Pets & Mental Health, A Love Story : He Kneeds Me, I Need Him.
Written by Thania Kirron
I am writing this article the day before I adopt another kitten to accompany my 1 and half year old fur baby. The preparation that goes into planning on bringing another kitten into the home is dressed in excitement and worry.
Will Mishti (my current cat) accept him? Will I have the same experience bonding with this new kitten as I previously did with him? I can’t leave the house for the next 3 days because I need to teach them to get along!
The responsibility that comes from having a cat has never felt like a chore. Whether he is waking me up at 5 in the morning by miawing in my face for attention, or me having to clean up his sick, the contentment comes from being responsible for taking care of another being.
I moved to Berlin nearly 2 years ago. I didn’t know anyone here. No family nor friends, so to be gifted a kitten just a few months later on my birthday was truly an addition to kinship I needed.
Joy was found from coming home and having Mishti running to the door to greet me. Joy was found from going shopping and always prioritising things he needed on the shopping list. Joy was found from not coming home to an empty flat, which helped to combat loneliness in a new country.
Having, and being, responsible for a cat has helped me in countless ways.
The comfort he has brought me through having a sense of structure and companionship is unmatched.
Often, my anxiety would be kicked into overdrive during the day, but I knew I would be coming home to a source of reassurance, and his presence is truly a source of comfort.
In a society that prides itself on individualism, I will admit that it’s nice to be needed.
While my own thoughts can be intrusive and sometimes seem like they will ruin my day, I am always reminded of the bright side in knowing I will come home to someone that is looking forward to seeing me as much as I am to seeing them.
This has made me admit unashamedly that it’s nice to be needed. It’s an amazing feeling to know another creature is dependent on you. It’s an amazing feeling to know when life feels too tough that it has meaning because
you have responsibility over another creature. A sense of achievement, value and security comes from this.
When thinking you’re not doing enough for yourself, it is so motivating to have a few moments to forget all the troubles briefly to focus on another; a period of time to solely focus on another’s needs and not be consumed by my own overthinking.
I always used to make fun of people who I deemed as “crazy cat people”, but it seems that I have become the source of my own jokes.
I created a brainstorm of ideas before writing this article and they included terms I would laugh at before being in the position I am now. All I can say is that in a world where it is deemed cool to be individualistic, I will happily take my crazy cat lady status because of the benefits it brings – or rather, that he brings.
He is my motivator, my calming effect, my daily purpose, my sense of achievement. He brings me companionship, a sense of security, a shared routine, meaning, self-worth – and most importantly, unconditional love.