To Clone a Cat

One of Mama Kat’s writing prompts for this week is an interesting but rather hypothetical one: if you could clone a favorite pet from your past, which one would you choose and why? Now I have absolutely no idea about the science behind cloning and zero interest in looking it up, but I’m assuming from the question it could be a now-deceased pet. As such, I’m assuming the real question is really about bringing back to life said animal.

I must admit here that I’m not that much of a pet lover. I’ve had cats pretty much my entire life, but I can never seem to truly tune into their needs. It could be that I’m not a cat person, but I don’t think I’m a dog person either.

The only pet I’ve had that I seemed to be somewhat attuned to, was Morse. My parents and I brought him home from the shelter when I was fifteen. He was a Norwegian forestcat crossbreed of about three to four months old when we got him.

We named him Morse after Inspector Morse from the TV series, because he immediately started investigating his surroundings when he got home with us. I remember wanting to name him Amor (Latin for “love”), because I was in grammar school. However, my father vetoed that, saying it sounded weird to call for “Amor” in the backyard.

Before we got Morse, we’d had Pluk. He was rather scared of me stepping on his tail accidentally because of not seeing him. Morse didn’t seem as scared.

Morse got sick with the cat flu right out of the shelter and always seemed to keep a weak respiratory system. He was very thin for a Norwegian forestcat crossbreed. Nonetheless, he made it to fifteen-years-old. During his last year of life, he declined both physically and cognitively, but my parents decided not to let him be put to sleep. He finally crossed the rainbow bridge on July 30, 2016. If I could revive any pet from the past, it’d certainly be Morse. I really loved his mischievous, adventurous and investigative nature.

If you could clone a favorite pet, who would it be and why?

Mama’s Losin’ It

An Okay Day

I once again want to write, but am not too inspired to write anything more than a diary entry. That’s okay though. After all, when I first created this blog, I intended it to be my personal space to share my feelings and thoughts.

Today was a relatively good day. It was better than yesterday at least. Yesterday evening, I landed in a bit of a crisis. The extra staff who had been having dinner with me in my room, said that, while I’d do stuff on the computer, she’d be back “in a while”. That confused me and my first response was to elope. Thankfully, the staff foudn me pretty soon, as it was freezing cold outside.

I talked some to her about my needs and wants re extra support and what they’d do with me. She suggested I get a daily or weekly calendar that has activities on it for me to do with the staff. She also understood that her being unclear about when she’d be back, was confusing for me.

Thankfully, today, I feel okay. I went for a walk in the morning. Then at 2PM, my mother-in-law came by. We had a cup of coffee in my room and then went for a walk. I got in over 13K steps total today, even though in the evening, it was raining so I couldn’t go for another walk.

My mother-in-law offered to buy me an interactive stuffed cat. It’s not really a toy, as it can’t be handled harshly, so isn’t suited for young children. It was specifically developed for adults with dementia. The cat makes soothing sounds, purrs and moves a little when stroked, meows, etc. It obviously has an on/off switch. I am not sure how crazy this would be, as it’s obviously not a real pet. However, I think I’d really like it. I seem to remember at day activities there was an interactive dog, but I’m not sure that one was the same sort of thing as the cat my mother-in-law is thinking of buying.

The evening was okay. I played some card games of mau-mau with the extra staff. I also helped her make coffee or tea for my fellow clients. That is, I told her which cups everyone uses and whether they drink coffee or tea. I actually enjoyed myself a little being in the communal room.

I started reading Hatch, the second book in Kenneth Oppel’s alien invasion trilogy, which came out last Tuesday. So far, I am totally rooting for the main characters. I mean, I hardly even care whether the aliens wipe out all of humankind if they leave our heroes alone. That may be a bit weird, but I at least know it isn’t real.

If I Could Have Any Pet

Today’s topic for Fandango’s Dog Days of August (#FDDA) is “pet”. One of the suggested topics is to talk about which animal you’d have if you could have any pet. I am going to use this topic as a starter for today’s blog entry.

