Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Do cats help with anxiety and depression?

You may or may not know that September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. Mom has a blog about Suicide Prevention. While she doesn't want to busy up my blog about the topic, she did want to explore one question here since it is Suicide Prevention Month. The question is: Do cats help with anxiety and depression?  Why would mom ask that question? You might be surprised how many people struggle with anxiety or depression or both. I bet you know someone who has at one time struggled or may be struggling now with anxiety or depression....

Mom has struggled a bit with depression since our fires in 2012. She's not alone. Millions of Americans suffer from anxiety disorders or depression and sometimes both. Mom started seeing a therapist a few years ago and still sees her regularly. Her therapist says she has "situational depression" caused by the fires. Mom still occasionally has nightmares about fire. While they are few and far in between now, they are still scary when she has them. I used to cuddle with mom at night. Now that I am gone to the Rainbow Bridge I am not there to cuddle and comfort mom when she is feeling down or experiences a nightmare. That brings me to the question.... do cats help relieve depression and anxiety in their humans? Yes! At least I think we do and here's why:

Pets offer unconditional love and acceptance. We cats can help our humans by providing our unconditional love. We love our humans dearly and they love us back. It's a wonderful, uncomplicated love that we look forward to every time our human comes home and that we miss when they are away. Kitty love is purrfect to cure our humans of pain.

Pets offer a soothing presence. Research has shown that pet parents have significantly lower blood pressure and muscle tension than humans that don't have cats or dogs at home.

Pets provide a sense of responsibility. This can be a negative as sometimes just getting out of bed can seem like a chore for someone struggling with depression. However, feeling responsible for something (like the happiness/wellbeing of a furkid) will give your human purpose, which really helps in times of struggle.

Pets provide a distraction. Pets, whether us cats or those annoying doggies, are like riveting movies and books. We take humans out of their heads and into another reality for a few minutes or more - one that involves food, water, afffection, and maybe a head butt or 2 - for as long as we allow. Distraction is an effective therapy for your human. How can they feel bad or sad when you are head butting them or purring in their lap? Us pets trigger "feel good" hormones for our humans which helps them feel less stressed and happier than if we weren't there for them. Depression can sometimes cause humans to feel isolated. We help keep them from completely isolating by being there for them when maybe other humans aren't there to help.

Pets alter human behavior. Imagine this scenario: Our human walks through the door after a long day at work. A million little snafus happened throughout the day that we don't know about but has our human dangerously close to wanting to take it out on someone. We come running to the door and get tangled up in our humans legs, nearly causing her to fall. She kneels to pet us and a smile spreads across her face. Viola! We have altered our humans behavior. Now of course she doesn't know it's because we are hungry and that we are tripping her because our real motive is to get her to feed us. That's our secret! :)

Pets promote touch.  The healing power of touch is undisputed. Research has shown that a 45 minute massage can help our human decrease levels of the stress hormone cortisol and optimize their immune system by building white blood cells. Hugging floods the human body with oxytocin, a hormone that reduces stress, and lowers blood pressure and heart rates. It's not surprising then that petting a kitty or doggie can reduce our humans blood pressure and heart rate as well as boost their hormone levels. It's so hard watching from the Rainbow Bridge knowing I can't snuggle with mom and she can't pet me. I loved my couch time with mom! Sisfur Mia loves to hug mom. It's so funny to see her wrap her paws around mom's neck. I wonder if Mia is hugging her or trying to strangle her? Hmm....

Cats (and doggies) have so many health benefits for humans. Since I can't be there for mom I am glad she has Sisfur Mia and Brofur Mosby there to take care of her! They better behave as I am watching over them! Sisfur Mia likes to hug mom and Brofur Mosby likes to hang out on the couch with mom. It does my heart good to see my fursibs being affectionate with mom.

Anxiety, depressiona and suicide prevention are serious topics. If you read this far, thank you! And because today's topic was such a serious one, I want to end this blog post with a funny....

Take care pals (and take care of your humans)!

Angel CJ

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Rainbow Bridge Remembrance Day

Couldn't let Rainbow Bridge Remembrance Day go by without remembering CJ and Cosmo. Miss my boys!

Friday, August 5, 2016

Mia update

Mia is doing better. The meds seemed to be doing their job as her eye is clearing up and she isn't sneezy much anymore. Mom is happy she is feeling better. The visit to the stabby place with Mia was the first since I went OTRB and it was hard emotionally on mom. She misses me so much (as I do her)! It's hard watching from the Rainbow Bridge when mom is sad. I'm so glad Mia is feeling better. Now if we can just get Mosby to behave! He's cute but he sure can be a pest to Mia. 

sifur Mia

Thanks for all the paw-sitive thoughts for Mia!

Angel CJ

Friday, July 29, 2016

Mia goes to the vet

Mia has been squinting a lot lately and pawing at her right eye so mom made an appointment for her to go the stabby place today. In true calico fashion (or any kitty really), she meowed the entire way there. She was pretty good when she got there though.

