Any of you who have read much of my writing or know me in real life know I love animals. Especially cats. Most especially black cats.
Animals are truly a gift from God, of this I have no doubt. They are constant companions, they don’t judge, they offer unconditional love & support, they make us laugh & so much more. I currently have 9 cats, 1 dog & 1 finch, all of whom I love dearly. Every morning, one of my two youngest cats, Zippy, likes to snuggle me before I get up for the day. He is almost 20 pounds, so when he lays on me & demands snuggles, it’s impossible to ignore him! He is a special cat- not only because he is strikingly handsome (think black panther- that is what he looks like), but because he is very in tune with me. When the C-PTSD flares up, he is the first to attend to me. He has grounded me during flashbacks by jumping up in my face, demanding I focus on him. When I was battling agoraphobia more than usual one day & my husband wanted me to go out anyway, Zippy knocked the truck keys out of his hands, got under my feet as I walked near the door & more. I went out anyway, then wished I had stayed home as soon as I was off my property. When I came home, Zippy was there, offering lots of love & comfort. When I am sad, he is there purring loudly & providing snuggles. Zippy is a natural born service cat! I have seriously considered training & certifying him as a psychiatric service cat. He has a natural gift for it.
However, even my pets that aren’t quite as gifted as Zippy is are awesome. They are so helpful with the nasty symptoms of C-PTSD. They give me something to focus on, which helps my sketchy concentration. I have to make sure they all have food, water & a clean litter pan. If someone is sick, I have to be sure he gets medicine on time, that I keep an eye on his symptoms & take him to the vet as needed. (Amazingly, as bad as the agoraphobia is, it is almost entirely gone when I go to the vet’s office. I think because I have one of the furbabies with me.) Most of the time when I write, Pretty Boy (my handsome, almost 12 year old black Turkish Angora mix) sits on my chest. His presence somehow helps me focus when I write. It is truly needed- as much as I love to write, sometimes it can be a challenge, organizing my thoughts. Also, one of the furkids is almost always looking for love from me, but especially if I’m upset or the C-PTSD is flaring up. They help me to relax when anxiety is bad, & cheer me up when depression kicks in.
If you are battling some type of mental illness, I would like to encourage you to get a pet. Pray first, seeking God’s wisdom on what type of pet would be best for you. God won’t guide you wrong! I have had a LOT of cats over the years, & I somehow just knew in my heart each time I met them which cat I should adopt. That “knowing” feeling has yet to disappoint me! I have been blessed with pets very well suited to my personality, & mine is suited well to theirs. We always share a deep, loving connection. God can do the same with you! Just ask for His help!
I have written some about animals on my website. What God has to say about them, & some advice on choosing a pet. Check it out here: Animals- God’s Gifts
Also, if you are interested, there are organizations who train psychiatric service animals out there. A search for “psychiatric service animal” or “ptsd service animal” can yield many results. I have seen a couple of books on amazon too, about training your own psychiatric service dog.