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Norwich Bulletin - 1/30/2005

To Fulfill A Need

Lately there have been scientific studies to show that it is totally natural to love and care for animals. Scientists actually spent money to figure out that people have a natural attraction to animals and a need to nurture. We women could have saved them lots of money and told them all about that natural attraction - its called mother's love.

For many of us who have children that are grown and gone, or young women who have not yet had children, there is a need in us to care for the helpless. Cats are our children and we treat them as such. We feed them, clean their litter boxes, play with them, let them sleep next to us and spend time brushing, bathing, and spoiling them even more than we did our human children!

We talk to our cats and tell them how much we love and trust them and how they are our best friends. And I do not mean to make this a totally feminine phenomenon. Many men, who have allowed their nurturing side to evolve, also pamper and respond to their cats in the same manner.

There are also studies showing that we talk to our cats in the same soft, sweet voice that parents use to talk to their children. Facial expressions are also similar, especially with kittens. Kittens have such a need to be mothered and cared for, that it is easy for us to respond to that need.

Besides making us better humans, caring and loving our pets help us lead healthier and happier lives in general. There are studies that show when humans interact with their pets, they are more relaxed, and the stress from a hard day at work tends to leave their bodies, allowing that contentment to soothe their inner soul.

Without that outlet, the stress can stay pent up inside and lead to medical conditions. I think this is especially true for people who live alone. When you are depressed or sad, your cat can sense your mood, and will help you get over that feeling. Have you ever been on the verge of tears, and you cat jumps on your lap and starts purring and rubbing up against you? Its because cats are quite psychic little creatures and just know when you need a helping paw.

Studies also show that people with serious illness that have pets depending on them tend to live longer lives than those who do not. When someone is sick and alone, it is easier to succumb to the loneliness and depression that goes hand in hand with the illness. Those who have pets to comfort them, may actually find themselves more at peace with their sickness and develop a positive will to continue to live on.

When people call me and tell me they have a serious illness and need to place their cat, I try to convince them not to do that, but instead, make arrangements for their pet should they succumb to that illness. There is one wonderful woman who was told she had about six months to live and she asked Helping Paws to find a home for her three cats.

After speaking with her at length, I agreed to help place the six month old kitten, but also convinced her to keep her two older cats. I told her that she could call me when she felt her end was near. That was almost two years ago, and while her oldest cat has passed on, she is still going strong and taking care of her one remaining cat. She swears that I was right and knowing she has to take care of her fur babies has kept her alive. I just think cats and miracles go together.

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