Bertie and Bella, my feline protectors and constant companions. They came to live with me as tiny kittens five years ago, eager to venture into my small London courtyard garden. They immediately provided endless entertainment, leaving a trail of toy mice and little footballs of tin foil. They’ve stayed with me ever since, through ups and downs and new gardens to explore, sharing the pure unconditional love animals give so freely.
I read an article last week about the health benefits of living with cats (‘Good News: Cats are Good for your Health’). It turns out that my furry little friends are rather good for my physical and mental well-being. It came as no surprise to me, but I was still rather impressed by the list. Did you know that spending time with cats can boost your immune system, lower your blood pressure and reduce your stroke risk? My favourite fact is that a cat’s purr, already incredibly soothing, can have deeper therapeutic effects, with a frequency of 20-140Hz that can apparently help bones, soft tissue and infection heal faster.
Bertie and Bella always seem to know when I’m not feeling so good. Bella gets very cross if she thinks I need to lie down and rest, pestering until I do and hastily curling up on me as if to keep me there. Bertie can sense sadness from a different room. He’ll come to me and rub his magnificent whiskers in my face, wiping away my tears. They comfort me when I can’t sleep. They share their soft warmth, better than any hot water bottle, gently snuggling themselves against my sore spots. They’re never fazed that pain moves around my body. They just know.
There’s something incredibly special about feline intuition. They seem to have an innate sensitivity and compassion. It never ceases to amaze me how Bertie and Bella react when I have a seizure. They might have been fast asleep in a different part of the house, but I always come round to find them gently nudging me with a little white-socked paw and rubbing soft whiskers in my face. They’ll stay until I feel better, stationing themselves either side of me. My very own feline guard.