We have a pussy cat. She is 16 years old. A very special cat. She is as old as our house but I waited a long, long time for her. Since I was a teen, actually! I had brought one too many stray cats home before my mother announced to me that I would have to wait till I had my own home and I could fill it with cats. I longed for that! But I went and married someone allergic to cats! Fancy that!!
Mike’s allergies weren’t pretty to witness. We couldn’t even visit friends with cats, his eyes would become puffy and water, his chest would close and his breathing wheezy. Not pleasant.
So I endured this cat-astrophic situation until I could endure it no more. Mike was diagnosed with a brain tumour and they had to operate. Before the op, I declared : “I have waited 13 years without a cat, Sooooo…either we get ourselves a cat, OR we have another baby!”
Mike paled visibly and said, “Okay, I’ll go with the cat option. BUT, it can’t be allowed in our bedroom.” I immediately agreed to those terms. Us women can be wily like that.
Sweet! We picked out our kitty a week later (she was the most playful, curious and feisty of the litter, even if not perhaps the prettiest. We brought her home and our kids were ecstatic beyond words. We all three played with her with gay abandon (nothing like a kitten to bring out the inner child in all of us) while Mike watched on with trepidation from the other side of the room.
After his brain tumour operation, we set up a “room” in the living room so that we could keep an eye on Mike and he could feel like he wasn’t alone upstairs. Our kitten took to curling up at the top of his head. Removing her constantly to distance Mike from his allergen, we then realised that she was giving him Purr Therapy. It’s a recognised thing. The vibrations of a cat purr denotes contentment.
Research has found “Purrs at a frequency of 25-100Hz correspond with established healing frequencies in therapeutic medicine for humans,” veterinarian Gary Weitzman says. “Bone responds to 25-50Hz and skin and soft tissues to around 100Hz according to researchers.”
So was our little kitty healing Mike? We like to think so.
Over the last 16 years, Mike’s allergic reactions lessened to the extent that he can pick her up and cuddle her, as long as he washes his hands afterwards. He is a Big Fan of her cuddles now, and has been known to have come home and call out: “Hello Darling!” The first time I answered back, he said; “Hi Jizz!” We laughed when we realised he had unwittingly called our cat the ultimate term of endearment. I was just the wife, the cat was his Darling!! She is part of the fabric that makes up our family.
Our cat’s name is rather long. Trying to include the whole family’s name suggestions, we strung them all together. We had recently come back from a 3 month stint in India. So her name reflects that. Shanti Shakti Shiva Punjabi Kamikaze Green. We call her Shanti for short and don’t expect visitors to address her by her full name either.
The thing with Shanti is that she is incredibly un-cat-like, in that she LOVES and indeed, craves human company! So from early on, we learnt that we couldn’t put her in a pet motel when we went on holiday. The owner of the establishment said they were really worried about her as she wouldn’t eat, cried constantly and lost a huge amount of weight and fur in the 2 weeks we were away. So, for the past 15 years, we have had to organise pet sitters to come and look after Madame Shanti. Her sitters always tell us she stuck to them like chewing gum!
Our cat Shanti makes us laugh, she is still so playful for a grand old lady (apparently she’s the equivalent to an 80yr old human dame!). She loves cosy nooks to curl up in and in the past I have started the drier up, hearing a clunk, tinkle, clunk! before realising it was the cat who had snuck into the warm drier without me noticing! She emerged a little dizzy and wobbly, but I have learned to check the inside first before closing the drier and setting it on start!
So why a blog about a cat? Well I decided to pay homage to Shanti while she still lives (apparently 16 is old for a cat) and acknowledge that we live our lives with these little beings who make our lives richer for the connection. She is our constant companion when we are at home. She follows me out into the garden and is never far from a weeding patch or seed sowing or garden maintenance project. She talks to us constantly and I so wish I could speak Cat-onese. Maybe one day there will be an app invented for the task. That would be nice.