Friday, February 15, 2013

Thoughts On a Sick Cat

Our cat was very ill recently.  We learned that cats tend to hide their illness.  When he was at his worst, he spent most of his time hidden under a table in a corner sleeping.  Apparently, cats seek to be alone when they're sick.  I imagine they are protecting themselves because they are vulnerable.  I wonder if this is because cats are mostly  solitary animals by nature.  If you don't travel with a pack, you have no one to protect you when you're weakened, so you have to hide alone in a dark cave somewhere and hope you can heal.

This got me thinking about human beings and how we deal with hurt, whether physical or emotional.  Some of us react like cats.  We hide ourselves away, cut ourselves off, don't want anyone to see us or come near us.  And yet, human beings are social animals, meant to live in communities.  At least, I've always believed so.  Still, some people may have enough of that loner in them that their instinct prompts them to respond to hurt the way loner animals respond.  Meanwhile, the pack-instinct folks seek out company and support and maybe even yowl at the moon.

When our cat was going through his illness, he didn't want to be pulled out of his cave, but sometimes we had to do it to for his own good, to give him the medicine that would help him heal.  At other times, I'd just lie down outside his hiding place and rest my hand on his paw so he knew we were thinking of him.  If our cat had been left to his own devices, he wouldn't have survived.  But, like it or not, he's become part of our small pack, and we nursed him back to health.

You can probably see where I'm going with this, since the extension to people is pretty apparent.  If you know a cat-type who's hurting, give them some time in their cave, but let them know you're nearby.  And when healing or survival requires it, pull them out of their cave.

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