Sunday, October 28, 2012

Having RA has made me a cat!

I can't say that it just happened and one day I woke up (well on those few occasions when I am awake) and realized I had taken on so many of my four legged kitty companions personality traits.  In reality, I have been slowly transforming into a cat for over fourteen years.

I ask myself often if I didn't have ra would I have such a close affinity to this animal? A resounding NO pops into my brain. Until I yawn, circle around slowly and curl back up on my bed.

And how exactly, you may be asking yourself by now, have I become a cat.  Well let me digress here for a moment. Over 14 years ago I was diagnosed with ra and overnight the transformation started.

First, I slept (and still do often) for over 14 hours a day!  And that is often just the minimum. Sleeping is a necessity for raers as well as for our four legged counterparts. But for us it is not traditionally wired into our brains. Until, that is, we are invaded by the ra bug and instantaneously our sleep button is turned on. Like cats we love to find a nice warm spot (no matter the time of day or night and yes our warmth may be generated by a heating pad), snuggle in and promptly fall asleep. According to Random Facts, "on average, cats spend 2/3 of every day sleeping. That means a nine-year-old cat has been awake for only three years of its life." That sounds about right. Let's see…fourteen years of ra puts me awake for about 5 years since 1999. No wonder I get so little done! But really, I can't help it! I just have to curl up and sleep!

Iams informs us that "nighttime is the right time". I can't completely agree with them about that fact but from a cat's perspective, that is absolutely correct. For me the clock slowly changed. It didn't happen in one quick 24 or 48 hour period but rather grew out of the constant night time roaming to find pain relief. And after many years of this behavior, I believe, my clock has been reset permanently. But unlike a cat, I do have trouble sleeping, I am not getting enough exercise and I am not instinctively crepuscular. And no, I don't hunt at night (well maybe for a bottle of pain medicine) and my eyes do not detect motion in minimal lighting. In fact, my eyes hardly detect anything anymore. Yet, I find myself up with my two kitties on a regular basis. And yes, we both head into the kitchen to fix ourselves a nice nighttime snack.

Did you know that cats also like to rub everything! And I do mean everything. For them this is their way of marking their territory. For me, I also rub everything but not furniture or other humans. Rather, I rub myself. I rub myself with every ointment out there known to man to help curtail the often throbbing in my joints. Yes, rubbing is our way of marking our territory. 

According to Iams "for the most part, cats get along well with people and other cats.  Sometimes they display their natural instinct to be alone, but who doesn't need some "me time" now and again?  However, when a cat displays too much introversive behavior, it can be a sign that something is seriously stressing her out". Mmmmmm….sounds just like me! And any other human out there with ra. Of course we are stressed out, of course we display too much introversive behavior. And indeed, there is something seriously stressing us out…we have ra!

One of my favorite Iams feline facts (an soooo very appropriate for me)… "Is your cat displaying more aggression toward a particular person? He or she is likely the source of the stress.  To help overcome this, have that person feed your cat and give her lots of treats throughout the day.  Also, he or she should try talking to your cat in a softer, higher pitched voice that soothes a cat's sensitive ears." OK one and all…take heed! Start feeding me treats throughout the day. I prefer chocolates, caramels, and an occasional healthy cooked meal. And by all means do talk to me a in softer voice. Now wouldn't it be such a pleasure to walk into say my doctor's office and have him put this into practice. That alone would make me start to purrrrr!

And one practice I have already implemented that Iam's recommends is to "relieve stress with fun".  I try to adhere to this advice on a regular basis and can attest to the fact that it really does work. It truly does! I don't use fishing pole type toys (although some of you men out there might want to give that a try) but I have found that flying a kite at the crack of dawn on a desolate beach brings a smile to my face. Sure, I have to go back to that rubbing thing again immediately but it is well worth it! Try implementing a bucket list for yourself and go for it!

Yes, indeed I am now completely transformed. I am almost 100% cat! I even have the additional hair growing everywhere to prove it. Thank you pregnisone for that!!!

Have a purrrrfectly delightful day!