So, you know how sometimes dogs can sniff out cancer? Or how your cat will come sit by you when you’re feeling sad? I think it’s scientifically proven, although I am too lazy to look it up, that animals sense your emotions. If it’s not scientific there are plenty of anecdotes, and that’s good enough for me. Well, I think I gave my cat depression. Linus was always a little more of a nervous cat. He hides when people are over. But, in the last 6 months, when I’ve been in the throes of this most recent bout of depression, Linus has become even more reclusive than usual. He hides under the covers or under the bed all day, only coming out to eat wet food and then retreating immediately to the Cat Cave. By comparison, I hide in a blanket on the couch all day, emerging only to eat ice cream and then retreating for a nap. If Linus and I could curl up in the bed all day together, napping and eating wet food in bed, we would both be pretty content.
Now, I have no evidence that I actually gave Linus my depression, but he has become my anthropomorphic depression. I am Jack’s depressed cat. I realized how protective I was of Linus’s depression when Mr. Furious finally got fed up that Linus pees sometimes in the bedroom. Because really, who can be bothered to go to the bathroom? Not me. I’d be lying if I said that adult diapers haven’t had their appeal at various low points in my life. Mr. Furious suggested sequestering Linus in the bathroom, a technique that worked when we got a kitten a couple years ago. The thought of Linus crying and pawing at the bathroom door just broke my heart. “He’s fine in the bedroom,” I pleaded. “He just wants to cuddle up with his mama. There’s nothing wrong with that.” Mr. Furious didn’t understand my reluctance to help Linus. “He wants to get better,” he said.
But. It’s hard. And that’s when I realized that my fear for Linus working on his behavior, is really just my fear of working out of my own depression. For both me and Linus, that bed is safe. We don’t have to do anything scary or hard. And someone is always going to bring us wet food.
This is quite possibly the saddest thing ever, but it’s not as bad as it sounds. Because as I’m working on Linus’s depression, I’m really working on my own. And pretty soon we’ll both be chasing the laser around like we like to do. Or something.