Animals have mental health too

Before we get into this post I just wanted to state that this post was meant for yesterday however none of my work saved that day and I was forced to re-write the whole thing. I was very emotional while re-writing this and it may come across in my post but I don’t want my overemotional self to distract for todays goals, which is raising awareness for our pets mental health. They suffer just as much as we do, if not more so.

So today is still part of Mental Health Awareness Week and opening up more a little on just a small portion of what I have gone through, just a little of the invisible battle I fight on a day to day basis has me feeling a little relieved, proud, hopeful (that’s it’s helped someone), nervous and beyond anxious. I couldn’t tell you how many times I almost convinced myself not to post one of my posts but pushed through my mental health that is forever raising its ugly head and clicked that ‘publish’ button.

But more than anything it has left me emotionally and mentally fried and on edge. As relieving as it is to finally have some of my demons off my chest and out into the open its still an incredibly difficult thing to open up about so publicly and I still have to stop myself from re-reading through my posts, knowing that I would find some reason for me to delete them. So I do apologise if any of my posts have any grammar/spelling mistake or words missing but I do fear that if I let myself read over them so thoroughly then I’m going to convince myself to delete it. Defeating the whole purpose of writing it in the first place and starting this blog.

So I want to take the attention from my mental health today and direct it onto our pets. Now when we look at animals and think about animals we don’t really take into account that our animals, our pets could be suffering from mental health illnesses. We know that like us, they can have physical illnesses/disabilities, so why do we never think that they can have mental illnesses and disabilities too?

Read my blog post: How, Tilly became Kitt-Katt

Whether you have been following my blog for a long time or not a lot of you will know that I have a cat called Kitt-Katt (yes like the chocolate). Whom I have had for a little over six years now, Kitt-Katt has become my little heart and soul, I don’t know what I’d do without him in my life.

I believe when we pick a pet for ourselves we pick them because we see something in them that we see in ourselves, something broken or lost, or a means to feel needed in life by having another life depend on you. What ever the reason that pet has little piece of our personality in them, it draws us to them in ways we can’t explain.

When I would look at Kitt, It instantly dawned on me that he was cat version of me. I was/am a creature that like him is full of so much anxiety that I’m almost bouncing out of my skin from it, trying to blend into the background and shadows of the world in the hopes to avoid human contact and interaction as much as I can. What I saw in him broke my heart, I couldn’t find it in myself to feel sorry for me, but for him? It wasn’t something I wanted, it was then I’d decided that we’d both find away to beat our mental problems together.

When I first got him he was so very timid, frightful of everything and at times, a little vicious when his fear over took him and he lashed out at someone (usually I’d find my self on the receiving end of his fear/anger because I didn’t want him harming anyone else). He was also worrying skinny to the point you could see bones sticking out of him, it appeared he was so frightful in his last owners home that he couldn’t even bring himself to eat so he never, he let himself starve.

As much as I wanted too I couldn’t really blame his previous owner fully for his condition. She was just uneducated before getting her cat and clearly thought that little care went into looking after one which is probably why she thought it would be a good idea to have one while she had a newly running around and rowdy toddler. I’m angry that she never took having a kitten so seriously, that she never did any research or that she thought her child wouldn’t be so hands on with an animal. It was clear that there was no teaching going on when it came to handling and caring for an animal, and that is what makes me so angry.

If you are going to get an animal for your child, the least you can do is teach your child how to be delicate with the animal, how to play and properly behave around an animal (as apposed to having your child throw a 4 month old kitten into a washing machine and probably just telling your child off for the one action, instead of taking time to sit down and educate them a little so the next time they came a cross an animal they’d be more confident and gentle around it). But this isn’t what this post is about.

For a week he wouldn’t move out of a corner in a room under the dining table out of fear. I could see it in his eyes and it broke my heart. You could see he was suffering and I just couldn’t take it.

When I had finally managed to get him exploring the house a little more, he would instantly run back into that corner of his at the slightest of sounds. After 6 long, hard months of trail and error I had finally got Kitt to the point where he was sleeping in my bed with me, sitting on the couch, sitting next to me while I read a book. I had him playing with toys and gaining a lot more weight.

My boyfriend giving my Kitt-Katt attention and me, taking this opportunity to take a selfie of Kitt-Katt while he has a look of pure love and bliss on his face from the attention he’s being given. (He was also purring really loudly here -hence why I look like I’m about to laugh…I was, he only purrs that loud for my boyfriend!)

Kitt (like myself) instantly took to my boyfreind and was already at ease with him, it forever melts my heart seeing them together and the bond that was instantly in place. Even I had to work for my bond with Kitt and he’s my cat!

