When 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.
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.
We have two cats. Tessa, a lively and feisty three-year old black-and-white female and Tom, a typical relaxed and chilled ginger Tom cat . Tom came with two speeds, slow and stop and never breaks into so much as a trot until “foodie” time. Tom now weighs nearly 7kgs so is a “big” cat and our vet did warn us that ginger toms are prone to relaxing a little too much and gaining weight so we try to kick him out of the house (not literally) as much as possible so that he gets some exercise.
Having been ousted from his pad however, Tom will usually stroll out of the kitchen door and straight into the garage where he has his comfy seat on some of the outdoor furniture stored in the dry whilst this incessant rain continues. “You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink” comes to mind.
Tom doesn’t roam far preferring surroundings that he knows and loves. Our garden is full of little trees and plants under which he can hide undetected and, with his selective hearing, ignore calls for him to come inside.
One thing Tom does adore, is catmint. I have grown some plants from seed and they are now big enough to plant out but I have a problem. Tom doesn’t just paw the leaves and roll in the bushes he eats them. I understand that sniffing the leaves gives cats a “high”, and may also be hallucinogenic (like LSD) whilst eating the leaves induces sleep. I may have found the reason he spends half his life asleep but I suspect that our neighbours have no catmint left!
My dilemma now is, where do I put the plants so that they can grow into big bushes?
Sound idea, but I need to be a bit more imaginative with the placement………..