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Post and purrs. Thursday December 12, 2013

Somewhere around this time last year I started slipping, headlong, through the cracks and into a black hole. (The cracks were bigger than they ought to have been because I'd neglected the warning signs: "Depression Ahead!" and so failed to make the necessary diversion.) Anxiety gripped one arm, sadness the other and it took many months (further counseling and a rise in the dosage of my medication), to struggle free from their tight grip.

On one particularly bad day I sat in a Hotel near the beach, staring into a cup of earl grey tea and wondering if I'd see colour again. Suddenly, in strolled Oscar. Now I'd met Oscar several times previous but still, I was enchanted and privileged when he launched himself upon my lap, curled up and took a nap. I like to think that Oscar has a Sadness Sensory System.

Oscar, the rotund, affectionate cat lives in a house near the hotel. He has managed to manipulate the workings of electronic doors and slips into the lounge/bar whenever he can - hoping for a scrap of bacon or juicy steak from a lunchtime sandwich. I had nothing to offer him (earl grey with lemon slices was not to his taste) but he stayed with me for over an hour. I stroked his thick black fur and whispered my woes into his ear, his throaty purrs letting me know he was listening to every word.

Oscar wore a regal collar with his address engraved on a silver disc. I made a note of the address and shortly after, posted him a thank you note for condescending to my needs and feelings that day.

A few weeks passed, and the free, local paper plopped through the letter box. 'Paper bin or perusal? Paper bin or perusal?' I opted for perusal. And was I glad I did! There on the second page, sat Oscar, posing proudly with his servant - a lady named Margaret - and the card I'd sent held between his paws.

Margaret (as Oscar's secretary) had written into the local paper expressing joy at receiving the card, with further tales of Oscar's warm personality and how he often provides "therapy sessions" at the hotel. (And there was me thinking I was the special gal in his life!)

Two little lessons:

1) Never forget the impact that a 'snail mail' can have. It's touching to receive a personal card in the post, "just because". It shows someone has thought of us and has taken the time and effort to translate that thought into action. If animals appreciate it I know fellow humans will!

2) The therapeutic effect of animals - as most of us know - is a tremendous gift. There are times when we may feel so misunderstood or sad in life that we feel desperately alone or worse, unlovable. Yet the love of an animal is such that they'll love you whether sad or happy. Never miss an opportunity to give a little affection and respect to an animal. They will give you oh so much more in return.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment on our Blogspot:

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Anonymous Thu, Dec 12th 2013 @ 9:41am

What a great story about that cat!
I used to think that stuff like this was soppy until I was asked to look after someone's horse for a few weeks (turned out to be a few years, in the end!). I was quite bad-tempered about having to do it as I was not a particularly enthusiastic rider, nor was I that interested in horses in the way some people are. But there was no alternative for the owner so I let her train me up to do the feed, muck out, pick out hooves, groom, and take him up to his paddock in the morning and back in the evening. I also had to make big decisions about whether to put a blanket on him or not! Added to that the horse, Murphy, was ill. He'd caught a horrible virus and cough from a previous livery yard and, actually, he looked ready for the knackers. Getting him up the hill to the paddock every morning, especially in the winter, was flippin' hard work as I practically had to drag him out to the fresh air - which he needed.
I began to understand why people devote their lives to horses - far too many instances of their uncannily highly developed intelligence to list here - but, and this is where I feel slightly embarrassed, Murphy and I became very good friends! He learned to recognise the sound of my car and was always leaning out of his box as I walked into the yard. He would whinny 'Hello' when he saw me and give me a friendly nuzzle when I went into his stable. He also dipped his head to let me put the head collar on and seemed to understand that I hadn't a clue what I was doing.
Looking after him coincided with a not particularly joyous time in my life but having to get to the yard by 8.00am to sort him out, because there was no one else to do it got me out into the fields and the air, the autumn mists, winter frosts and, eventually, the bright Spring mornings. Me and Murphy saw deer, and foxes and lots of birds that you never see otherwise. It might have been my imagination but I think we developed a mutual understanding - he knew I was in a slough of despond and needed cheering up and I knew he depended on me to take care of him and prove to the rest of the owners in the yard that he was not yet destined for the glue factory. Eventually he got better - and so did I.
What's the point of all the above ? I now believe there is something mystical about horses and that being in close contact with these animals can draw something out of you that has a healing quality: in my case self-healing and healing for the animal. Hope this doesn't sound too ridiculous.
I also have a cat - but won't elaborate as you will be tired of reading by now. Needless to say that the same things apply but the cat goes about it in a different way ...
Animals are more finely tuned to human emotion than we realise.

Anonymous Thu, Dec 12th 2013 @ 9:45am

What a beautifuily touching post, thank you. I so resonated with it. Ironically, a special cat called Oscar came into my life (as they do, as if sent on a special mission) at a time when my own dear cat Angie was dying on cancer. He was a silver makrel spotted tabby, so big and bouncy and full of energy and was confident enough to lie down to be admired and stroked. I happily obliged and fed him in return of my appreciation. I did also knock on his owners door to express my grattitude too. When i'm well, i'm an optimist, open and loving and generous with life, so I've always found the cat of concious grattitude to be very powerful in raising my spirits whatever mood i am in.
Months went by, my darling Angie (a tiny and stunning Burmese with a huge personality) passed away at the right time - with great courage on my part and the deepest sadness i have known. A period of darkness followed, the black dog was my regular univited visitor, life threw a few more curve balls and i moved home.

18 months later, feeling more settled and peaceful, i decided to adopt a cat like Oscar, a sweet girl named Rosie. We are best friends. That was some months ago and whilst i knew of her magical healing powers, it wasn't until reading this post that I realised it has probably been about the same amount of time i have felt relatively well and no longer with 'black dog'.

