Most of us have experienced the kind of breakup where all we want to do is race to the nearest 7-Eleven in giant sweatpants, return to the couch, and bury our sorrows in a pint of Ben & Jerry’s. I’ve realized, however, that after a relationship ends, there is a much healthier, non-guilt-inducing alternative curled up in your windowsill at home — the cat.
The bonus? She doesn’t possess the verbal ability to utter the phrases, “It’s not you, it’s me,” “I don’t know if I really want a relationship,” or my personal favorite, “I just can’t be myself around you.” I’d take a little relentless meowing over those tiresome clich├®s any day.
After giving this some thought, I realized that cats have the power to heal you from the worst of breakups. Not only can they ease your pain and nurse you back to a confident state of singledom, but they are just so much better than your ex in general! Here are five reasons why.
That’s right! Why would you ever want something so predictable and short-lived as flowers or a Banana Republic shirt when you could receive a gift from your cat? Some of these gifts are tangible, and some are not.
Let’s consider the array of cheery possibilities: a catnip toy on your pillow, a piece of a houseplant at the foot of your bed, or an unexpected chirp or eye blink. The gift I received from my cat, Tulip, that really showed she loved me? A tiny dead mouse, who apparently had been living for quite some time in the wall behind my stove, placed gingerly inside my sneaker. OK, so maybe flowers would win over that one.
At first glance, this may seem like an ex would be preferable. Maybe they wouldn’t harass you to get out of bed. However, after a breakup, staying in bed for ridiculous amounts of time to wallow can seem especially appealing. Usually, it does absolutely nothing to perk you up or begin the road to recovery. Well, let’s face it, when your cat decides the rest time is over, it’s over!
If you sleep past your cat’s normal feeding time or at a time she doesn’t view as desirable for a nap, you’re out of luck. The paws will be swiping, tails tickling your cheek, and you’ll feel that heavy lump of dead weight on your back as you feebly attempt to avoid the cat’s antics by lying on your stomach. This is not to mention the plethora of whiney sounds that will be directed straight into your ear. Nice try! Time to get up.
Netflix and Hulu binging is pretty much fun any day, but when recovering from a breakup, it is especially satisfying. Some people like to watch the shows like Sex and the City and analyze their relationship. Others prefer to zone out to hilarious comedy shows to distract themselves from the despair that is their current life.
Whatever your guilty TV pleasure (ahem, Keeping up with the Kardashians), your cat is game to curl up and watch it with you. There is no arguing over the remote, although it is a little annoying when she bats at it and it falls into the dust balls behind the couch. Cats also don’t judge TV quality. Who are they to call something trash? They like to play in it!
Have you ever noticed the look on your cat’s face when she sees herself in the mirror? It’s like she’s thinking, “Oh, there I am. So what?” My cat has a blank stare when she looks in a mirror, as if she sees her reflection and acknowledges it but she just doesn’t really care.
Every morning, when I put on my makeup, I swear Tulip peers at me curiously, like, “Why even bother?” It’s because cats and all pets are above esthetic beauty. You can be walking around the house in those gigantic sweatpants I mentioned earlier, with matted-down hair and unbrushed teeth, and your cat looks at you the same exact way. As long as you show love to them, and you don’t shout too many expletives when they hock up a hairball or inappropriately lick their nether regions, they will love you right back. Beautified or not.
Sometimes exes actually know what they’re missing. They know you’re amazing, but something in their own mind or past holds them back from embracing the awesomeness that is you and their ability to function in a healthy relationship. Cats, however, always know you’re pretty spectacular. Not only do you feed them daily, but you brush them, pet them, and play with them amidst all your other life commitments.
Pretty much on a daily basis, I tell Tulip how much I love her. I’ve done this with every pet I’ve ever had the privilege of owning. Your pet loves you in all your states — solitary or social, joyful or disheartened, silly or brooding, attached or single. They cuddle, they purr, they do weird things that make you laugh, and they’re downright cute. They provide you with a comfort that is home. Your cat is the perfect thing to ease you back after a breakup, and this comes from a girl who’s run out for her fair share of Ben & Jerry’s.
Has your cat helped you through a breakup? Let us know in the comments!
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About the author: Kate E. Lyle is a teacher by day, fitness enthusiast by night, and is forever trying to catch up on the ever-growing stack of books on her nightstand. Her precious cat, Tulip, can be found curled up next to her as she sips Pinot and scours the internet for the next travel adventure she can’t afford. A New England native, Kate is a proud cat connoisseur of Connecticut.