At the end of January, I lost my best Migraine buddy, Ali. Adopted from the Humane Society, Ali had been with us for 17 wonderful years. She sat on my lap when I was at my desk working and slept beside me every night. That was over 6,000 nights of having my sweet companion sleep at my side. But the time came when Ali was ill and in pain, and there was only one thing we could do. I was heartbroken.
We knew we’d miss Ali, but I didn’t realize just how much she added to my life or how much I depended on her until she was gone. I’ve been in treatment for depression for years and it’s been well controlled, but I suddenly felt an overwhelming depression. Out of habit, I’d find myself reaching out to pet her when I woke in the morning, or looking for her in her usual spots during the day. I was having trouble working and found myself wanting to sleep all the time. When I went to see Dr. Watson for my regular Migraine visit, he commiserated and teasingly offered to write me a prescription for a new cat.
Finally, John, my husband, and I decided it was time to look for another cat. So I downloaded and completed the adoption application, and off to the Human Society we went. John told me that if I didn’t see a kitty I “clicked with” that day, we could keep going back until I did.
The first cat we held was a calico named Buffy, who was 10-years-old. There wasn’t any “click,” however, and I was hesitant to adopt a cat that old because it meant we’d have less time with her than with a younger cat. Then I heard a very soft meow from the cage behind me. When I called, “kitty, kitty,” a little black cat came to the front of the cage. The young woman who was helping us opened the cage and handed the cat to John. When I reached out to pet him, the cat buried his face in my hand and started purring. That was all it took for me to know I wanted to take the little kitty home with us. We were told that he was a young cat, just one-year-old, and his name was Binx.
I was sad that we couldn’t take him home that day, but the Humane Society has a rule that adoption applications must be processed in the order in which they’re received, and the young woman who processes them had two to do before ours. So we went home and waited for her to call. We were able to get Binx the next day.
Binx adjusted to us and to his forever-home very quickly. Within 30 minutes of being home, he was lying at my feet and offering his tummy for me to rub, a sure sign of trust from a cat. Within a couple of days, he was spending evenings curled up with me during the time John and I watch television. Sleeping at night is a different matter! As I went to bed the first night, I was lying on my back smoothing the covers before turning onto my side. Binx quickly curled up on top of me, purring loudly. He and I both fell asleep in that position. Now, at night, he’ll stand beside me and meow until I turn onto my back so he can curl up on top of me.
Just like Ali, Binx seems to sense when I have a Migraine. Whether I’m lying in bed or in my recliner, he lies on my chest with his head under my chin and one of his paws on my face. No cat can replace Ali, but Binx has shown that he’s going to follow in her tradition as a superb Migraine buddy. Binx was named for the man turned into a black cat in the movie “Hocus Pocus.” This seems apropos since Binx has his own magic for showing affection and helping me through my Migraines.
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Reviewed by David Watson, MD.
© Teri Robert, 2017.
Teri Robert is a leading patient educator and advocate and the author of Living Well with Migraine Disease and Headaches. A co-founder of the Alliance for Headache Disorders Advocacy and the American Headache and Migraine Association, she received the National Headache Foundation’s Patient Partners Award and a Distinguished Service Award from the American Headache Society. Teri can be found on her website, and blog, Facebook, Twitter, StumbleUpon, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Google+.