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The Joy My Cat Provides to Someone Navigating Chronic Illnesses

This blog article tells the story of how my cat ‘Mel Mel’ entered my life and how she brings me joy as a chronically ill patient. 

About seven years ago, my health severely declined to the point where I lost my employment. Due to a lack of income, I was unable to continue paying my rent and therefore I lost my home. While this was happening, my dear friend, Doris sadly died, and I was contacted by her solicitor regarding her will. The solicitor informed me that Doris’ wish was for her cat Mel Mel to stay with me permanently, which I was grateful for. I had met Mel Mel on several occasions when I visited Doris, and she was always such a friendly cat. I was thankful that Doris trusted me to care for her beloved cat, yet I was in a very difficult situation at the time. However, I was determined to do everything in my power to not disappoint my friend or Mel Mel.  

Fortunately, at the time I was in a serious relationship with my now husband. As soon as I lost my home, Mel Mel and I moved in with him. It was a big change for us all, including my husband’s late cat and dog. However, after a brief period, we all settled in well.

Unfortunately, I have been finding it hard to cope with losing my career as a health professional and my lack of independence. I am very lucky that my husband helps me with most of my daily activities and I am fortunate to have close friends who keep in touch with me regularly. I spend long periods of time in bed as it is the most comfortable position for me to be in and Mel Mel always joins me. She cuddles next to me, gives me a lick on my nose, and headbutts me as if to say, “I am here, mummy”. In addition, I have to take at least one nap a day and Mel Mel makes sure she joins me, providing me with more comfort. When I watch TV with my family or read, Mel Mel snuggles up next to me to join in the fun. Also, when a visitor comes over, especially someone Mel Mel does not know, she sits close to me and stares at them because I think she wants to protect me. One of Mel Mel’s favourite toys is the fishing rod with the feather toy attachment. I use it as part of my physiotherapy exercises, and it always makes me smile seeing Mel Mel leap for joy as she tries to catch the feathers.

I know Mel Mel is not a trained assistance animal like those lovely assistance dogs. However, she gives me support and love in her own special way. Even though my disability is physical, it has sadly affected my mental health negatively. If it was not for Mel Mel, I would struggle so much more, especially with loneliness. There are still many people who think that cats are selfish animals and I hope to be part of educating people about these amazing creatures through my writing and social media content.

Wishing you all the best,

Catrina xx

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