My previous posts have been rather heavy lately. I mean talking about mental illness and grief are not the easiest of subjects. Today I am going to tell you about my cat. Yes, my cat. His name is Hershey ( or
Hershilious, Hershey-Boy, Old Man, and from time to time Momma Cat.) He is an all black american short hair and before I adopted him never thought of myself as a cat person.
He came into my life through one of my best friends, someone I consider my sister. It was a sudden request, as I had come up to see her before we headed up to see her parents. Hershey came along for the ride as it was evident that the cat would have to go from her house. We were hopeful that the cat could stay with her parents. Upon arriving there, we discovered the answer was no. In a painful episode the poor cat ended up in a local animal shelter and we were able to get him out again. I found myself on my drive back to Miami with a mewling, confused cat in my backseat.
It had been years since I had a pet. I also had no clue what to do with a cat. I was not sure how this would work. Hershey had been rather stand offish in the past. It took time for him to warm up to me and his new surroundings. We just did not know what to make of one another.
Now it is almost seven years later and two of us are quite a pair. We both have gotten older. Hershey now has some grey sprinkled throughout his fur coat. His gait is slower and his playfulness is limited to short spurts. He is my constant companion, friend and comforter. He seeks me out and it is not always because the food dish is empty. There is nothing better than waking up to the sound of loud purring or feeling him cuddle up against me.
Hershey has played a huge part in my journey in health. When I was in the losing weight phase, he was my cheerleader ( even if he did not understand what it was I was doing) during my late night workouts. He has taught me about love. He has been witness to some really ugly moments. Times when he himself ran off to hide. In these moments I have have seen first hand how my outbursts can be harmful. Seeing this reflection in my cat helped to change me from being a person who lived in anger to a more loving person.
Hershey taught me about grace. ( Yes, I went there) as he would seek me out later on after an outburst and want to be petted or simply cuddle. It was his way of showing me love. I believe that our pets can teach us so much about love and forgiveness. He has helped me to grow in trusting myself around people. So much of my journey has been learning to love. First to love myself enough to get healthy. Second to not only love those in my community but to also love them well. Being a cat mom to Hershey has helped to open my heart.
Hershey is up there in age, around 20 years old in human years which makes him in his nineties in cat years. At times he looks around confused. He has a slight limp due to arthritis in left back leg. Recently, when I rearranged my furniture and moved his bed, he did not sleep in it for weeks. Choosing instead the comfort of my closet, where he often seeks refuge during a storm.
He can be rather onery too. Mewowing at me if that food dish is just a bit too low or when I come home after being gone for a long time. I love my cat and I am not ashamed to admit it. Even if I am fulfilling the cliché of a single women and the cat she loves too much. But it is alas the truth. What can I say but that I love my cat and he loves me.