Animals can play a very important role in our mental and emotional well-being. In the case of dogs they force us to get outside and exercise and meet new people. The love and dependency of another being can move us away from negative aspects of our lives.

As a massage therapist and well-being practitioner, I have a duty to look after my own health and well-being. But I’m human and  don’t always feel good and there are times in my life where I’ve needed something to get me back into a better place.

Here I share a very personal story and heart felt experience with you.

The Radiator Boy

Figaro came into my life a few years back at a time when I was in the depths of despair and felt utterly unloved.

I went to the cat sanctuary and asked them to give me their most difficult cat to foster. I wanted to connect with someone or something who shared my feelings of being unwanted.

They were inundated with cats and there were lots of cats in a massive caged enclosure. I passed Figaro who was crouching down hoping not to be noticed and I stroked him. He was filthy and thin and covered in matted hair. I assumed he was elderly. He sniffed my fingers. They said, “that’s weird – he doesn’t let anyone touch him”. They also informed me that nobody would want him.

I said “this is the cat”

When I filled the forms in, the guy was embarrassed and crossed out the words on the sheet that said in giant scrawl ‘extremely aggressive’. He muttered something. I pretended not to notice.

I got him home a little apprehensive as to what I had taken on. Yet Figaro rushed out of his cat box, strutted around inspecting his new home and looking overjoyed. Later that night, I thought he was howling, but in fact when I saw his face, he was smiling. Did you know that cats can smile?

A great big Cheshire Cat smile

In the following week he allowed me to comb his filthy matted hair even though it hurt him. Occasionally when the pain was too much, he would gently open his mouth and put it around my hand to tell me to back off.

There was a problem though. His breath stank so badly. It was intolerable! I took him to the vet and discovered his teeth were rotten and some had snapped off. No wonder he was grumpy! He’d been a scared boy in a lot of pain. Several teeth were removed and medication given and the smell improved immediately.

Figaro became the Radiator Boy

It turned out he had only two years left to live as he had kidney disease which was why he was so thin. He liked to stay warm by the radiator and became virtually attached to it.

We had some great party tricks. When friends came to visit, I would cradle him in my arms with his head leaning over my shoulder. I would then bounce him like a baby and swirl him around in my arms to his delight. I would come to a stop with his little face beaming the Cheshire Cat grin. My friends would howl with laughter because they’d never seen a cat with such a big smile before.  He would reward me by shoving the insides of his ears over my nose for a good old rub.

The time came to say goodbye,  and here I will end my story. We all have such a short time and if only humans could learn a thing or two from animals.

I can’t express how much this little creature helped me to get over a difficult time in my life. Two unwanted unloved people found each other. I will never forget him.

Dukkha muccantu

(May all beings be free from suffering)

Thank you Figaro. We believed in each other

Figaro was a foster cat from Lost Cats Brighton. The link takes you to a donation page. Please help them in their important work and quest to help find homes for kitties in need. Or maybe you have space and the love for a cat or animal in need of a forever home?

Do you have a story about a loved animal? Maybe they help you or helped you in life? Please feel free to comment below as I would love to hear your stories

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