Rusty, 2 months old
In this photo, he’s already grown! You can see his beanie baby, we call him Jerry. Rusty got him the first day he came, and a year later, still snuggles with him every night.
Is this Rusty’s story or my story? Sometimes it’s hard to tell. I didn’t know how life would change when I brought home an orange bundle of fluff. Not quite 6 weeks old, my tiny orphaned kitty was frightened, but liked the warmth when I held him. Little did I know I had just joined what I call “cat therapy.”
Rusty loved his bowls of kitten milk and quickly accepted my love and affection. He enjoyed curling up on my chest and nuzzling in my neck to nap. So cute, right? Well, now that he weights almost 10 pounds, this activity is a bit more challenging!
Rusty is heaven-sent and shines as a ray of hope into my dark world. Caring for him helps pull me out of my self-analyzing depression. He holds my face in his paws, looks in my eyes, purrs like crazy, and touches my nose with his, letting me know he loves me just the way I am. He reminds me to add play, laughter, and snuggles to every day.
Rusty is my inspiration for Teawater, my self-care expert. I hope he inspires you with his advice! To review the Teawater series click here.
Update: July 2023
Rusty, 1 year, 2 months old
He has a cushion on the corner my desk!
I can’t believe it has been a year since I brought home a tiny ball of orange fur. Because of the conditions they found him in, he was very timid. But he loved his milk enough to venture out of the safety of his kitty crate whenever I offered him a dish.
Rusty is my first kitten, so I was grateful for the excellent advice given me from the seasoned cat owner I adopted him from: be patient, give him space, and wait for him to make contact.
Slowly, but surely, we created a foundation of trust and love. I pulled him out of a life of survival, and he pulled me out of a self-imposed funk. Together, we spend our days discovering the many nuances of sharing life, feline and human. It is more delightful than I could have imagined and I hope he feels the same!
Here are a few life lessons I have learned from Rusty:
- No matter how busy you are, there is always time for a tummy rub.
- Show gratitude by purring loudly.
- Chill and go with the flow.
- Enjoy the simple things in life — a wad of paper is more fun than a fancy cat toy.
- Sit in the sun a few minutes every day.
- Approach new things with curiosity, not fear.
- Add play to your day.
- Snuggle every chance you get.
- Even a dog can be a friend.
- Take time to be alone.
- Naps are recommended.
- Not everything is fit to eat—choose wisely.
- Set boundaries. Give a gentle swat when a reminder is needed.
- Appreciate treats.
- If something blocks your path, jump over it.