At stressful times we are grateful to have our cats in our lives

A Reddit.com user summed it up: “After a stressful weekend, I’m so grateful to have this monkey in my life”. The ‘monkey’ referred to is his/her tabby cat (see below). And it got me thinking. It seems to me that life has become more stressful and I believe it will continue along that path. There are two sources of stress: the background events in life such as the Covid-19 pandemic which has stressed a lot of people. It’s the fear of death which has done it. To which you can add the constant international stressors which are getting worse. I’m referring to Russia and China and the constant friction they generate with their infractions upon international law such as the recent one when the President Lukashenko of Belarus hijacked a Ryanair plane to get his hands on a dissident blogger/journalist, who genuinely fears that he will be tortured to death. Lukashenko is supported by Putin. Of course, they’d say that the West is just as bad and there is some truth in it.

Cats can help us through stressful moments in our lives
Cats can help us through stressful moments in our lives. Photo: Reddit user: u/thebrittaj.
Until September 7th I will give 10 cents to an animal charity for every comment. It is a way to help animal welfare without much effort at no cost. Comments help this website too, which is about animal welfare.

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To these background stressors we have to add stressful events in our personal lives, which occur from time-to-time. My girlfriend is seriously ill and she may die. It comes into my head all the time. It’s a worry. But then I turn to my cat who’s on my lap. I’m in bed and he looks to me for a cuddle and I oblige. It’s give-and-take; it is a friendship with great mutual benefits.

One of those benefits is that when you interact with your cat you immediately slowdown and you forget your worries. It puts a temporary break on your life and transports you to one side, away from those constant niggling stressors. And when you gently stroke your cat, metaphorically speaking you also gently stroke yourself. It feeds back to your mind, relaxing it.

There’s too much rushing about nowadays for a lot of people. Interacting with your cat puts a break into this modern, human behaviour. Everything seems to have to be done at high speed. People find their own way of dealing with. The companionship of a domestic cat is far better than cannabis.

It seems remarkable to me but these days a lot of tradesmen (and office workers?) go to work on cannabis. How do I know? You only have to walk down the street in the early hours of the morning when people are going to work to see tradesmen puffing on marijuana leaving a trail, 100 yard’s long behind them, of that familiar and pungent smell. These are young men going to work and they’ve got to start with a couple of cannabis fags because it’s all too stressful for them. That’s sad and dangerous.

Life is becoming more competitive because there are more people. It is the rat race magnified up by the increase in population size. It gets people scrabbling around for a competitive edge and indeed for more space to live in and create food. So, Russia is claiming possession of the Arctic Circle and the minerals at the North Pole which will be accessible when it melts thanks to global warming. They tell other countries to clear off and leave it alone.

And the former president Trump tried to buy Greenland from Denmark because that’s melting too and he knows that the world will need more precious metals and minerals in order to build more batteries for electric vehicles and high-tech devices. There will be more high-tech, more people, more mining, more destruction of the habitat of many wild animals – think deforestation above all else. The polar bear is starving to death because the ice is melting. They’ve got to swim huge distances to find seals to kill to eat. Skinny polar bears end up wandering through human settlements scavenging through dustbins. It creates human-animal conflicts. These will get worse.

China is building military bases in the Indian Ocean and in contested areas near Japan and other Asian countries. They have a strong desire to invade Taiwan to reclaim it. It really irks them that Taiwan broke free and they want to annex the country and bring it back into the fold and they’ll achieve it, which is going to mean an invasion.

The threat of war is real and is building. It is going to be a conflict between Russia, China and the West. It’s a matter of time and this is another stressor. And, in the UK, population growth means more homes have to be built on greenbelt land, by which I mean open landscape protected under the law against developments. That means less countryside landscapes to walk in and enjoy. Connecting with nature is essential for human welfare but because of population growth we have to destroy nature and build over it. This harms both us and wildlife.

For many people, one of life’s great stressors is the fact that international leaders don’t do enough to solve problems. Lots of words are said and great speeches made but not enough is done in terms of action which is a constant source of irritation. Leaders are complicit in bad behaviour if they fail to take action.

Life’s getting more stressful because of continued human population growth which needs, quite honestly, to be curbed if we are to achieve stability and sustainability. In the meantime, I would recommend that you adopt a rescue cat from your nearest animal rescue centre and take the benefits that this brings with great thanks.

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