Pets and depression

021When I saw my GP last week, we had a good chat about my lifestyle, support network and outlook on life all of which took 45 minutes of precious patient time. I’m sure that was a lot more than my allotted portion but we both felt it necessary and I am grateful for her support.

One of her questions took me a bit by surprise.

“Do you have any pets?”

Perhaps it was because I had explained that we don’t have much of a family support network living close by with my husband’s family in Iran, and my sister living 3 hours across the country or perhaps she sensed that I commune much easier with our four-legged friends when in a depression.

It is well-known that pets can help people recover from depression, and certainly my big, 7-kilo ginger tom-cat, Tom, has not left my bedside all week. He has followed me round and slept at my feet night and day clearly sensing my distress and fatigue. I know that he knows. How? I just know. He is amazing and I love his constant attention which is never imposing but always obvious; always attentive but somehow remote enough not to threaten; undemanding and unconditional. A true friend and companion. He understands my need for a friend and is sensitive enough to appreciate when I need to be alone.

I can even forgive the vast amount of cat hair that he sheds on the bed covers as he is so gorgeous.

As a treat today, I bought Tom a cat-mint (Nepeta) plant. It is the dried leaves of this plant which makes cat-nip so attractive to cats in toys. Tom adores it! He goes mad for cat-nip spray and he loves the real plant even more.

Last year I wrote a post about the Nepeta plants I grew for him.

This year, I haven’t sown any seeds yet but as a reward for looking after his mummy this past week, he gets a plant ready to put in the garden. I’m not sure how long it will last but he deserves his treat.

Tom and Nepeta

Thank you Tom!

Tom and catmint

Tom and catmint

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4 thoughts on “Pets and depression

  1. Four legged furry friends are truly amazing. So glad you have Tom & that he ‘gets it’. My spaniels presently curled up on my feet because they ‘get it’ too. Well done Tom for looking after you.

  2. My dog hovered close when I was feeling the worse. Like you said, our furry friends make a wonderful difference.

    • Aw, dogs are so sensitive and truly man’s best friend. I love dogs but as we are both out all day we can’t have a dog at the moment but our two pussy cats are adorable. I love animals and I am still hoping that a hedgehog might have hibernated in our woodpile over the winter but no sign of one yet.

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