It was more than pretty clear that Kitt suffers with extreme anxiety and PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) and a helping hand as well patience and gentle love and care. It’s taken five years to see a big difference in that time he has had kittens and (before he has his kittens there was no need in getting him done, he wasn’t aggressive with other cats, very submissive and didn’t seem to know why he owned a peinse -for the longest time we all believed I had a gay cat running arounf the house which was prefect for me, it meant I wouldn’t have worry about getting him done and dealing with any babies he makes -so there was never a need to have him done until he met my sister’s cat Misty-Moo.) been done, he has gone missing for two days and come back, he has had a few blow outs and a few set backs but now, now he’s like a totally different cat.

When my Kitt met Misty-Moo he was instantly smitten with her, and it seem her with him. They instantly started playing together. This would be the first time my Kitt played with another cat, he was usually scared of other cats -female and males alike- and only played with humans. You would finding them sleeping side by side together, taking little naps and my Kitt even caught a mouse for her! (Don’t get me wrong I hate when my cats bring dead things into the garden, but the gesture in itself and coming from my Kitt was beyond sweet and something I didn’t even think he would ever do. It really seems as though my Kitt has fallen in love with Misty-moo)

Today Kitt’s anxiety is much less sever than it was 5 years ago, and although he still has his bad days/weeks, he seems to be a lot more happier. It wasn’t easy in getting him to this place, and there had been more than a few occasions where I almost took him to the vets asking for some kind of anxiety medication for him but I wasn’t ready to give up just yet, I still wasn’t convinced that his mental health was so sever that he needed the medication, I still believed he just needed to be shown the proper love, care and patience.

I have another pet with a mental health issue which I will post tomorrow as the last day of Mental Health Awareness Week (though I am going to continue posting a lot more mental health awareness related posts for Mental Health Awareness Month)

I hope that this post can make you look and view your pets in a different light, and if your pet seem extra timid or angry/vicious it could be for a really good reason. They could be mentally or even physically suffering! Take them to the vet, see if their behaviour is caused by a bone or skin or something other unseen problem. If not, stop and think maybe your pet is suffering mentally then, and if so, you then need to determine whether it’s so bad that your love, care, patience, time and energy won’t be able to help them then please take them to the vet and get them the medication they need. I don’t like the thought of any animals on medication, but like with us humans sometimes we need that extra bit of help that no one, not even ourselves can give us.

Last week I had made the decision for myself to go back onto anti-depressants, I have them sat in my cupboard untouched because I’m still not entirely sure about it, however the past couples of months have made me think more and more, and I have been thinking that I may need that little extra bit of help until I can fully help myself right now. And I’m not sure if I’ll even end up taking them this year but I want others to know that it’s OKAY if the help of others and yourself isn’t getting you anywhere, if their help isn’t helping, it doesn’t make you weak or a bad person for needing medication. Everyone has their ways of help, sometimes our problems are more extreme than others which mean sometimes that extra bit of help is needed.

And it doesn’t make you a bad pet owner if you can’t help your pet. Like us sometimes the need more help than we can provide and that’s OKAY. That’s helping them and giving them the relief and peace they never even knew existed. Helping your pet doesn’t make you a bad pet owner.

And to pet owners thinking about giving up their pet due to behaviour, please just take a second to stop and think… What if there more to it that meets the eye, what you can still get to keep your pet and help your pet feel the peace and love it needs.

Please don’t give up on your pets, they wouldn’t give up on you!

17 thoughts on “Animals have mental health too

  1. Kitt-Katt is gorgeous, it was heartbreaking to read about how he was suffering so much from anxiety when you first got him, but I’m so glad that he found his way to you because you’ve put in so much time and care to make him feel better and build his confidence. It’s so sweet that he gets along so well with your boyfriend and with your sister’s cat. I’m glad he is a happier cat now and I hope his mental health continues to improve. I also have a timid cat although she was never as timid as Kitt-Katt. She was a rescue cat and we don’t know much about her past. It took a while to build up her trust but now she is very friendly with me and most of my family, although she is still scared of strangers. It’s so true that animals can have mental health issues just like humans, and they deserve our love, care and patience! 😻

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It broke my heart seeing the pain and fear in his eyes all the time. And hes been getting along so much better, especially since having kittens, he spends most of his time sleeping next to Misty Moo (his girlfriend and my sisters cat) and playing with the kittens. I’m so proud of him!

      Oh poor thing! It’s people like you that make cats like her remember what love is though and I’m so glad that you were the ones to take her in!💝

      Kitt still runs from strangers but now he paused to make sure they are strangers where as before of he heard a footstep he’d be instantly gone.

