakley had family members constantly checking in to see how he was growing, learning, etc. Not only did this encourage more interactions with family and friends, but it also "livened" my husband and I's home life. Instead of the "normal" weekend nights consisting of Netflix and MarioKart, (which are enjoyable in their own respective ways), spending our nights playing Monkey in the Middle with our new four-legged friend has proven much more entertaining.

So ideally was it the right time to get a dog? Probably not. However, adding Oakley to my small little family combated anxiety and depression in ways I wouldn't have ever thought possible.

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When You Give A Stray Cat A Home

Most people don't know the difference between a stray cat and a community cat, yet these animals lives depend on it.

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The difference between a stray and a community cat.

Stray cats are people's pets who have become lost or abandoned. These cats are very friendly and comfortable around people. Stray cats are usually completely reliant on humans and haven't been able to adapt to life in the wild. They're the ones that will usually post up in your backyard or garage, hoping you'll feed them or give them some love. Community cats are those that have likely been raised in the wild. They've adapted to living on the streets, tend to keep their distance from humans, and like it this way. Community cats often live in colonies that allow them to live a longer life- especially with the help of a human caretaker. Caretakers provide spay/neutering, shelter, and regular feedings for community cats; allowing them to survive and live a long, happy life.

When you give a stray cat a home, you potentially save a life.

It's a tough world out there. Stray cats face many dangers in the wild like starvation and extreme weather conditions. Most of the kittens born in the wild will die within their kitten-hood due to diseases, parasites, and infection that they've been exposed to in the environment. Even then, if they survive their first few months their lifespan is still only expected to be about two years living on its own. People can be cruel and will set poison traps among other cruel attempts to eliminate the stray and community cats (In MY college town, there was food found on the side of the road where a colony of community cats lived that contained razor blades intended to harm them).

When you give a rescue a home, you give a rescue hope.

While some stray cats learn to adapt to the wild, "community cats" often tolerate human interaction, and in some ways, depend on humans for survival. These animals may be shy and abused by strangers in the past, but give them a chance. Offering help and kindness to a stray or community cat can encourage them to warm up to you, and give them a sense of hope. They have feelings too.

When you give a stray a home, you gain a best-friend

As I said before; a "home" to a stray doesn't even have to be living inside your house; a home to a stray could be your garage, under your porch, or any type of shelter around your house. Remember, these cats are likely to approach you and want affection. When you offer them shelter and food, they will become your best friend. ALL of my animals are rescues. We share a special bond, and they are so thankful and absolutely know who rescued them from the dark. They'll always be by your side and love you no matter what.

When you give a stray a home, you give them love, security, hope, and life.

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