The healing power of a pet
I have always been a cat person. As a kid my biggest wish was to have a cat. I asked Santa Claus for it a few times, but at most got a plushy cat. Then, at 8 years old, we found an abandoned kitten while on a weekend trip at my father’s friend’s place. We took it home. Later another cat joined. Unfortunately, this second cat died at only 7 years old. The other one lived up to 17. By the time he died, I had already left the house and was living in Spain. I knew that at some point I wanted to have another cat.
9 years ago, in September 2009, after 1.5 years of living in Brussels, I finally took the decision to adopt one. In spite of all the good reasons why this did not seem like a good idea (I was working all day. I lived in an apartment. I traveled from time to time…), I went to the animal shelter with my mum, just to have a look… I had figured that the “perfect” cat for me to adopt would be already about 2 years old, redish and male. However, there was no such cat to be found at the shelter… Instead, a tiny, female, grey-white tiger kitten walked up to me and before I knew it I was holding this purring little something in my arms. She seemed to be very comfortable and did not make any attempt to leave that place again, while I was still in my head, fighting with myself (“but she is not red and she is so young…”) and secretly afraid of the fleas I knew she (they all) had. Luckily, I was soon able to drop all those limiting details – and with it my inner conflict – and to just accept gratefully what Life had offered me (and what turned out to be the perfect match later – much better than I could have ever “planned”). Oxytocin made sure that I could finally open up to the love and joy that my heart had felt from the beginning connecting with her. The rest is history. Not even once have I regretted the decision to take her home. From the beginning we had a very intense connection. In fact, I often felt like I found my soulmate in her.
I believe she played a very big role in my healing process, because she helped me to slow down and allowed me to both give love and to receive it. Having her on my knees forced me to sit still for once and to do nothing else but be with her and caress her. Hearing her purring and feeling her soft fur on my skin had a very relaxing effect on me and connected me to my sensuality. I could feel my heart open and love poor out of it. Seeing her enjoying my company and care so much made me extremely happy. I felt connected, needed and loved unconditionally. This was a very powerful, transformative, new experience for me. At 27 I had not really had any serious romantic relationship yet. My parents, while I knew they loved me, had not been able to provide me with a feeling of emotional stability. During my school and study years I had often felt excluded and lonely. The feeling that somehow I was not “enough” was deeply engrained and at the root of my eating disorder, struggles with my Feminine and strong ambition to perform.
Through her presence in my life I slowly started to change. And as I changed, she changed, too. When I adopted her, she was a skinny, hyper-active and very anxious princess. Over time (and not only due to age), she transformed into a well-nourished, serene and very trusting queen. Just like I had become fuller, calmer and more grounded, too. I firmly believe that by connecting to the energy of love through her, I was able to finally attract a loving partner into my life, too. Because we can only attract what we have inside.
If you too are in need of slowing down, are missing the feelings of usefulness, connection and unconditional love in your life, AND are in a state to take on all the responsibilities that come with caring for another living being, consider adopting a pet.
Besides all the advantages mentioned above, taking care of a pet is also a great preparation for having a baby (although you can of course not compare the two): my cat often woke me up at night (until I moved to a place with a garden and she had to spend the nights outside) and she starts to do stupid things (like flushing the toilet) when she wants to play, to eat or to simply claim attention. So if you want to attract more of this mothering, “taking-care” energy in your life, you might want to consider starting to cultivate it with a pet ;).