I’m slowly returning to normal activities, and my spirit continues to mend, too.
It was a shock to learn that the spirit can take longer than the body to recover from a long year of injuries and setbacks. It was a good lesson to learn, though. I think I’ve gained more compassion for others in the same boat. You can handle one setback, another and another. But at some point, your soul just wants to hunker down and run.
We’ve always heard that when we are down in the dumps, it can help to reach out and help others. It’s a good way to get us outside our own heads, a way to move and act without being totally self-referential.
But if even that seems like too much, here’s a lower-threshold spiritual treatment I can almost guarantee will provide the same benefit:
There’s something about kitten antics that makes everything else weighing on your heart just fly away.
Everything is wildly interesting to them–the hem of your jeans, the tie on your robe, the cord on your window shades, the dryer lint in the waste basket, the bug crawling on the floor.
They jump, bounce, flounce, roll, and cry piteously when their tail is, in turn, mistaken for a toy by a sibling.
And if you get tired of dealing with a hamburger-sized ball of fuzz that sees everything in the world as attackable, there’s always an exhausted yet hugely grateful mom-cat who’s happy to simply sit and be petted.
Now, you don’t have to rush out and buy kittens. In fact, there’s a great way to have an (almost) everlasting supply of kittens on hand.
You can be a kitten foster care provider.
One of our favorite family volunteer projects is to act as a foster home for our local humane society. When they receive a pregnant cat or a mom-cat with young kittens, they quickly place them in homes for temporary care–about one to three months, or until the kittens are old enough to be safely adopted.
This gives the mothers a calm, loving environment outside the shelter. It gives the new family a haven from all the diseases that course through a shelter. It ensures the kittens get maximum socialization with humans, critical to their emotional development as family pets.
And as a side effect, our family gets to enjoy kittens in all their glory for two months.
Just when they reach those teenage years (in kitten time), they are all ready to go back to the humane society. The mom cats, unfortunately, may have to wait for new homes. But at least the kittens are adopted quickly, usually within a week. Although I confess, our current pair of cats, our clown-cat Chai and our nervous-nelly cat Moxie, were both former mom-cats in our home.
The layout of our home allows us to set up a foster cat station apart from the other critters. Our two regulars know something is going on, of course. Suddenly, interesting food is delivered to a room that’s now off-limits to them, and they aren’t allowed to drink out of the bathtub faucet anymore. Their bewilderment is palpable, and their attempts to convince us that they need that extra nice cat food, too are amusing.
Our latest batch came to us last week. The mom-cat has been christened “Juno”, after the movie with the young pregnant teen heroine of the same name, because she is so outrageously young herself. (A visitor, on seeing her emerge from the “nesting box”, exclaimed, “That’s the mother??
The kittens are tiny, and just now starting to open their eyes. Three golden mackerel tabbies (probably male), two black torties (probably female.)
They’re really too young to play with yet, and Juno waits anxiously nearby when we handle them, ready to snatch them back at the least little peep out of them.
But already, everything is delightfully right in the world.
P.S. This works with puppies and bunnies, too.