Pets and Chronically Ill Patients


I posted this a year or so ago but feel it is worthy of repeating… thanks for indulging me! Enjoy! ~Jen


I have a cat. Her name is Shelby. She was a foundling who adopted me. She is also so much more than just a feline friend. Shelby has an intuitive nature that allows her to see when I am ill and respond to me. When I am in bed, like now, she is laying next to me. When I am asleep, she lays either next to me or above my head. Some days, she is not around and that is usually when I am feeling good. She goes about her business as she normally would do. When my lupus is acting up, though, she is right by my side, purring and rubbing on me and trying to help me feel better. It is uncanny, (or should I say, uncatty) how she knows without me saying a word, that I feel awful. She is not overly in my face, but she is on the periphery should she be needed. While my cat is unique, she is not the only one who is intuitive. I read a story a few years back about a nursing home that had “adopted” a stray cat. The cat was allowed to roam the halls and “visit” with the residents. This cat had an intuitve nature too. It was discovered that the cat would go to a particular resident who was imminently ready to pass away. When a resident was at this point, the cat could not be coerced to leave the room of the resident. It would stay until the person passed away. It became noticible to the staff and they would know by the cats behavior, whether there was an impending death or not. They felt that the cat didn’t want the person to be alone, so it would stay on the bed with the person until after they passed. I also saw a story about cats and patients with AIDS. The story said that those patients who had cats, tended to live longer than those who did not have a pet cat. Cats were the pet of choice because they did not require as much work as dogs and chronically ill people may not be able to give a dog the exercise they need. Who knew? So, my Shelby has this same empathy, but for me. She has been a true and loyal friend in my down times and always helps me with her presence. She is not a “talker” type of cat, but she is always here, by my side, when I need her most. She does not judge me, or make me feel I am worthless when I cannot do things. She is just here, faithfully, making me fell loved. Funny that a cat can do that and so many humans can’t. We should take a lesson from the animals on this one!


2 thoughts on “Pets and Chronically Ill Patients

  1. Diane

    Hi Jen,
    I have a kitty too. Her name is Cookie. She is a recue kitty. I know that she knows when I am having a bad day she curls up right up next to me and starts licking my face. When I feel like giving up I look at her I think keep fighting Diane even if it’s only for her. Sometime I feel so bad I just want to die. This past Friday I was so sick from chemo I was laying down and cookie never left my side. I have no kids, no parents, no nieces or nephews. Just my sweet Cookie. God Bless Her. Thanks for the post. I wasn’t here a year ago so It was nice. God Bless You

  2. My wife has a small fox terrier, and when she was having her chemo that dog would not leave her side.. when she lay down the dog would join her on the bed… when she was fine it would play outside… but if I came home from work and found the dog on the bed with the wife I’d know it’d been a bad day for her… animals have something we’re lacking… intuitive nature… I think is the word… wonderful story one I can really relate to thank you..

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