How My Cat Saved My Life
Happy World Mental Health Day! It seems only fitting to have a little chat about one of the key pieces to getting my mental health on track. It is no secret that post-grad depression found its way into my life and sapped the joy straight out of me. Today, I thought I'd lighten up the previous days post with some cat-chat and an onslaught of cat pics. These past few days, Luna has been cuddling up to me loads and as my winter anxiety starts to rear its ugly head, it's almost like she knows I'm in need of them. After months of feeling like absolute shit, going back to therapy and reading as many self-help books as I could find, George and I decided that to help combat the loneliness and hopefully add some structure to my day, it was time to adopt our very first furry pal - Luna!
my life-saving little miss
She’s our lil’ miss and her presence in my day has massively helped lift that dark cloud. Since pet ownership is no easy feat and there is a lot to think about when adopting a new forever friend, I really had to get my shit together so that I could make sure Luna’s life was the best it could possibly be. I didn’t want to half ass anything or be a shitty pet owner and as a result of putting in so much effort for her, I’ve inadvertently put in effort for me. There’s a few key things that owning a pet has help me do and looking out for Luna has 100% been the cat-alyst (haha) for a better and more productive me! So, as dramatic as it sounds, let’s get stuck into how lil’ Luna has inadvertently saved my life and helped me get my shit together.
I wake up for her
GONE are the days of lying in bed until noon because the unemployment life is depressing and disheartening. Luna has to be fed at 9am so that means I’m up at 9am ready to feed her and play with her and start my day at a regular person’s time. My days now start with meows for food, soft pets, and coffee rather than reddit and lying in bed.
I eat a proper breakfast
Well now that my days start at 9am and Luna’s having breakfast it only seems right that I have breakfast too. Practice what you preach right? When I grab her kibble, I now grab fruit or yoghurt or bread or whatever else we’ve started purchasing because our days have started earlier!
Our house is tidier than ever before
One of the major pitfalls of depression is that everything around you crumbles with you. Living with George means it never gets too bad, but before Luna the mess in our flat was always getting to the tipping point before we did anything about it. Now that she’s around, I don’t want her getting her little nose into left-out coffee cups, overly full bins, or anything else that could be hazardous to her. I make sure the tables don’t have anything she can easily knock over and that there’s nothing around that she can hurt herself on. As for the kitchen, we make sure that dishes aren’t piled up high or precariously balanced when drying, she’s a shy cat but gets super active at night and if she ever sneaks into the kitchen we don’t want her smashing a plate or herself. So we just make sure it’s all tidy. She’s generally a really good cat, so we’re not living in a showroom of a flat, but the major issues that normally pile up are no longer!
I drink more water! When I go to fill up her water bowl, I fill up my water bottle in the process. I don’t want her to ever be dehydrated and as a result of that I’m drinking more water too. Thanks, Luna.
I feel less alone
Since having her around, Luna has made my lonely days of unemployment a little less miserable. She may not say anything and she sleeps most of the day, but the energy of having something else just wandering around and going about their day makes the house feel alive in the only way a pet can.
The common thread with most of these small things is that having to think about what’s best for Luna, makes me think about what will also be best for me. When sorting out pet insurance, it lead me down a hole to make sure I have all my banking and finances in tip top shape to make sure I never miss a payment for her. When I play with her to get her to exercise and move around, I push myself to actually head to the gym and exercise.
Pet ownership in your darkest times will definitely not cure you of whatever it is you’re going through because all of that has to come from you first, but in my case, the will for Luna to have the best life she can in our little flat pushed me over the edge into looking after myself too. It’s also getting harder to tell myself that I don’t need a shower today when Luna grooms herself at least 3 times a day. Anyway! The point is - adopting Luna really helped me get my shit together and it totally feels like she’s saved my life.
Until next time,