Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Empathy on Paws

The title of today’s post probably fails the crucial test of telegraphing meaning to the casual reader. But you are not a casual reader—you are a Cat Lady! And I bet you already know what I mean by four-legged empathy.

For the first time in about thirty years, I had a dental emergency. As even my dentist said, “This was the real deal.” If only I had experienced phantom pain, a diagnosis that several online sources assured me I was experiencing. No, this was pain that Advil and a topical treatment could not cure. I was unable to sleep. Enter Lydia.

As I tossed fitfully in bed, Lydia tucked herself right beside me. I thought that the always observant Lucius would feel my pain, but he was nowhere in sight. Nor were the other men of the house: Leo, Linus, L.B., Alvar, and the one and only Cat Man.

Lydia rested one of her paws on my hand, trying as best as she could to help me create an imaginary comfort zone. She purred and cooed, attempting to distract and to humor me. At some point I decided that a glass of cold water might provide a measure of relief during the seemingly interminable night. Lydia hopped into the basin of the sink and proceeded to slurp water from the faucet. Like Cat Lady, like daughter (except I was taught by my mother not to slurp). I now know that should I ever have another state of personal emergency, Lydia’s my go-to girl.

I’m back at work, armed with a ten-day dose of Prednisone and penicillin. Lydia seems aware that I can sleep through the night and do not require her nocturnal intervention. She is also enjoying my temporary routine of setting out pills to accompany each meal. Give her a ritual, and she’s in heaven. I treasure her empathy, a touch of heaven on earth.

Query of the Day: Do your cats comfort you in sickness and in health?

1 comment:

  1. My late cat Garfield sensed my father's ill health when he was nearing the end of his battle with cancer. He would wail outside to be let in and would sit or rest near my father. It is amazing what these animals can sense.