When I first bought my rescue cat, Portia, I thought I was doing a good thing. I saved her from death row, and I loved the idea of giving her a forever home. All the warm fuzzies.
I had no idea she would save me.
Portia was my companion in singledom.
Portia was my companion in singledom. She was affectionate (others might say ‘clingy’) and constantly kept me company. OK, sometimes I wanted a little space to myself. But it sure was nice to have her there when I felt lonely.
Which happened frequently.
I’ve lost count of the number of days I would stagger home from work, come in the front door, and collapse in a sobbing mess of exhaustion and loneliness. How am I going to face the long evening alone, I would wonder?
And she would be there, running to greet me. It was such a relief to see her lovely face every night, knowing I did not have to be alone, knowing someone cared I was home. She would sit beside me while I ate dinner, watching attentively, pouncing as soon as my lap became available. She would curl up on me, warm and content, purring for hours. And I would let her.
We needed each other.
When I met my husband, we became a family of three. We hoped to grow but it was not to be. Facing the difficult prospect of lifelong childlessness, Portia once again came to the rescue. She readily filled the gap left by childlessness, keeping us company, having lengthy conversations with us, playing with us and generally keeping us on our toes.
Facing lifelong childlessness, Portia once again came to the rescue.
As she got older, our daily routines expanded to include medicine dispensing and regular cleaning up after her. It really was a bit like having a child around the place. (I know a furbaby is no substitute for a child. But she filled the hole in our lives in quite a magical way.)
Portia helped me with chronic illness. She had that uncanny animalistic ability to sense when something was wrong, physically or emotionally. She would jump up, look intently at me, give me snuffly kisses, curl up on my lap and sleep for hours. It was such a comforting presence to have at a time when I needed it most.
She had that uncanny animalistic ability to sense when something was wrong.
Then it was her turn. She got sick and I gave her endless cuddles, medicines and treats to eat. I lavished her with affection, telling her how loved she was. When it was time, she slipped peacefully away, purring to the last. I looked after her well. I gave her a happy forever home.
And she did something for me in return. She filled a need in my life just when I needed her. She saved me in singledom, childlessness and chronic illness. In looking after her, she had looked after me in ways I could not have anticipated.
I thought I was rescuing her. I never expected it would be she who rescued me.
Do you have a furbaby? How do they help you survive singledom, childlessness or chronic illness? How else does your furbaby come to the rescue? Share your story. Let’s have a countercultural conversation.