Tuesday 28 August 2012


Hey guys

So many of us M.E. sufferers, especially those of us who are house bound, often face intense isolation.

Too much human contact can cause dramatic increases in our symptoms and we feel awful afterwards.

So many turn to, and rely on, pets for companionship and friendship.

They give us purpose, responsibility, a reason for getting up in the morning and a reason to look to the future! They make us smile and cheer us up! We can stroke them and cuddle them...

I am very lucky to have a cat, some fish, 7 guinea pigs and 2 rabbits (my mum and sister (also known as sexy Bexy!) look after most of them although I do feed my cat sometimes).

I know of many people with various severe illnesses who rely on their pets almost more than they rely on human contact.

For many M.E. sufferers, our pets play an important role in keeping us going and getting us through the days.

My cat (pictured below) isnt particularly friendly because she is shy and timid. She doesn't often sleep on my bed and prefers to sleep in unusual places such as in the middle of the landing or on a piece of paper! I do wish that she would snuggle up with me and keep me company a bit more often... (I would love loads of cats! They are my favourite!)

Some spoonies' cats have kept them company for so many thousands of hours that they would otherwise have spent completely alone. Being alone but having a cat or two for company is so much nicer than just being completely alone. I can see how it really makes a difference to them and lifts their mood!

I can see how having a cat purring and sleeping next to you, can help if all you can do is lay in bed or if you are in a lot of pain. It's relaxing and soothing.

M.E. makes you so isolated, because even a little bit of time spent in the company of another person and having simple conversation can be too much for very severe sufferers to cope with without relapse. Severe M.E. means spending almost all of your time with little human company or contact.

Luckily I am not a severe ME sufferer (at the moment) and I have been getting better.

When i cant sleep at night, i go downstairs to see my cat. I sit with her and talk to her (yes, i am a mad cat lady!), i play with her with a piece of string or a toy. My cat make me laugh out loud at least once a day and often a lot more. They are such funny little things and always up to something new!

She is so cute and funny when she gets up to mischief! She gets herself into a pickle quite often and she's always being naughty and eating things she shouldn't! Once she ate my brothers birthday cake, not the whole thing but she took a chunk out of it during the night! Even though it was wrapped up and secure, she got to it! She has also been known to eat a whole scone or slice of fruit cake when we are not watching!

I could go on and on with dozens of funny stories about her but I'll spare you that because I realise they may only be funny to me and my family! A lot of them are you-had-to-be-there moments.

Daily laughs for someone with M.E.are such a special thing, and so important. When we are feeling so lonely and ill and in so much pain, laughing can help us so much! With all the grim realities we face who needs to laugh more than us?!

However I do appreciate that for spoonies who are house bound, even having a quiet pet such as a cat or rabbit can be too much. And that they could not cope with their movement or noise.

Having a pet and not being well enough to see it much can also be terrible.

I think cats are probably the best choice because dogs can bark loudly sometimes and they need a lot of care and walks.

Dogs are difficult because they need walking -something impossible for most M.E. patients. Cats are easier than dogs and there are also birds and mice, rabbits and guinea pigs and rats to consider, depending on your own illness level and which animals you like and dislike. (Rats aren't for everyone and they certainly wouldn't be my first choice!)

A goldfish in a bowl could be good. You could have it by your bed or where you can see it easily. I'm not sure about tropical fish tanks as they can be noisy and have bright lights.

Pets have their downsides too.
My cat will sometimes decide to go outside so I'll get up and let her out. Then 30 seconds later (when I've just sat back down) she'll want to come In again. Then she'll want to go back out. In and out. In and out. Goodness knows how long this goes on sometimes! We don't have a cat flap you see! Thank goodness I don't live on my own and my mum can take turns letting her in and out!

Or she'll decide to meow, claw, scratch and howl at 3am at me until I get up. These sorts of things can be maddening and so annoying!

Also, i'd go for a short-haired cat because my cat is semi-long haired and there is also cat hair over EVERYTHING, all the time!

Obviously I get far more from my pets (mainly my cat cos I don't have to go out in the garden to see her!) than I lose of course, and mostly she is well behaved!

There are also financial costs too but I don't know much about them so I won't go into depth! I am aware that a lot of spoonies can't work and don't get that much money from DLA or other benefits so it's important not to get an animal that is too expensive.

Also, I hate the way people unintentionally look at me nowadays. They look at me with a combination of pity, unrealized judgement, and without looking at me as a person if that makes sense. They judge me on my clothes and greasy hair. I am a 15 year old girl, they expect me to have spent hours getting ready!

Pets don't see greasy hair or a person lying down. To have a pet who gives you uncomplicated love, love without knowing your life-- just knowing 'you', can be invaluable.

Because I'm ill, people that I don't see often, worry about what they are saying to me. They are careful not to talk about school and things like that incase it upsets me. And if I'm having a bad day, usually people are slightly kinder to me but I like that fact that my cat will ask me for food whenever she likes. She doesn't care how I feel and she doesn't treat me differently! She doesn't care what I'm wearing or whether I've showered!

Sometimes I feel that she is the only one who is there to give me support and love. The only one that doesnt judge or question me!

Pets can also be great confidants. Personally, I know I hide so much of the realities of having M.E from almost everyone that I know. Talking to a pet, having someone to actually be fully truthful with, even more honest than you may be with yourself, can be vitally important. Yes, I talk to my cat. A LOT.

Pets are fab. Their individual little personalities are so interesting too. It is great to have your pets from babies and watch their personalities grow and change over time!

Pets really are just great!


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