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5 Ways My Cats Help Me Stay Sober

  • February 18, 2013
  • 1:30 pm
5 Ways My Cats Help Me Stay Sober

I have a confession to make. I love to drink so much it could be my job. If I’m not careful, I will swill wine and whiskey to the detriment of my real job, my relationships, my waistline, my expanding pile of laundry in my room … and, unfortunately, my cats.

I gave up alcohol more than a year ago, but when I was going out several times a week, I didn’t always give my cats the attention they deserved. I neglected to clean their litter boxes or give them fresh water. I was often hungover and unwilling to play. A few times they even got out when I didn’t close the front door all the way. This could have hurt me as much as them. We all got really lucky.

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These days, when I start thinking happy hour might be the cure for a stressful week, I let my kitties talk me out of it. Here are five ways my cats help keep me sober.

1. They love me unconditionally

My personality trends toward the melancholic, so when something goes wrong, I ruminate. I turn it over and over in my head like a clothes dryer, except the clothes never get dry and the lint trap is overflowing. My brain is gonna catch on fire! This can make a bad day seem like the end of the world, and the only reasonable response to certain doom is whiskey, right?

My cats halt this mental nosedive long enough for me to get my bearings. When I open the front door, Phoenix meows to greet me, and Bubba Lee Kinsey stands under a nearby chair, eyeballing me like the creepy old man he is. When I sit down on the couch, everything is okay the moment my fluffy kitty friends mob me with purrs, wet noses, and headbutts.

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2. I am responsible for something

It is entirely on me to feed my cats, clean their litter boxes, and brush them in the spring and summertime. If they don’t have any toys or scratching posts and decide to shred my furniture? My fault. If they don’t have clean water and knock glasses off the kitchen counter? My fault. If I fail to clean their boxes and my house reeks of poo and catstink? My fault.

I look at it this way: My cats did not choose to live in my apartment. I brought them here, so I am committed to them for life. They deserve the best care I am able to give them — and that includes love and attention. If I’m too hungover to do anything but lie on the couch eating microwave enchiladas while crying and texting apologies to my friend for hitting on her boyfriend last night, my cats will suffer for it.

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3. They cheer me up

I live alone. This is awesome for a number of reasons, including but not limited to underpants as dinner wear, Decemberists singalongs that annoy no one, and the absence of a roommate’s crap everywhere. Also, I never feel the need to write passive-aggressive notes about washing the damn dishes from the point of view of the moldering food in the kitchen sink.

But it also gets lonely. Sometimes I wish I had someone readily available to whom I could air my daily grievances — someone other than a bottle of discount Shiraz from Mr. Z’s corner store. That’s when I like to grab Phoenix and motorboat her belly floof. It is impossible to frown with a faceful of belly floof.

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4. They connect me to something bigger than myself

For better or worse, the whole “God” thing just doesn’t work for me. But I do feel a connection to something greater than myself — to the collective energy of the universe, perhaps. It’s that tingly feeling you get when you watch a sunrise or press your face to an ancient redwood tree, and you realize we are small, so small, and everything else is vast and infinite, and utterly incomprehensible.

As unwieldy as the universe can be, I am still the only one right here, right now, drinking this particular sugar-free turtle latte and regretting that particular sub sandwich I ate for lunch — no one else ate that sandwich, and the experience of indigestion is mine, all mine!

Few things connect me more fully to my unique sense of time, place, and experience than my cats. When I’m able to admire them and appreciate how strange and wonderful it is to share my bed with fanged, carnivorous predators, I don’t even want that glass of wine.

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5. They purr

I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: Purring is pretty much the most amazing thing any animal can do. In fact, I am convinced that a purring cat is the same as a tiny, vibrating wizard.

So when Bubba Lee Kinsey and Phoenix gang up and surround me with their good vibrations, it diffuses my anxiety — and the desire to drink. I know I’m exactly where I need to be.

Photo: Cat peering down from above by Shutterstock

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Read more: Behavior & Communication, Cats, Humor & Inspiration, Pets

This post was written by Angela Lutz, regular contributor to Catster Magazine.

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At Catster, we believe life is always more meaningful with a cat. Get a daily dose of news, views and cuteness over at Catster Magazine.

82 comments

+ add your own
6:56AM PDT on Oct 13, 2014

Congratulations, and the best to you and the cats! I'm recovering too, and I know my cat is an important factor in that. Not only because I'm responsible for him, but because of his love and absolute trust, and he's helped me heal in many ways. I owe a lot to this little guy, and want to give him the best of everything, including my best.

10:18AM PDT on Oct 3, 2014

love cats :)

8:26PM PDT on Jun 25, 2014

Thanks

8:38AM PDT on May 25, 2014

Congratulations to you and the best to you and your feline family! I know mine have kept me on the straight and narrow more than once. What an honest piece of writing. Thank you

12:23PM PDT on Sep 11, 2013

thanks for sharing the information - all 5 reasons are great reasons...love my cats, they keep me company

8:01PM PDT on Apr 3, 2013

Well done... to both parties!

9:28AM PDT on Mar 27, 2013

thanks for sharing :)

7:00PM PDT on Mar 18, 2013

Another reason is a simple biological reason and completely natural reason not to drink or drug: animals don't do it of themselves ever. Cats, dogs, horses, cows, birds, monkeys, whales, etc. -all animals live a completely sober, drug and alcohol free life. As we are all designed to be.

4:57PM PDT on Mar 13, 2013

Thanks. Love cats!

12:08PM PDT on Mar 11, 2013

:)

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

people are talking

Thank You for sharing:)

Thanks Dr. Greger for sharing this very interesting article and the many informative links.

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