      It’s all they need, it’s to be treated the way we want and need to be treated💜💝

      Like

      1. I’m so glad that Kitt has been getting along better, and Misty Moo must be a source of comfort to him too! I bet their kittens are adorable! Are you keeping them all or finding them other homes?

        I’m also so glad we took in my cat Lizzie, because I don’t like to think of what might have happened to her if she hadn’t found a good home, or a loving owner. She’s such a sweet and loving cat! Exactly, cats and all animals need and deserve to be treated well! 😻

        Liked by 1 person

        1. They are so adorable! Funny story, a lot of us kept a kitten each🙈
          A few died from kitten fading syndrome, and there was one still birth but the other we all two of my little sisters kept a kitten, my mum kept one, I fell in love with one and I was able to give one to a really close friend so I get to see him pretty much every day too!

          I have the same thoughts about my cats! Sometimes I feel I’m not a good enough pet owner for them but then when I think about where they came from, what they have come from it makes me think well I’m not the worst in love them with all my heart which I know they know.

          I’m so glad you did too, she couldn’t possibly be in better hands than such a loving caring pet owner!💕

          Like

  2. Awesome post! Thank you for sharing! This is something many people do not think about. Animals have fears, memories, and trauma just like humans – and usually caused by humans! If you (people in general) can’t handle it – do not get a pet – especially a rescue.

    Like

    1. Exactly!

      I wish so many people took this into consideration when getting a pet. You never know what a rescue has been through and they usually need that extra love and care x

      Like

  3. Aw I’m so glad Kitt-Katt got an owner like you who could give him the love and treatment he deserves. He’s beautiful! People forget that animals can be really affected by traumatic/negative experiences for a long time. We once owned a hamster who displayed anxious tendencies and was incredibly fearful of interaction to the point where he would scream – I never realised before then that rodents could experience such things but he must have had a bad time at the major pet shop we got him from (which doesn’t surprise me at all now I’ve found out how bad their animal welfare is). Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much! He truly is my heart and soul. As are my other two now💝

      Oh poor thing! Its crazy how people just write animals off as being so strong mentally because “they’re just animals” but that’s not the case and they are so much more than “just animals”

      I’m glad you enjoyed this post 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. This is so true!! I think people are quite to forget animals have brians, feelings, emotions etc.
    Your cat is adorable.
    Thank you for sharing.
    Alyssa
    THESACREDSPACEAP.COM

    Liked by 1 person

    1. If this post can get people to just REALLY check in on their pet, then I’m the happiest girl around.

      They offer and give us so much, more than we could ever repay them for and yet a lot of people forget that our animals are victims of abuse who suffer mental health problems because of them too. They think and feel all the same as we do, if not a little stronger…

      Thank you so much! Hes my little soul💝 and thank you for taking the time to read my post, It means a lot to me😄

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Great post, I honestly didn’t realise animals could have like OCD. I knew dogs could have depression as I knew someone who had a dog who had depression. It’s crazy to think that are animals actually suffer in the same ways we do. Thankyou for the informative post 😊 x

    Liked by 1 person

  6. This is so true – it’s so important to remember that animals have mental health too. My Mum used to have a cat called Sooty who was diagnosed with OCD – I knew dogs could have it but didn’t realise cats could too! It came down to him compulsively cleaning himself to the point where he would lose his fur and make his skin sore, and it got worse whenever he was stressed. At this point my OCD was undiagnosed but I was really struggling, and he was always there whenever I’d go to my Mum’s on a bad day. It was almost like we helped each other when we were at our worst! He would be straight on my lap for cuddles whenever I was upset and he’d instantly make me feel better. Whenever he was struggling he would never want cuddles or fuss, so it was so important to give him his space and he’d eventually come to you when he was ready. We always rely on our pets to make us feel better, but it’s so important to look out for their mental health too. Thank you for highlighting this – and Kitt Kat is such a gorgeous kitty too!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh poor kitty and poor you! OCD isn’t nice to have but it’s so amazing that you both had each other, what are the odds your mum would end up with a cat that OCD too? I feel like it’s the universe way of giving us a little helping hand, giving something we didnt know we needed🐾💝

      We expect so much from our pets that I do notice a lot of people neglect to think about the bigger picture and dive into what is really going on with their pets.

      And with everyone opening up about their mental health… it made me think, who’s opening up and being the voice for our pets?

      More awareness needs to be brought to their mental health too🙌🏼

      Thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment. And thank you, I think hes gorgeous too😍

      Liked by 2 people

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