Skip to Accessibility Tools Skip to Content Skip to Footer
Ode to my cat, Satchel

Ode to my cat, Satchel

You guys, my cat is the greatest.

I know, I know.  You have a cat, or a dog, or a ferret, or a rat, and you firmly believe that YOUR pet is the greatest.  I applaud this. I hope all of us animal lovers can staunchly assert that our own pets are the best pets ever.  Honest: I want everyone to feel this way.

Satchel is three years old, and I loved him from the moment I met him.  In early summer 2012, a friend of a friend dropped by a place where we were all hanging out. The guy arrived with a crate full of tiny kittens. He just had to show us this batch of siblings he was fostering. As a die-hard kitten fan, I gravitated toward the crate.  My eyes filled with tears as I spotted two kittens in particular that had nearly identical markings to my beloved Wally, the kitten we adopted in 2011 who died just seven months after she was born due to illnesses the doctors and vets could never figure out.  My friend R. put her arm around me and smiled, knowing my eyes were brimming at seeing the similarity between the kittens and my little Walls.

One cat really stood out to me, though.  He was a gray tabby with a little white chin, and he was mewing the loudest and trying to get out and explore the world.  The cat guy could tell I was taken with the kittens and let R., our mutual friend, know privately that any of the kittens could be mine if I was ready to adopt again.

A week later, we did one of the cutest things I’ve ever done in all my life: we had a kitten photo party.  In the spring and summer, Athens, Georgia is overrun with kittens in need of homes, and it can be really difficult to get all the cats placed safely.  R. thought it would be easier to place these babies if we had some high-quality and adorable photos of them.   We put the crate full of cats on the grass in R.’s backyard and opened the door.  The babies mewed loudly, no one wanting to actually step out of the crate onto the unfamiliar terrain. But there was one guy willing to take up the charge—it was the little gray tabby with the white chin! He marched on out of the crate and crawled onto my lap.  Swoon!  The rest of that afternoon, the kittens roamed R.’s basement adorably while we took pictures.  I kept finding myself gravitating toward the little gray guy, picking him up and cuddling him and taking more photos of him than any of the others.

I mentioned the kittens to Jim again—he’d met them briefly when the cat guy brought them by originally, and he’d looked at my photos from the kitten photo party.  I told him I didn’t know if I was ready to adopt again but that, if we did, there was one cat in particular I had fallen for.  Guess what? Jim had fallen for this little guy, too.

The origin story of Satchel goes on, but I’ll cut it short to tell you the truth: it was hard to get another kitten in the house, and it was a big choice to make after the awful suffering we had endured with Wally and the heartbreak that will maybe never fully heal when we lost her.  (People who have had pets seem to better understand how losing an animal can be devastating—pet-less folks sometimes find the depth of loss confusing, which is understandable).

So now it’s three years later, and we are head-over-heels for this quirky, funny, sweet, and loving little guy.  Gone are the days when, as a kitten, he would meow and meow until you picked him up to cuddle him. Gone are the days when he would pass out so thoroughly we could put his body into any position we wanted to, making his legs and arms look like he was a man hailing a taxi ,a person sprawled on the couch with the TV remove in hand.  He may be getting older and more independent, but he’s still such a source of joy and comfort.  He cuddles with us on his own terms (in the cooler weather more than the hot), and his antics make us laugh out loud every single day.

In addition to the joy he has brought into the lives of us, two chronically-ill people, Satchel has also brought us tremendous comfort.  When I am sick with a bad migraine episode, he will abandon his adventures and come lie down on the bed with me, periodically walking around my head and sniffing my face and nudging my hair to check on me.  Sometimes he will meow for more fresh water (usually after knocking his food into his water bowl on purpose—don’t ask), and when I refill his water I am reminded that it’s time for me to re-hydrate as well.  When he yells at us to replenish his food supply, I remember that it’s time for me to have some food as well.  And when he begs to be let out (poor guy is an indoor cat, so there’s no outdoor hunting adventures awaiting him), I am reminded that getting some fresh air or going for a walk myself might be in order.

Do any of you have pets? How does (or doesn’t) your pet help you live a better life? What things does he/she do to cheer you up or make you feel comforted? Please share your thoughts below!

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Migraine.com team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Comments

  • Colorado4Now
    3 years ago

    Couldn’t agree more! What would we do without our furry companions on those days we are stuck in a dark room unable to make the slightest move? Three cheers for my Zoey!

  • KateMcC
    3 years ago

    I have a black lab as my service dog. I got him after my last stroke. He helps with mobility/stability, and alerts to migraines. He brings me my meds, and leads me when the migraine attacks cause vertigo or vision troubles. We’ve been partnered almost five years, and I can’t imagine life without him. We also rescued a 8 mos old kitten in January. She was all cuddles and purrs until my first migraine attacks. Now she loves only my husband, and bites me during prodrome phases. So sad 🙁 .

  • DonnaFA moderator
    3 years ago

    Hi KateMcC! Thanks for sharing your story! Your pup sounds awesome! Though it’s sad that your kitty is adversely sensitive to your attacks. We’d love to see your furry friends! You can share a picture of them with us on the Migraine.com Facebook page. -All Best, Donna (Migraine.com team)

  • Panda2015
    3 years ago

    Such a heartwarming story, Janet. My mom’s dog is similar – when I’m laying in bed with the shades drawn, he sneaks in quietly and lays on the floor next to me. It’s comforting, and reminds me how intuitive our pets are.

