National Cat Day – Our Caring Companions
We like cats and always have. It’s nice to adopt a pet cat or buy a cat for a pet. Most of ours have just shown up at the door over the years, and they keep coming. Today is National Cat Day; we would like to acknowledge that, in their feline ways, cats provide some comfort, company, entertainment and a sense of purpose to many who are patients or caregivers.
Take cat naps for example. Cats sleep often and for long periods. I recall that my mother usually had a cat sleeping on her bed. Her home health care nurse even wrote down in her official visit notes that Rachel, the black cat, and Tommie, the black and white cat, were often present when she visited my mother for her check-up. Even our most stand-offish cat got into the habit of taking a nap on my mother-in-law’s bed where they shared a nap.
Cats keep you interested and active, because they make you participate in their lives. That’s why we honor them with National Cat Day.
My mother regularly checked on the cats’ food bowls and water bowls herself. The cats would speak up and let her know if she was late at their food bowls. Having a pet gives a homebound senior a reason to get up and get active in order to feed them, or put them outside, or groom them.
Our cats were the topic of many stories, anecdotes, and jokes, which my mother could share with visitors and caregivers who shared her love of cats. Playing with a cat is something that can be done while seated, in bed, indoors or outdoors, anywhere. A string, a ball, or a shadow is chance to play for a cat, and a chance for entertainment and smiles for everyone who watches.
Studies show that pets help seniors overcome loneliness and depression by providing affection, company, and a sense of responsibility and purpose. The unconditional love shown by a pet wins the hearts of many seniors, regardless of their health conditions or mental state. The companionship of a cat that purrs, and kneads the covers, and sits on your lap is just relaxing and comforting.
Studies show that seniors who own pets have lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels than non-owners. Other studies suggest that pet owners have a better chance for long-term survival after surviving a coronary event than those who don’t have a pet.
A cat becomes a family member. My mother had a framed collage of photos of all of our pets, one dog and five cats, in her bedroom. The photos were taken by a grandson and framed as a Christmas gift one year. She kept their photos close where she could see them all the time.
Cats bring us smiles, and comfort, and entertainment, and a reason to keep going, plus they are always willing to nap.
So, here’s to cats on National Cat Day. They are caregivers too.