How Pets Become Family

When illness strikes, the world can begin to feel lonely. It’s no secret that isolation is a side effect of illness; often one we don’t talk about enough. Some of us are lucky enough to have a companion that helps us feel less alone. Our Pact blog editor Samantha shares how her cat became more than just a pet.


Illness can be isolating. There were many days I spent home because I was unable to get out of the house.  Many of those days I spent in bed because getting up was too difficult. I spent a lot of those days alone. I’d try to keep myself busy; watch Netflix, read, write, etc. On better days, I liked to bake or cook. While these were good distractions, the feeling of isolation was still overwhelming.

FullSizeRender (5)But I wasn’t alone. Five years ago, this little ball of orange and white fluff crawled onto my lap and fell asleep. Right then, I knew; she chose me. A friend of mine had a litter of kittens and she’d asked if I knew of anyone who wanted one. Naturally, I said me.

Since I still live at home, I brought it up to my mom. We had lost our other cat almost two years prior and hadn’t planned on bringing another one home. It took a little convincing, but that little furball won her over pretty quick.

I got Mayzie in 2013, about five months after I got my first diagnosis. She’s  been with me this entire journey. We had a special connection right away. I’ve always loved cats; I grew up with two. I loved them so much, but the relationship Mayzie and I had is much different. FullSizeRender (6)

Oddly enough, she has some health issues herself. (She even has her own special food!)  When my health really started to decline, and I was spending a lot of time at home, she was always there. She would snuggle with me so I wasn’t alone. If I started to cry, sometimes she would even lick the tears off my cheek. When I developed type 1 diabetes, she even became aware of my blood sugars, and would react accordingly. (She knew my levels would spike or drop before my CGM did). She made the days home more bearable, and a little less isolating.

She’s my emotional support. When I’m in a GP flare, she’d sit with me in the bathroom when I was so sick I couldn’t get up off of the floor. She’d sit with me while I did work from home, and snuggle under my legs while I’d watch Netflix.

IMG_0509 (1)We have a very special bond. She’s currently snuggled up, wrapped around my leg as I type this. She’s kept me from being alone. She’s been by my side for every bad day, every good day, and everything in between. I couldn’t be more thankful for the moment she chose me.

Do you have a pet that’s helped you through your illness(es)? Would you like to share your story? Send us your story at smiths@g-pact.org

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