What My Cat Taught Me

The smell in the toilet was unbearable. But how could that be? I just cleaned out the litter box a while ago. Turns out the cats had to do more business. Before I had any pet cats, I thought it would be easy to take care of such cute, small and innocent creatures. How wrong I was. I learned that having a pet cat is almost like having a child because there were so many responsibilities, and I somewhat learned a cat’s purpose of living other than being a predator to birds and mice.

The first night I got my cat, Yuki (pronounced “Yoo-ki”), I didn’t know what to do. He climbed all over the sofas, sat on my mom’s laptop, and spilled his little saucer of milk. Then he crawled under a chair and sat there, refusing to come out no matter what I did. When I tried to pet him, he turned his back on me. Then and there, I sort of gave up. I didn’t know how to make this tiny kitten love me and I didn’t know what to do with him because he wouldn’t leave his hiding place.

The first months with Yuki were emotionally exhausting. A few weeks after we got him, Yuki had warmed up to the family and was starting to walk around the house as if he were king. Because Yuki was still a tiny kitten, I was a bit worried about him roaming around the house alone so I spent a lot of time following him around and checking the places that could be dangerous for him. Once, I couldn’t find him anywhere in the house. I was panicking so much that I was close to tears because I thought my dad had left the front door open and Yuki probably somehow slipped out. Then I heard a little snore from under my mom’s throw pillows. And there he was: tiny kitten fast asleep under the pillow. I was so happy.

Eventually, Yuki transformed from a tiny little kitten to a fat little cat. Along with that, the waste in his litter box smelled worse and he got picky with food. Pretty soon, I was spending more time cleaning litter boxes, buying more cat food and making sure it was the right flavor and that it was different every time or else Yuki wouldn’t eat it. I had to sacrifice some sleep time as well because although he was still a pretty small cat back then, Yuki had a really loud meow, and he loved to meow in the middle of the night and he loved to push things off my table.

Sometimes I was just so frustrated at Yuki. He ruined one of my projects by scratching a hole into it, ate my dinner, urinated in my room and continuously attacked me so I had a lot of scratches on my arm. Disciplining him was hard because if I sprayed water on him or flicked his nose, he would glare at my hand and attack it. I was so annoyed I sometimes couldn’t control my frustration that I hit him.

This didn’t do any good because I just felt terrible and Yuki attacked my leg when I did. But I learned how to forgive him each time and I also started learning to forgive other people because of it. Although Yuki makes me want to rip out all of my hair in frustration sometimes, he is also a comfort to me. Some time ago, I went through depression. At that time, I felt like there was no one I could talk to about what I was going through. But almost as if he understood what was happening to me, Yuki would always sit by my side. And when I just wanted to give up on life, he’d be there, looking at me as though he were saying, “So what now? You’re just going to give up like a coward?” I looked at myself as well and realized the stupidity of what I was about to do. I flushed the pills I was about to take.

Someone once asked me, “What do cats give to society anyways? They can’t save lives the way a rescue dog can. All they can do is sit around and look cute.” I didn’t answer, but I kept thinking about how Yuki saved me when I was on the brink of taking my own life. He didn’t say anything but “meow”, but Yuki has taught me the value of my own life. He also taught me how to forgive and also how I should be more patient. If someone were to ask me if I had a hero, I would say that it’s my cat, Yuki.

Kate loves all things cats, Disney and Audrey Hepburn. She is still trying to live life to the fullest by doing what she loves which is drawing and writing. Read more on her blog and read her thoughts on Tumblr.