I love to follow Why My Cat Is Sad @MYSADCAT on Twitter, postings by Tom Cox about his beloved 19-year-old cat named The Bear. Of course every cat is special – but The Bear has a peculiarly wistful expression which has led Cox to create a series of amusing tweets about his cat. Recently Cox posted a blog about living with a deaf elderly cat.
I was particularly struck by the line ‘The fresh countryside air here in Devon is one of the things that I convince myself has extended his life, along with the rubs I give him in that spot on his chest he especially likes and the fact that I tell him “I love you, The Bear” every day.’ It is the part about telling his cat that he loves him, how it may have extended its life, that caught my attention. As a cat owner myself (two perfect cats from a rescue centre), I tell my cats multiple times every day that I love them. I am sure it contributes to their health and happiness. I know how good it makes me feel!
But this has led me to consider how often – or how seldom – we tell people that we love them. It is too easy to assume that ‘they know that I love them’, rather than speaking the words. Or perhaps we may find it easy to say so to people very close to us – our children or our partners – but we wouldn’t dream of saying ‘I love you’ to a friend. Or maybe we think it is enough just to sign an email or text with XX.
Just think about what Tom Cox has suggested – that telling a creature that he loves him has extended the life of that dear animal. Why not the same with humans? What if every time we said ‘I love you’ to someone, it gave them a reason to keep on living just a little bit longer than they might have? And what if they will keep on living with a feeling of being valued and important to someone else?
And what if every time we said ‘I love you’, it also gave us a reason to keep on living? Just from the sheer joy of sharing our good feelings with the wonderful people in our lives?
Still feel too shy to do it in person? Then why not write someone a letter? Not an email, not a text – but a handwritten letter on paper. Let them know why they are important to you, what they mean to you, how they inspire you. Tell them that you love them. After all, how will they really know if you don’t say so?
And maybe, just maybe – like The Bear – along with a little more happiness, we might be giving them just a little more life. Life and light.