Meow! I paused my typing to listen.
In the growing darkness of the June evening, I switched on an overhead light. Spring had proved increasingly chaotic for my husband and me. We often found ourselves settling to chores right after supper and not finishing until close to bedtime.
Meow! Meow! The vocalization grew louder. I glanced around the living room, counting cats. Bootsie was on the cat tower and Cinder was in her mouse cave; Rainy was nowhere to be seen.
My heart started to beat a little faster. “Rainy!” I called, an edge of concern in my voice.
Meow! Meow! MEOW! Rainy’s plaintive cries filled the house.
I jumped up, my mind racing with what-ifs. I began searching the house and calling for Rainy. I had been packing earlier for an upcoming vacation. What if she had gotten locked in a bedroom closet? But no, the closets were cat-free.
What if he had accidentally shut Rainy in his basement office when he was down there earlier? I yanked open the basement door and took the steps two at a time until I reached the bottom. And that’s when I saw her.
Rainy’s head was cocked and her eyes were wide. Surrounding her was a pile of wand toys. She’d pulled out every last wand toy from the cabinet. The cabinet that should have been closed, but somehow she had opened.
“Are you lonely, Rainy?” I asked.
In response, Rainy stared expectedly at me.
I bit my lip. We had neglected our pets too much this spring.
“Do you want to play?” I whispered as I reached for a toy.
Happily, Rainy rolled over onto her back, paws in the air. I dangled the toy in front of her and she happily batted at it. Soon our other two cats bounded downstairs to join in the action.
I had far too little time for our pets this past spring . In April, I had started a new job, which had required and is still requiring me to put in extra hours. Around the same time, I began preparing to launch my new cat behavior consulting business. And if that wasn’t enough, also at this same time Andy and I decided to host an exchange student in the fall, and ever since we’ve been busily preparing our home for the student’s arrival. Sadly, despite Rainy’s efforts to bring her neglect to my attention, there was little I could do about it. In fact, I was soon to neglect her even more, when my husband and I left our cats in the care of pet sitters for two weeks while we visited my family in Newfoundland.
This summer has been no less stressful, but Rainy has risen to the challenge by being a constant source of comfort. She remains my shadow. In addition, she continues to curl up beside me every night. And on those days when I’m so wiped out that I can’t find the energy to move, she’ll lay beside me, rest her chin on my leg, and purr. In other words, her therapy skills aren’t reserved just for others.
Speaking of, I have two therapy updates. In June, Rainy and I paid our last visit to a gentleman in hospice. He slept through most of our visit. Rainy laid at his feet as a quiet presence. The next day I learned that he had died and felt happy that we had been there near the end. This month, we started visits with a new patient! We’re visiting a lady in hospice who is bedridden. On our first visit, Rainy hopped up on the lady’s bed. The lady smiled at her, then pushed her covers back so she could pet Rainy. Rainy stayed on the bed with her for most of our visit. When we left, the lady said that she looked forward to our visiting again.
The last week of July, I’ll finally get to return to my normal part-time work schedule. I’m already looking forward to having more time with Rainy and our pets. There are so many places to go and new activities to try. Also, a friend of ours will be passing along her cat’s old backpack (for traveling in, not wearing) this month, and I’m eager to see if Rainy likes it. Until my next update, if you have any questions about cat therapy, please comment on this post or email me at: email@example.com