By the “Grace” of Cat
Some of Merriam-Webster’s definitions of “Grace” are
● unmerited divine assistance given humans for their regeneration or sanctification
● disposition to or an act or instance of kindness, courtesy, or clemency
● a charming or attractive trait or characteristic
● the quality or state of being considerate or thoughtful
We didn’t name Gracie but, the definitions are undeniably apropos.
Last September, a course of events, which could only be described as God’s hand at work, brought this feline friend into our lives. It was only a few weeks from the time we met her to the time she was settling into her new home. Gracie quickly became my companion and confidant. Little did I know then, how much she really would add to my life.
The most obvious reason, Gracie adds to my life, is she keeps me company. I spend the majority of the day at home alone. Even though she naps most of this time away she’s always nearby. We’ve grown into a comfortable routine that works for us both. It’s almost amusing how it plays out. Every day between 12pm and 1pm, she will get up from wherever she is and come lay in my lap. You can set a clock by this! There she remains until 3pm when school gets out. If I have to get up for something, she’s right beside me, (or in between my legs, tripping me) as I walk around. She designated this as her time and I happily agreed.
It doesn’t even matter if I’m working. She will nudge her head underneath my hand forcing me to pet her and stop typing or navigating with the mouse. She does it in such a loving way that I can’t refuse her. I’m not sure why she started doing this but I’m better for it. It makes me stop whatever I’m doing to pet and talk to her. She forces me to pause and take a mental break.
This mental break does wonders for my overall outlook on life. She forces me to relax and concentrate on her. I forget about my troubles, which in turn, relieves some stress, which subsequently, helps me to stay positive.
She, like most cats, has an uncanny way of knowing exactly what I need. When I’m in bed sick with a C, she’s close enough to pet but she knows to stay away from my lap. When I’m stressed she appears to go out of her way to do something to make me laugh.
When I’m feeling particularly down, she cozies up to me more than usual, without being overbearing. These things alone are reason enough to appreciate her but there are facts to back up the benefits of Gracie.
For centuries, people have been suggesting that owning a pet has many health benefits. The most valuable health benefit to me concerns my high blood pressure. Numerous places, including the CDC, have all agreed that owning a pet can help lower your blood pressure. This explains why I have to constantly monitor my readings and meds. On days that Gracie and I interact more, my blood pressure drops. In my research, I’ve not been able to confirm a specific physiological reason why this is. There are many theories. However, even though one theory can’t be agreed upon doesn’t mean that it’s not a fact. Years of studies and that many people, including myself, can’t all be wrong!
I’ve mentioned a few times the word ‘pet’ instead of ‘cat’. This is because the information was on both dogs and cats. I love dogs. I’ve had 3 as pets in my lifetime and they were all wonderful. When I use to deliver pizzas in college, I was always the one sent to the “mean dog’s” house because I respected and did not fear them. So, I like dogs just fine, thank you. However, I will never own a dog again.
Over the years, my health has gotten worse and I don’t know on a daily basis how I’m going to feel. I can’t physically walk a dog twice a day or play with them like they need. It wouldn’t be fair to a dog. Cats, contrary to popular belief, are undemanding and rather low maintenance. Gracie asks very little from me each day. To be fed and have clean water, a clean litter box, a few 5 minute sessions of playing, and her daily attention in the afternoons. That’s not a whole lot of energy required of me, comparatively speaking. Energy levels are evidently something that Gracie and I have in common. I have to limit myself with activities as to not wear myself out. Gracie also chooses to do everything in moderation (eat, play, whatever). She has been like this since she joined our family so I know it’s not my influence. The only reason I’ve been able to come up with is it’s her personality. It goes without saying but, God definitely knew what He was doing. She suits me so well!
I’ve noticed while connecting with the Crohnie community that many people own cats. Either being aware of it consciously or subconsciously, everyone I’ve spoke to agrees that their cat(s) give them the same benefits my cat does me.
Gracie demands so little and yet gives me so much in return. She’s the best listener I know and yet we still can enjoy comfortable silences. She reduces my stress and anxiety, as well as lowers my blood pressure. She makes me laugh both intentionally and inadvertently. Moreover, she gives me unconditional love and companionship.
Gracie indeed was sent to me by the grace of God!
**Listening to 30 Seconds to Mars and Slash**