Wee Beastie Laughter
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You know, laughter is good for you.

I was just chortling at our black cat Kitty-Kitty (I know, I know, but it fits her perfectly), who’s mrrp-ing with longing at a tiny hummingbird at the feeder just outside the window. She can’t get the hummer and wouldn’t really know what to do with it if she did, but that plaintive little mrrp just slays me.

Our other cat, Emma, heard her too. Emma is a few cards short of a full deck, I’m afraid, the pretty but brainless product of a severely inbred colony of feral cats. Having no clue what Kitty was mrrp-ing about, Emma threw herself down in front of her buddy and rolled back and forth happily, showing off her ample, fluffy white tummy. Every time she does this I remember Teri Garr in Mel Brooks’ Young Frankenstein, happily singing “Rrrrollink in da hay, just rrrrollink in da hay!” as she rolls this way and that that in the back of a Transylvanian hay wagon. It just cracks me up.

If Kitty could sigh and roll her eyes at both of us, she would.

It’s just a few minutes after dawn as I write this. Until Kitty mrrp-ed and Emma rolled, I hadn’t done so much as crack a smile since getting out of bed. I woke with hands that ached. They were tender to the touch and sore enough to make me wince and cuss when I used them. The rest of me was stiff and creaky. My feet yelled when I put my weight down on them. Great, I thought.

Can’t I have just one day without this @!#*!?

Then Kitty mrrp-ed, I giggled beneath my breath, and the morning seemed a little less dark.

Animals have always done this for me. I grew up with dogs. My mom was partial to snub-nosed breeds, so we had boxers, Boston terriers, and an English bulldog over the years. All of them were comical, from their adorably fat, grunty puppyhoods and throughout their adult lives. We laughed at their daily antics and loved them completely.

Since then, both dogs and cats have shared my life, sometimes together and sometimes not. Today, Kitty and Emma go out of their way to make me laugh—frequently—every single day. Whether it’s mrrp-ing at hummingbirds, jumping headfirst into paper bags, schmoozing for treats, or chasing each other around the house, they provide a never-ending source of laughter, eliciting everything from a soft chortle to a hearty belly-laugh from me.

Frankly, I don’t know what I’d do without my furry friends.

Smiles and laughter cause the brain to release feel-good substances that work just like opioids on stress and pain, though far more subtly and without the dependence factor. Frankly, I don’t know what I’d do without my furry friends. My life would be so much more sober, so much more grim. Note that I said “be,” not “seem.” For me, these small creatures—my wee beasties—are vital. Without them, my mental health suffers. I suffer.

Having rheumatoid disease is tough. The symptoms—pain, fatigue, fevers, malaise—are real and have a huge impact on our daily lives. So do RD’s co-morbidities, like fibromyalgia, Sjogren’s syndrome, Reynaud’s disease, bursitis, tendinitis, enthesitis, and others. Pets—companion animals—help to distract us from the debilitating effects of these maladies. They make us laugh.

They offer their unconditional love.

Pets don’t care if you carp and moan about your twingy hands and achy shoulder. They don’t judge. They just give us joy in the only way they can: by being what they are and sharing their lives with us. I don’t know what I’d do without them.

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11 comments on “Wee Beastie Laughter

  1. Profile photo of Eebtool Eebtool says:

    Hey all,
    Have you ever stopped to wonder what our pets are thinking when they are just laying around watching us stumble about the house?

  2. Profile photo of Wren Wren moderator author says:

    Hi, Eebtool!
    Oh, I sure have! My two cats are surely wondering what all the running around, busywork, and consternation are about when if we’d just chill out like them, we’d only need to sleep and play, not necessarily in that order. We’d be so much happier!
    Actually, I think they’ve got something, there… 😉
    Thanks for stopping in and making us smile–and think.

  3. Hi Wren, Your article really cheered me up this morning whilst I staggered around trying to get breakfast for injured husband whilst it pours with rain outside. Next I have to walk the dogs (Cooper the black lab and Spottie the ‘almost’ greyhound) but the cats are still sound asleep in their beds after what was probably a wild night out on the tiles ! Those were the days …………!!

  4. Profile photo of Wren Wren moderator author says:

    Hi, thegallopinggrandma!
    Oh, do I remember walking my wire-haired dachshund while it poured rain, day or night, whether my joints were cooperating or not! I wasn’t always happy to be doing it, but taking that little dog out to relieve himself got me outdoors and moving, both of which are good for body and mind.
    Thank you, Max, wherever you are!
    And cats. Is there a more comfortable creature than a sleeping cat?
    I’m so glad my article gave you a smile when you needed one. I’m sure your wee beasties are giving you more. Thanks for stopping by! 😀

  5. Profile photo of GingerS GingerS says:

    I am sorry for your loss Rick. I used to work in hospice. The loss of a pet is the same as losing a family member. It’s ok to grieve. Though some people are not sensitive to the extent of your loss.

  6. Profile photo of GingerS GingerS says:

    We have a dog that I don’t know what I would do without. I call her my black angel. She is all black. Because she always seems to know when things(pain) are not right with me. We got her. Just after our youngest son moved out. So we call her our “change of life baby.) Since the onset of this disease. She has shown herself to be hyper aware of my condition. If I need my husband. I say “go get daddy” and she does. Just a bit ago, she let me know the front door had blown open. And was not happy til I got up to close it. 🙂 It’s no wonder I call her my angel.

  7. Profile photo of Lauren Tucker Lauren Tucker moderator says:

    GingerS,
    Thanks for sharing this, I have chills. What an amazing dog you have? I love that you call her your black angel. I have one of those myself.
    We are glad to have you part of the community.
    Best,
    Lauren (RheumatoidArthritis.net Team Member)

  8. Profile photo of Wren Wren moderator author says:

    Hi, GingerS!
    I’m so glad that your sweet “black angel” is always aware of how you’re feeling, and ready to step in and comfort you when you need her. And I bet she’s glad she has *you,* too. She knows how much you love her, and that gives *her* comfort.
    The gifts these animal-people give us each day are incredible, even priceless. How lucky we are to have them!
    Thanks so much for stopping by and taking a few extra minutes to comment. Here’s wishing you the best! 🙂

  9. We had to put our beautiful pup Samantha down last week. Reading your blog helped remind me what I loved so much about Samantha.

  10. Profile photo of Kelly Dabel Kelly Dabel moderator says:

    So sorry to hear that. Your Samantha sounds like a very special pup. Sorry for your loss. Glad this article resonated with you and reminded you to reflect on what you loved about your pup. Thank you for sharing and being here. Kelly, Rheumatoidarthritis.net Team member

  11. Profile photo of Wren Wren moderator author says:

    Aw, Rick, I’m so sorry! These amazing animals are precious family members, and losing them is truly traumatic. I’m glad that reading about my friends Kitty-Kitty and Emma brought you soothing memories of happy times with your dog. Sending hugs your way. 🙂

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