Finding Cancer Comfort in a Four-Legged Friend

Being covered in cat fur feels wonderful.

Four years ago, my boyfriend and I moved into the flat we call our home. Aside from the usual assortment of necessities that you look for when you’re searching for an apartment, one of the most important things to me was that it be pet friendly. Or, more specifically, cat friendly.

I grew up with cats and I missed owning one. So after making sure our landlord added a line in the lease that said we could have a cat, we made our way to our local SPCA. A few hours later, we were on our way home with a grey and white fur ball named Frogger. Frogger kept himself occupied on the trip home by singing the song of his people and attempting to slice his carrier box open with his claws.

Time moved on and he became part of our little family. He’s our snuggler, CFO (Chief Feline Officer) and the reason why the occasional grey and white tumbleweed rolls down the hallway. When I came home after being told I had cancer, he jumped into my lap and purred and kept me company while I hugged him, waiting for my boyfriend to come home.

There’s a rich and wonderful history of animals serving as therapy companions, but I never really thought too much about it. I didn’t have to; didn’t think I’d need to. And now here I was, an absolute wreck, hanging onto our cat for dear life. Who rescues who?

The answer to that question is that you both do. On the days when I’d be exhausted from chemo or radiation or just from thinking too much about everything, Frogger would find me, cuddle up next to me and purr. I’d often joke and say, “I’m going to teach you how to make me a cup of tea”, knowing that if he could, he probably would.

Finding comfort is a necessary piece of feeling better, getting better. It could be a favorite pillow, your knitting, a loved one’s hand or the comforting weight of a fifteen-pound grey and white cat settling in on your lap for a snooze. That soft, well-worn, comfortable spot is where you go when it all seems just too, too much. And the place you return to again and again.