As regular readers of my blog might know, my husband and I have a cat. We first got a cat, Harry, when we were first planning on living together in 2013. We’ve had Harry since kittenhood. However, he was pretty hyperactive, so we got Barry, thinking the two might make great playmates. Well, they didn’t, so we ultimately rehomed Harry. Now we still have Barry.

I always grew up with cats. The thing with them though is, they invariably seem to sense my inadequacy. Whether this is due to my blindness, I don’t know.

Regardless, cats aren’t quite as confortable with me as I’d like them to be. I still hope I will someday have a cat that will have a true liking for me, but that’s not in cats’ nature, I’m afraid. They’re more introverted than some other animals. Or maybe that’s just been the cats I’ve had so far.

All that to say that, if I could have any pet I wanted, I would like a dog. However, I’d for sure like it to be a psychiatric service dog as well as a trained guide dog. That seems a bit much, maybe, but I know some blind people whose guide dogs also help them with their mental health issues.

I may also want to have a pet rabbit or guinea pig. Rabbits generally need a lot of space, though my sister-in-law keeps three (if I’m correct) in her house. She does have a garden, so I hope they’re able to roam about there at times too.

In general though, I don’t think I’m that much of a pet person. I fed Barry dutifully when I still lived with my husband, and though I did take delight in it, I wouldn’t say he’s like my child or something. I’d love to develop more of a connection to Barry and to whichever future pets I might have. I do care deeply about them, but I just don’t feel the natural attunement to my pets that others do. I can’t say it’s an autistic thing, as a common autism stereotype (thanks, Temple Grandin) is that we have a strong connection to animals. I guess I for one don’t.

The Roles I Play

I haven’t been able to write much this week. I’ve been feeling really off lately. I may write more about that later. For now, I’m picking a prompt from the book The Year of You by Hannah Braime. It’s the first prompt in the book. It asks us to list the roles we play, such as daughter, sister, friend, etc. We’re supposed to think of as many as possible. Here goes.

1. I am a wife. My husband is the most important person in my life (after myself sometimes). My husband and I will be married nine years in September. The measures implemented due to COVID-19 were hard on our relationship. Tomorrow I’m for the first time in for months going to sleep at home with him.

2. I am a daughter. I don’t have the best relationship with my parents. It’s civil but distant.

3. I am a sister and by extension an aunt. I think now that my sister is a mother, we share even less common ground than before, but Janneke (my niece) is a good conversation starter.

4. I am a daughter-in-law and sister-in-law. Particularly with my mother-in-law, my relationship is good. She acts as my informal representative when needed.

5. I am a cat’s staff. I originally typed that I’m a cat Mommy or cat lady, but I think Barry sees me as nothing more than the one who provides him attention and food. Now I no longer do this, of course, as I no longer live with my husband. However, my husband says I helped socialize Barry.

6. I am a blogger. I have had one blog or another ever since 2007 (or 2002 if you count my online diary that gradually morphed into a blog).

7. I am a disability, mental health and autistic advocate. I don’t do nearly as much advocacy work as I did some ten years ago, but I still identify as an advocate.

8. I am a long-term care client. Well, this is probably self-explanatory.

9. I am a friend. I don’t have any offline friends, but I cherish the online friendships I’ve made over the years.

These are mostly roles I play based on the relationships I have with people in my life. With respect to my interests, personality traits and opinions, I am still pretty unsure.

What are the roles you play in life?

Working On Us Prompt: Pets and Emotional Support Animals for Mental Health

This week’s Working On Us prompt is all about pets and emotional support animals. There are several questions to answer as a prompt or you can write a narrative. I am going to go with the latter, but also incorporate the questions into my post.

I have never had a formal emotional support animal. I do hope to get a guide dog for the blind somedday that will hopefully be in some ways capable of supporting me emotionally too. I know of several people with guide dogs who feel their dogs serve them a purpose related to their mental health too.

