I’m the one having the lesson.
What do you do when one of your animals is sick (very out of balance) and she tells you she must go outside into nature to heal?
That’s the question I faced last weekend when Sakhara announced that her chronic digestive problems (unofficially not diagnosed as pancreatitis) will only be fully healed if she spends time in nature.
Being close to the earth is healing for animals – and for us as well. Getting to touch the actual earth with your feet – feeling the energies of the Earth – the wind in your fur (hair and on your skin) – smelling the woods – the leaves rotting in the fall, the flowers of spring and summer – it’s a sensory fiesta!!!
Keeping cats inside puts them into a totally artificial environment which lacks mental and emotional stimulation, as well as appropriate motivations for exercise, excitement, and joy. Cats are literally built to hunt. Inside a human dwelling the occasional bug or mouse might show up, but can YOU imagine NEVER leaving your home for your entire life?????
Of course, you can’t.
You would think it a prison.
And you would be right.
By definition, keeping cats inside creates hazards that we humans don’t acknowledge for the most part. Cats can’t possibly live as healthy or interesting a life when restricted to a house or apartment. Their entire sensory system responds to smells and movements, and being indoors all the time is BOOOOOORING.
They get less exercise, too. If that’s bad for humans, it’s also bad for animals. There is just no substitute for the sights, sounds, smells, and textures of nature – the wind in your fur, the smells of each season, the scents of other animals, the trees to climb, the birds to watch (and to catch, and to eat).
Yes, catching and eating food. What wild cat have you ever seen building a fire and roasting their food before eating it? Raw and freshly caught (or slightly aged) is what cats love to eat – are designed to eat – need to eat to have healthy digestive systems and bodies.
“OK,” you may be saying, “but what about predators that eat cats?”
“Trust me,” said Sakhara. “Trust that this is what is best for me to do. I won’t put myself into danger. I know I’m not fit – that you cut my nails – that I need to stay fairly near the house. I’m not trying to get myself injured or killed. I just need to be on the Earth – to fully feel the energies of the Earth. Trust that this is best for me.”
So I’ve taken the leap of faith and I’m allowing Sakhara to spend part of each day outside. She seems better – MUCH better. She comes in after a short time and sleeps deeply, more at peace. She seems happier, too.
Violet worries about her. So do I. Violet doesn’t want to go out. She wasn’t introduced to the outside world as a kitten. Sakhara was an indoor/outdoor cat for the first 12-18 months of her life. Sakhara is wise about surviving outside. Violet has been the over-protected, pampered Siamese. I’m regretting now that I have kept her in. I debated and debated this in my head over the years, but it just doesn’t seem normal or healthy to me for a cat to live in an artificial environment.
So Violet and I are learning that Sakhara knows what she needs. We are learning to trust. And Sakhara is thriving. I started writing this blog when I began my vacation, and now, over a week later, I see a much healthier cat when I observe Sakhara.
It’s important that we listen to what our animals tell us they need. Big lesson for me at so many levels.