When Colleen learned to live with mitral valve prolapse syndrome with dysautonomia (MVPS/D), her cat Morris taught her some tricks about life. Resting and taking life easy was right up his alley. He often nestled near her midriff, keeping it delightfully warm. Somehow he knew not to step on her painful chest. She found peace in a companionship that needed no talk. Watching Morris, she gleaned possibilities for her new lifestyle.
Morris took life as it came. Whatever life brought, he handled it in a sensible cat manner. If the weather rained, he found shelter and waited it out. If the temperature grew colder, he found a warm place. When his humans pulled the cockle burrs out of his tail, he sat quietly. He endured monthly baths, though his countenance told them he’d do anything to avoid another. If he wasn’t fed on his schedule, he waited with trust.
As for Colleen, she’d been incredibly angry when the physicians told her it might take a year or longer to recover. She had plans and they were being interrupted!
Morris defended his own. Well, when he first came to Colleen as a teenager, he ran from other cats who wanted to take his territory. So she taught him to fight. She shouted and charged and clapped her hands at those other car invaders. After the first row, he caught on and never let another demean or steal from him.
Colleen couldn’t allow the weary first days at home depress her spirit. Her former inner person was learning new ways, and she must hold fast. Better days would come.
Morris knew how to love his own. He would saunter to their legs to greet them with a quiet meow. He didn’t expect anything, only wanted to acknowledge their presence. He never bit, scratched, or hurt those he loved. When someone called his name, he galloped across the yard like a pony, hoping for a morsel of food. When instead someone swept him up and cradled him in her arms, giving him only hugs and kisses, he accepted the love.
How did Colleen react to those about her? When she was first home, her body was so weak that even speaking bothered her, so she mostly observed. However, her natural inclinations were to blame and to complain. It was probably best she couldn’t talk.
Sometimes when Colleen called, Morris looked her way, considering his obedience to her, but in the end he walked off, knowing his need was more important.
Colleen’s was, too. How many times had physicians told her nothing was wrong, live with the pain, or consult a psychiatrist? Her friends overlooked her. She walked off . . . to another doctor who found reasons for the pain . . . and away from friends who wouldn’t have time in her.
She learned to listen to her body rhythms, and though she truly loved her family and friends, at times she needed to do what’s best for her.
Be Colleen’s watching her cat, Morris has shown her that love, patience, independence, and fortitude would give her the courage to live gracefully with MVPS/D.