Thursday, March 24, 2011

I like cats.

Want to make me cry when I'm at college? Ask me about how much I miss my cats.

I have four - Mittens, Gimli, Tony and Murphy - and all of them have special meanings to me. Murphy, my youngest, is especially important since I found him during a rough time in my college career when I was struggling with OCD. He saved me, and I saved him (he was a tiny unweaned kitten when I found him). So that's why I drew him in my arms for this post.

My cats throughout my lifetime have taught me all sorts of things. When I was born, I had two older cat-siblings, Arthur Malone and Hillary Rose, and when my grandmother moved in with us she brought with her Gremlin, her passive-aggressive orange blob. Art and Grem both passed away from cancer when I was in elementary school, but Hill lived until I was nearly sixteen. I also adopted a kitten named Mitchell when I was ten, and his death three years later from kidney failure was the first major loss of my life. Growing up surrounded by these cats meant I learned responsibility and how to take care of others - combined with having a younger brother, I became a great nurturer. The cats have also been friends to talk to, shoulders to cry on, and sick day companions, and when I look into their eyes and we blink at each other or I get a headbutt, my heart absolutely swells with joy.

My cats have taught me how to love.

And here's the thing - if your child is on the spectrum, seriously consider getting them a pet. Animals are loyal, trustworthy friends for them. They give them something to talk about and share with others. They teach responsibility and respect and love. If you ask me, adopt from a shelter, where the best pets always are. I used to volunteer at a shelter in high school - RBARI - and all those wonderful animals deserve someone special. I know all of you are special, so go and give someone a forever home!

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