Mia at the stabby place

That is until they put the thermometer thingy you know where. I can't blame her for not being happy. I remember my visits to the stabby place and where they put that thermometer thingy. I don't have to worry about that here at the Rainbow Bridge though.

Anyhoo... back to Mia. Poor kitty has a Upper Respiratory Infection and Feline Ocular Herpesvirus (more commonly called FHV-1). Mom knew when she adopted her a few years ago that she had scar tissue on her eye possibly from FHV but she hasn't had a flare up until now. The vet asked if there is any new stress in the home. Well, yes actually there is Mosby!

Mosby at home
Mia and Mosby aren't exactly buddies. It's almost comical becuase Mosby is doing to Mia what Mia used to do to me. Chase! I didn't like it when Mia chased me and apparently Mia doesn't like it when Mosby chases her. Karma? Ok, I admit I actually thought it was funny at first but if it's causing Mia stress then it's not so funny. Stress is what often causes flare ups of the FHV and I don't want to see my sisfur hurting. Mosby - play nice would ya? I'm watching you from the Rainbow Bridge and want you to be nice to your sisfur Mia so she can feel better, okay! Mia has been started on pills and eye drops to combat both the URI and the FHV. She's not an easy kitty to pill or give eye drops to so mom's going to have a challenge on her hands for a few weeks. Poor mom.

Pals if you would keep Mia in your thoughts until she feels better that would be pawesome! 

Thanks pals!

Angel CJ

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

The True Tails of Baker and Taylor

Mom likes to read and of course she loves cats so what better book to read than The True Tails of Baker and Taylor

What a great story about how cats can help bring together a community! Who doesn't love cats? Okay, there are a few people out there who don't but we'll just ignore them. After all cats are good at ignoring humans! Anyhoo, I don't want to spoil the story but if you have read it you know why mom cried at the end. It was a reminder for her how much she misses me. She actually had to put the book down for a bit to clear her leaky eyes. :( I sure do wish their were visiting hours at the Rainbow Bridge! I want to comfort mom and let her know I am doing great at the Rainbow Bridge. I have met many friends including brofur Cosmo. The catnip is plentiful and I am healthy again.

Mom says new brofur Mosby is doing great and has adjusted to being in her home. Sisfur Mia is still being a brat and hissing at Mosby but it's improving. They can now be in the same room together without much issues. There is some chasing. Is it mean that I chuckle when Mosby chases Mia? I mean she did chase me many times when I didn't want to be chased? Karma? I look over them and try to tell them to behave. Guess they are ignoring me. Hmpfff.... Guess I'll have to be a little more verbal. If a kitty can be heard from Kitty Heaven I sure am going to try! These 2 need to get along! I'll keep snoopervising from OTRB to make sure they do.

Until next time... take care pals!

Angel CJ

Friday, June 10, 2016

Meet the new kitty

Mom adopted a new kitty from Wayside Waifs today. She said Mia was driving her crazy wandering around at night meowing. She thinks Mia probably misses me and might do better with a new kitty at home. 

Mom misses me a lot. She said I will always have a special place in her heart that no other kitty will occupy but asked if it was ok to adopt another kitty. Mom talks to me a lot. I wish I could talk to mom and say YES, It's absolutely ok to rescue another kitty! Or maybe the kitty's rescuing mom? Us kitty's help our humans through a lot. Since I'm no longer physically there I hope Mia and the new kitty help mom through her grief. 

Anyhow....  Meet Mosby!

He probably thinks his name is "Hi Handsome" as mom says that a lot to him. He's not as handsome as me but I can see why mom thinks he's handsome. And look at those paws! Mosby is polydactyl. He not only has extra toes on his front paws but on his back paws too! He'll need those big paws to keep Mia in line. She thinks she's the alpha cat. Mosby might have something to say about that! 

Mosby was adopted from Wayside Waifs as a kitty back in 2013. He was recently surrendered to Wayside for behavior issues. The notes on him said he was shy and would hide. Who would surrender a kitty because they are shy? Sad! Mom has a soft spot for shy kitties. She adopted me after all! Yep, I was a shy kitty but not quite as shy as Mosby. He does hide under the bed quite a bit but he also makes his way out and about. He's not afraid of Mia and because of that, mom made the adoption final today. (Mosby has been on furlough with mom this week to make sure he would be a good fit.) It will be interesting to see how well Mosby adjusts to his new home and how long it will take Mia to adjust to him. Mia is a shy kitty too and there has been some hiding from both kitty's this week. It will be a process to get these two comfortable around each other.

Will my pals join me in welcoming Mosby to the family? Thanks anipals!

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday

It's been almost a month since CJ went to the Rainbow Bridge. The pain of the loss is still very real.

Miss you buddy!