From witches to elderly hoarders, stereotypes about females paired with felines are rarely positive. Tell that to the legions of women who believe their relationship with their cat is more intense than any dog-owner could understand.
Today’s Guest Post is by Linda M Schoenberg, V.M.D., Ph.D., owner of Just Cats Hospital in South Euclid, OH near Cleveland. Disclaimers: Dr. S is my personal vet, and that’s my cat, Charlie, in the pic. –KMW
I’ve worked as a veterinarian for more than 24 years, and for much of that time, I’ve specialized in feline health. Over time, I’ve come to realize that there is a special bond between cats and their owners, many of whom are women. There appears to be a unique chemistry, and it reaches another level in a multi-cat household.
For me, it wasn’t a straight path to the work I do now. After obtaining my Ph.D. in immunology, followed by post-doctoral study in Philadelphia, I moved to Cleveland to work in medical research for two years. My next position with a companion animal practice was very satisfying. But after eight years, I was still an associate, not a partner. I had a child, and my husband traveled for his job. I felt I needed some kind of stability in my life.
The concept of a feline-only vet practice had been long established in most major metropolitan areas, but none had yet existed in the Cleveland area. I always enjoyed working with cats and am blessed with “good hands”. They have enabled me to reassure and calm our nervous patients, and obtain specimens that are critical in helping to get a definitive diagnosis.
In 1988, I opened Just Cats Hospital. It was the best decision of my life.
I have come to adore so many of my patients’ owners – for without their cats, I would never have been able to make their acquaintance. We have gone through births and deaths together – of loved ones both two- and four-legged.
Many people assume that all cats are independent creatures and everything is done on their whim and desire. For some, that type of animal is an ideal companion. In other cases, we may be blessed with a cat that is a people person – a cat that responds with a meow when its name is called when you come home and rushes down the stairs, or comes from an adjacent room to greet you.
Or, a cat that wraps itself around your shoulders like a boa, a cat that curls up beside or on top of you when you’re reading or watching TV or sleeps besides the computer while you’re working (occasionally sending off a email by mistake!). Some special cats instinctively go beneath the blanket and curl up between your legs, under an arm or even on the pillow. Cats can fill a niche in our lives and provide hours of joy and contentment every day.
Just like children, cats come in all shapes and sizes and personalities. I believe that every one of us wants to both give and receive love, and a cat’s love is truly unconditional. When they purr, it is believed to resonate within us and be a positive life force. Our cats can bring sunshine into a cloudy day and enable us to get through difficult times because we need to focus on their needs as well as our own. They add another dimension to our lives, enriching our existence and always being there for us.