What an incredidble blessing a cat (or proper (not black) dog) can be. I am so grateful. and that is a good and important place for me to be.

When i can, i do/give something with the animal charities to help those less fortunate than Rosie. There are many who need our help and i find that helps me feel good too.

December 12, 2013 9:42 am

Anonymous Thu, Dec 12th 2013 @ 10:12am

I loved reading this and have shared with friends. Wonderfully written and so touching - because everyone feels that way sometimes.

Anonymous Thu, Dec 12th 2013 @ 10:54am

Here's a wonderful use of an animal to explain depression

From an admirer of Moodscope

Veronika Opocenska Thu, Dec 12th 2013 @ 11:27am

Lovely, thank you so much. I reminded me of something similar that happened to me years ago - I had a lovely cat I took from the sanctuary. One day I learned some news I didn´t know how to deal with, it was a mixture of shock, sadness, relief together and I just simply cried. I had to lie down, shaking and crying, then suddenly my cat came to me, lay down right on my heart, stucked his nose into my ear and started to purr. And we lay there just like that for several hours, he never moved and kept purring, until I calmed down. They know...

Anonymous Thu, Dec 12th 2013 @ 11:31am

It has been 3 years since I had any pets, I went from 4 cats and 3 dogs to nothing due to a change in circumstances. They all had their own characters and their own way of letting me know that I was who they enjoyed being with and when i was unwell their presence,unconditional warmth and affection centered me and assisted me in my recovery. The fact that I had to walk the dogs meant I had to go out and face the world and their presence made me feel safe. In the future I will again enjoy the presence of these wonderful creatures in my home who put a smile on my face and in my heart.

irakezzzz Thu, Dec 12th 2013 @ 1:22pm

Yesterday I've lost my cat and today she still isn't at home. I think she's dead by now, because neighbor's dog broke chain last night and was running freely and she is very cruel (she killed my another cat 7 years ago). I don't know what to do. I only can feel huge hole in my chest and I just can't do anything. I've been looking for her all last night and all day and I can't even find a body. My other cat can feel my emotional pain and he is sitting right now on my lap and purring. He is the only reason I can think clear.

Anonymous Thu, Dec 12th 2013 @ 3:23pm

Yes - thanks for this!
The animals, particularly cats, can be wonderful comforters.
Even if one that you have regularly stroked leaves if you take a different route locally you will find another one.
So for me, the tortoiseshell has gone - but I discovered a ginger moggie down the road this morning.
Keep up the insights Moodscope!

Mary Thu, Dec 12th 2013 @ 5:24pm

Beautiful, beautiful post. Thanks so much Suzy. My two cats provide "cat therapy" to any of my clients who need it. They absolutely provide cat therapy to me too.

Suzy Thu, Dec 12th 2013 @ 5:36pm

Thank you oodles to the two anons above for sharing such touching stories. What a privilege to become "very good friends" with a creature as wise as a horse! Wouldn't that make a great book? Your reluctance and Murphy's poorliness... that's the ingredients of a great story, book, film...! ;o)

And thank you too to the cat lover above. Most of the cats I've ever "owned" (although obviously the world belongs to cats, they just let us own them for show) have found me - just like you say - as if assigned a special mission. They may need a home but they know we need them far more. Beautiful. ;o) cat kissey's to Rosie xx

Anonymous Thu, Dec 12th 2013 @ 5:44pm

I really hope your cat comes back to you - it does happen! Keep us informed, won't you?

Suzy Thu, Dec 12th 2013 @ 5:46pm

Dear Irakezzzz, I feel so distraught reading this. I know well the distress of waiting for a much loved kitty to return. They are savvy beings these cats ('in ancient Egypt cats were worshiped. They have never forgotten this!'), as I'm sure you well know so don't give up hope. It's been said that if a cat has been startled they will hide out, sometimes for lengthy periods, even within calling distance. So I think you may be pleasantly surprised when she comes home, tail high, all happy, like nothing has happened.
My thoughts are with you. Please let us know how things go.

Suzy Thu, Dec 12th 2013 @ 5:55pm

They DO know don't they? Such a moving tale Veronika. Thank you!
Emily Bronte said: "I can say with sincerity that I like cats...A cat is an animal which has more human feelings than almost any other."
And Sir Walter Scott - "Cats are a mysterious kind of folk. There is more passing in their minds than we are aware of."

Suzy Thu, Dec 12th 2013 @ 6:12pm

Such touching words anon. You must have felt such grief for your feline and canine friends. They really are a constant source of distraction and comfort aren't they? I have a friend who can't have cats or animals at the moment but she sometimes goes to the local cat sanctuary to have a "top up of feline affection". She also never lets a dog pass without giving it some kind of friendly acknowledgment. They adore her. I bet you must be the same. I hope your heart smiles again soonly with the presence of lovely creatures. You may enjoy in the meantime. ;o)

Hearty greetings

Suzy Thu, Dec 12th 2013 @ 6:17pm

Hey thanks for this...this is also a book isn't it? But I liked the video form very much. I'm so glad you have introduced us to, I found some fascinating stuff on there! Thank you very much.

Caroline Ashcroft Thu, Dec 12th 2013 @ 8:42pm

Hopefully to give you some comfort, my niece's cat went missing for three days and suddenly reappeared as if nothing had happened. She put a bowl of his favourite food outside the back door. I really hope she comes home soon.

Suzy Fri, Dec 13th 2013 @ 2:57pm

Is there any word on your cat?? I so much hope so. :0(

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