For now, I have a cat. His name is Barry and he’s a six-year-old European shorthair (the “standard” breed for Dutch cats). We adopted him from the animal shelter my mother-in-law and sister-in-law work for in 2014. At the time, we had another cat too named Harry, but Harry was extremely hyperactive. We hoped that a companion for him would help him let out his hyperness in a healthy way. Barry however couldn’t handle it, so eventually we rehomed Harry to my sister-in-law.

I never quite bonded with Harry. I was always worried he’d shove my Braille display or other expensive equipment off my desk if he got the chance. At the time, I still resided in the mental hospital so only got home on week-ends. I really didn’t like Harry to be honest.

With Barry, I initially didn’t bond well either. Barry was very shy and reserved to begin with. I remember clearly when Barry first came to me for a cuddle.

Now that I live with my husband, I am Barry’s main feeder, so he’s taken more to me. As a result, he definitely supports me emotionally. He sometimes lies next to me in bed when I’m sleeping off a depressive state. His care also provides me with some much-needed structure. Barry isn’t an emotional support animal officially, but having him around definitely helps me sometimes.

In my opinion, any animal that can be kept as a pet can be an emotional support animal. So can farm animals. In 2005, I went cow-cuddling with the blindness rehabilitation center. I didn’t like it at the time, because I didn’t see the purpose. Now I would love to go cow-cuddling again.

Similarly, horses are definitely useful as therapy or support animals. As regular readers of my blog know, I go horseback riding at an adaptive riding school once a week. Though it isn’t officially therapeutic, it definitely helps my mood and overall mental health.

I also have experience caring for horses that I didn’t ride. In 2012, I went to a horse stable as part of my day activities. I had a horse there named Flame, a Shetlander, whom I often brushed, went for walks with or just cuddled. Flame could’ve been my emotional support animal.

#WeekendCoffeeShare (July 14, 2019)

Yay, it’s Sunday! I am once again joining in with the #WeekendCoffeeShare fun. It’s relatively early for me to write this post, so the most recent drink I had was actually coffee. I usually drink only one cup of coffee at breakfast )or lunch, as it was nearly afternoon), but my husband made me a second cup saying it’s good for the heart. I don’t know whether that’s true, but oh well.

If we were having coffee, I’d share that my husband picked up my new Windows laptop on Monday and installed it on Tuesday. The adaptive tech guy came by on Wednesday to bring me a new Braille display and install the JAWS screen reader on my computer, so that I could actually use it. I have been playing with my computer ever since. I hope the tech company will get me training on the screen reader and Windows 10, but even without training, I like this computer much better than my Mac. Right now, my husband is resetting my Mac, so that my mother-in-law can have it. I think I just closed the tab with instructions on it from my iPhone.

My mother-in-law offered to pay more for the Mac than the Windows laptop had cost, but we refused. I don’t want to get extra money from switching computers.

If we were having coffee, I’d also share that I visited the living facility in Raalte that’s with my current care agency on Wednesday. It was great. There’s tons of sensory equipment in both the house and day center. The staff are also really nice. The house they felt was the most suitable for me, has twelve clients living there. There are two staff during the day and an extra staff during times the clients get showered and such. The manager and care consultant were a bit vague about the waiting list to move in, but I hope to hear more about that soon.

If we were having coffee, I’d share that yesterday, my husband had the yearly driver’s day at his work. He is a truck driver for a large transporting company and the driver’s day is sort-of-mandatory. I spent the day at my in-laws. Well, my father-in-law had just left for vacation, so I was alone with my mother-in-law. We went for a walk with her dog. Wow, it was hot and humid! My husband came to my in-laws’ house after a few hours when he’d had enough of the event at work. My mother-in-law cooked us dinner, although she was interrupted to pick up a kitten from the animal shelter. She volunteers to bottle-feed kittns that are too young to be kept at the shelter. The kitten was lovely!

How was your week?