How My Cat Saved My Life

My cat saved my life.

No, he didn’t pull me from a burning house or save me from drowning in a pool; he saved me from myself and continues to do so daily, as I battle with mental illness.

Simba (yes, that’s his real name!), came to me as a scrawny, flea-ridden, sick, stinky kitten back in November 2010. He was rescued by a Melbourne animal welfare group from a pound in rural Victoria along with 5 other kittens. I had started volunteering as a foster carer and this lot were my first charges. He reminded of me of Kimba the White Lion but thinking Kimba was too ‘girly’, he became Simba.

my cat saved my life

Simba wasn’t the cutest kitten. He had these huge ears that were far too big for his head. He had a pointy face and an unfortunate case of ringworm, which had left him with patches of hair loss all over his body.

Months passed and Simba started growing into his ears; his hair had grown back too. Most of his foster siblings had been adopted and new ones would come and go. By this time, I’d formed a pretty strong bond with Simba and his almost-twin brother, Samson. Despite my efforts of finding them a home, they were both constantly over-looked. No one was interested in giving them a chance, it broke my heart.

my cat saved my life

I had decided that when one of the boys were adopted, I was going to keep the other one. My partner at the time and I had a cat, Peach, so I was already pushing my luck by adding another one to the family, otherwise I would have taken them both! I had a soft spot for Samson, he was an anxious thing, very smoochy and unlike scrawny Simba, he was a little bit rounder which contributed to his cuteness.

Fate decided that Samson was the one to be adopted first. The couple who adopted their brother a few months prior decided they wanted to adopt again, and who better than one of his brothers! Although sad, I was overjoyed at the thought of Samson being reunited with his other brother – and I got to welcome Simba to my family, officially.

Once Samson had gone, Simba and I started to form an even stronger bond. He’s not much of a cuddler or a lap cat so would show his affection in other ways. He started sleeping on my head, would greet me at the door when I got home with his over-excited meow and even follow me to the toilet and jump on my lap (brave boy!). I tried to change his horribly, thought-of name but it was too late. He’s now affectionately known as Sim or Simmy; Simba when he’s in trouble.

my cat saved my life

Since June 2011, Sim has been by my side through the highs and the lows. He’s tolerated the hundred other foster kittens, cats and even dogs. He’s got me through break-ups, new relationships, work, study and numerous episodes of depression and anxiety.

He got me through my darkest days, the days when I was too ashamed to confide in my friends. He knew how I felt, he lived through it too. He never judged though, he would be by my side purring his little head off, letting me know everything would be okay.

Every time I’ve felt like giving up, he was my reason to keep on going. Mostly because I knew he wouldn’t cope without me. There was no one in this world I trusted to love and care for him as much as I did. I couldn’t bear the thought of leaving him, the cat that loved me unconditionally, every single day – even when I annoyed the absolute the shit out of him.

my cat saved my life

His soft fur and gentle purrs ground me. Almost instantly my anxiety eases when he’s around, he’s my furry, four-legged anti-depressant.  Honestly, if I could carry him around in a bag and take him everywhere, I’d be okay. Rather ironically though, he too suffers from anxiety so that’ll never be an option.

My friends and family have joked about his ‘obsession’ with me and it is funny. I’m chuffed he’s chosen me. Sim brings so much happiness, cuteness, and white fur into my life and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I might have saved Sim’s life but he also saved mine.

my cat saved my life

Is there a (furry) friend in your life that has helped you through the hard times? Feel free to share your story in the comments below!

PS. A pet can be a great companion for someone struggling with their mental health. Check out PetRescue for a list of awesomely, adoptable animals because rescue pets are best!

12 Comments

  1. Naomi
    April 27, 2017 / 4:37 am

    Beautifully written and I totally agree they are the best therapy in the world 🙂

    • Sarah
      April 27, 2017 / 8:14 pm

      Thanks Naomi x

  2. Jessie
    April 27, 2017 / 4:49 am

    Awesome story, Sarah.
    I fully understand the feelings of friendship, family, kindness and love you get from Simmy; I get the same from Ziggy.
    I never, ever, ever thought an animal could make me feel the way I do about Zig.
    When I am sad she senses it and quietly sits next to me. When I am having a panic attack and crying hysterically she paces around me, like as if she’s asking “what can I do to help?”. She’s not a cuddly lapcat either, but she’ll wait until she thinks I’m asleep and creep in silently and sleep behind the bend of my knees. She greets me everyday at the door, and when I leave the house she runs upstairs to watch me leave.
    Ziggy’s love is so pure; she doesn’t expect anything, she doesn’t play mind games. She just simply wants to love and be loved.

    Here’s to the best companion (=^_^=)

    • Sarah
      April 27, 2017 / 8:23 pm

      I’ve grown up with cats my whole life and never have I had a bond with any of them like I do with Sim, even dear little Peachy!
      It’s a rare, special thing and I’m so glad you have little Zig in your life
      Without sounding too morbid, I don’t think I’ll ever have a cat like Simmy again in my lifetime. It makes me sad, but also grateful that out of the millions and trillions of kitties in this world, we got to cross paths.
      xx

  3. Sharryn
    April 27, 2017 / 1:35 pm

    Beautiful Sarah xx

    • Sarah
      April 27, 2017 / 8:14 pm

      Thanks Sharryn x

  4. April 29, 2017 / 9:35 pm

    Awesome tattoo 🙂

    • Sarah
      May 1, 2017 / 5:36 am

      Thanks Alison! x
      Can’t wait to get my other kitty done!

  5. May 4, 2017 / 1:19 am

    Animals are just THE BEST companions. I had my dog’s name tattooed on my ankle when she was still alive. That little fluffball got me through some hard times.

    • Sarah
      May 4, 2017 / 6:08 am

      I absolutely agree with you Dawn! <3
      Awww what a lovely little reminder of your precious furry. It's always nice to hear from others that have had animals help them through a rough patch x

  6. May 5, 2017 / 1:52 am

    So beautifully written. I’m responding with my rescue dog lying across my feet, and I get it, including the dark times. We’ve had over 13 years of love from our Rosie (and hopefully more to come!) There’s something about the way that pets are just there – not trying to solve, but just being there – that adds just a little spark of joy when you don’t think there’s any, isn’t there?

    • Sarah
      May 5, 2017 / 5:12 am

      Ohhh, Rosie sounds divine! <3
      I completely agree with you, Helen! Although we humans mean well; when we try and solve, it can often make the situation worse. I think that's why I find animals so comforting - because they are just there quietly - loving you unconditionally!

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