  • KatherineO
    4 years ago

    My late oh so beloved Polish Lowland Sheepdog was particularly sensitive to my health. If I said to her in a perfectly conversational tone, “Mommy has a headache and I have to lie down,” she would run into the bedroom, jump up on the bed and wait to me. Sometimes she snuggled, sometimes she just positioned herself close by. Her name was Sofie, but at those times she was Florence NightenPON.

  • BethBlue
    4 years ago

    I’ve loved reading these stories! It’s so true what others say about pets: They really do sense when we are in pain. Perhaps these tales will raise awareness so that more homeless animals are adopted — that would be a dream come true.

  • Derek
    4 years ago

    Just wanted to say that I too have the best cat in the world. I picked up a rescue from my local humane society a few months back, so my daughter would have a pet at my place when she’s with me half the time. She’s quickly become my cat and a great help when I have a migraine attack. I had my first attack in a long time yesterday thanks to some combination of the right preventative meds, watching out for triggers, and luck. But as soon as she saw the drapes getting closed, every light and sound source taken care of, she hopped onto the bed waiting for me, and didn’t leave my side (that I’m aware of) until the attack was over and I moved again. So comforting.

  • cynajen
    4 years ago

    My two fur babies, Sophie and Lily are always by my side. I have been diagnosed with intractable chronic migraines with aura for over a year now, so I’m always in some level of pain. As a result, they are always with me! More like dogs than cats. Often reminding me to eat and hydrate by standing in my bedroom doorway softly meowing until I get up and move downstairs. Even as I write this they’re surrounding me. They make me laugh, comfort me when I’m sad and do their best to keep me as healthy as possible. They’re love is remarkable and I truly feel that I couldn’t survive this hell-on-earth disease without them.

  • sparker96
    4 years ago

    We recently added a fourth cat to our household, completing the family and bringing the human to cat ration to 1:1. He is also a tiny grey fellow with white paws. At the shelter, my husband had his doubts, because the kitten didn’t want to be held– only to run around and explore the “getting to know you” area. However, my heart reached out to him. He had almost literally stood on his head to get our attention in the room with all the cages. He just wanted out. As a chronic migraineur and someone with Menieres, now housebound most days, I understood. We took a chance that he would calm down and took him home. Three weeks later, he is supremely happy. His days alternate between rough and tumble chases with our next youngest cat (who really did need a playful friend) and absolute, full-on napping. If he decides the nap needs to be in your arms, on your face, etc.– it will be. I still need Percocet sometimes, but purring helps a lot, too.

  • Erin
    4 years ago

    My two cats, Patchie and Remus are wonderful when I’m having a killer migraine. Patchie will wrap himself around my head and purrs softly. Remus is a little less up c

  • Erin
    4 years ago

    Sorry, I shouldn’t post with a migraine. I meant to say Remus prefers to comfort me from a distance. He does let me love on him for a bit. I couldn’t make it through the migraine attack without them both.

  • aellis
    4 years ago

    These are awesome stories. My cat, Lloyd, will stay right next to me during a migraine (or any illness) as well. He tends to want to groom my eyebrows when I have a migraine. I’m not sure why…it doesn’t really help but I appreciate the sentiment. He also pets my face. Amazingly, he refrains from head-butting my noggin during migraines most of the time. I had a wonderful Siamese, Sassafras, who passed at the ripe old age of 20 who also seemed to know when I needed comfort during migraines. I miss him, but am thankful for my Lloyd.

  • Savta45
    4 years ago

    So pleased to hear that Satchel found just the right home, that you took the risk & opened up your heart & home to him! I have 2 dogs who, while they are obviously VERY concerned about me if I am crying, or in obvious distress, seem less responsive to the day to day doldrums of the migraine routine. I used to have 2 cats, both of whom were extremely comforting, during the migraines & other major health issues that I’ve had. Their cuddling & blessed purring was amazingly therapeutic. Both Sweetie & Maui have passed on, at very advanced ages, & I miss them tremendously. No more cats for me, my husband is allergic to them. I am lucky to have my dogs.

  • The Migraine Girl moderator author
    4 years ago

    Naomisdtr18,

    Thanks for your kind comments! I am sorry that Sweetie and Maui are no longer with you, but it sure sounds like you have many wonderful memories of them. Your pups sound sweet, too, but I can see how the more chill attitude of a cat might work better during a migraine attack.

    I hope you’re feeling well today. Thanks again for commenting.

    -Janet G.

  • BethBlue
    4 years ago

    I’m known as the “Cat Lady,” and I love it. We have five, including two “former ferals.” (Now my husband wants a dog!) I’ll spare you our story. I’ll just say: (1) Rescue, don’t buy; (2) Feed your beast before you feed yourself; (3) They love unconditionally and they sense everything — spoil them! and (4) Give to animals in need — it will help to ease your pain. 🙂

  • The Migraine Girl moderator author
    4 years ago

    BethBlue,

    I bet your house is a lot of fun (and very comforting on a migraine day). We have fun spoiling our cat. I’m so happy to hear your story, even the shortened version. 🙂

    Janet G.

  • Tammy Rome
    4 years ago

    Love this! My fur kids do the same for me. I’ve heard that people who have pets live healthier, longer lives.

  • The Migraine Girl moderator author
    4 years ago

    Tammy, I have heard that, too! Satchel definitely improves our quality of life, hands-down.

  • Poll