A Good Home, Pets

The Caregiving Cats

We’ve heard it said: pets often sense when something is wrong, especially when their human companions are ill.

Blog Photo - Jerome on injured knee

Our family has observed this in action recently. Our son-in-law broke his leg while skiing, requiring surgery and weeks of recuperation. Our daughter takes great care of him, of course. They’re a very caring couple. And  they both noticed that their cats, Jerome (above) and Simon (below), have been extra attentive. 

Blog Photo - Simon on lap3

What’s even more interesting: Simon tends to be reclusive, and Jerome tends to be edgy at times. But they have both been showering our son-in-law with attention and affection.

Blog Photo - Jerome on lap1

It’s not just the cats in our family that have stepped up when someone is ill.

The canine crew has been just as observant and affectionate.

Kinu, the gentle-giant, was my constant companion through pain-riddled days after a car accident. Sometimes, he would put a paw on the side of the bed, as if to reassure me.

Blog Photo - CR and Kinu

We’ve seen similar behaviour from our younger daughter and son-in-law’s pets too, staying extra close when someone is ill.

Blog Photo - Julius and Dawson Sleeping

But right now, it’s Nurse Simon and Nurse Jerome to the rescue. They keep our son-in-law company when our daughter goes to work, and their actions make him smile.

Blog Photo - Simon on lap2

As our son-in-law (and anyone who’s been laid up with injuries and been helped by their pets) knows, that’s a true gift.

Blog Photo - Jerome on lap2

Bravo, Simon and Jerome. And to all the canine and feline family members who help nurse us back to health. 

73 thoughts on “The Caregiving Cats”

  1. So true, I am sitting with our cat, as I write.The cat,inherited from my mother has been hanging with me while we are trying to cope with the tribulations of my husband’s brother. The cat, sits wisely by my side – the two greyhounds at my feet offering solace. Hope everyone is on the mend in your world.

  2. I’m sorry to hear about your son-in-law, Cynthia. I do believe that animals have a keen instinct when it comes to human suffering. I’d love to have Nurse Simon and Nurse Jerome treating me! Simon’s eyes are amazing!

  3. Absolutely correct Cynthia, and my you and your family have had plenty of opportunities to test this theory too! Best wishes for a speedy recovery and cats stood down from caring duty!
    My daughter who broke her leg in two places and fractured her ankle three months ago and who lives pet-less currently (her old boy having passed not that long ago) enjoyed having Siddy visit every day to share his healing magic. I was amused by the fact that as the time rolled around every morning to get going on our visit he would be lining up by his halter and leash, giving me the ‘hurry up, there’s work to be done, let’s go!’ …….. On arrival he would dash in, throw himself on her (good) leg and settle down to his caring work.

  4. It’s so true the animals understand when we’re hurt or sick. And they just hunker down and do what they can to help. I hope the leg heals soon and the time seems shorter because of good company.

  5. Pets are wonderful caregivers, as I know first hand. I am sorry your son-in-law was injured so badly. He is a lucky man though, to have your daughter, Simon and Jerome, and a family like yours looking after him. Special thanks to those kitties!

    I know you still miss Kinu and Dawson. I will say a prayer for them, and all our animal caregivers who help us through life.

  6. That does sound like a bad break! I hope your son-in-law gets better soon. I remember when we had cats how companionable they were when we were ill. They always knew when we were unhappy too, and kept us company.
    Best wishes to you and Hamlin, Cynthia. xx

  7. Animals have it heads and tails ahead of most humans with their care giving. I remember sitting on the kitchen floor of my mother-in-laws kitchen when I was home alone, expecting my first child and ever so lonely for my own family and husband. Their dog brought me her bone and dropped it in my lap and put her head on my knee. No way to stay sad after that. Pauline’s Siddy is a therapy dog and loves his work. I have seen so much intelligence and heart in animals that I so wish more humans could learn. I wish your son-in-law a speedy recovery.

  8. aw, those furry friends. whenever i’ve been under the weather, our current resident tiger Timmy has always been a comforting presence. he is quite an affectionate cat, but when i had an unexpected tooth extraction a couple of years ago, he seemed to know that something wasn’t right. rather than jump on me in his usually exuberance, he just sat beside me, leaning gently against me. he seemed to be content to just be there for me, with no desire to play.
    it was rather sweet.
    i can just imagine how comforting your cats are to your son-in-law. in any case, may he recover quickly and without any complications.

  9. My cats always escort me from the house to the gate or a safe distance from the gate and then rush back to the compound. They hop on my laps when am sad too. I miss them so much.

  10. Cats do seem to be in tune with our physical and emotional state. They seem to be completely oblivious and even aloof to us at times. But from personal experience our own cats are always by our side when they sense pain or sadness. That purr can help mend a broken heart. 😻

  11. I love the picture of you and your dog! So cute. We got our golden retriever for our foster girl, but Elizabeth (the dog) has become the therapy dog for everyone in the family. My husband has a very stressful life so it’s great to see Elizabeth force him to relax by pinning him to the couch — not that my husband minds!

    I hope your son-in-law gets well soon.

  12. I’ve heard it said I wish I were the person my dog (but could include cats too) that I my dog (cat or any pet) thought I was. They are certainly faithful companions in time of hurt or pain.

  13. True, true true. My Frosty was very protective of me whenever I was ill. Trouble is he protected me from Bert too! Was hilarious, comforting and gave me the best medicine, laughter.

  14. Oh, I believe that our animal friends make great nurses and healers! When my children were small and sick, the cat would stay by their side. May your son-in-law heal soon with his feline nurses!

  15. What a lovely household of pets. They are indeed knowing and generous when someone is ill or something is wrong. I have two cats like that too. Aren’t we lucky our pets are so intuitive? Sorry to hear about the ouch. 🙂

  16. Hi Cynthia,

    How true, cats certainly are sensitive creatures, capable of comforting and cheering up their humans through sickness and suffering. Capable of inspiring devotion too…

    The late, great children’s author Robert Westall, who I knew in the latter 80s, kept between sixty and seventy cats in his lifetime, often three or four together, and eleven of his many wonderful books featured cats, including ‘A Walk on The Wild Side’, which he dedicated to a small oriental cat, Jeoffrey, his favourite.

    Three cheers for Jerome and Simon, your son-in-law’s caregiving cats!

    My very best,


  17. Pets are amazing!!! I can’t imagine life without my cats or dogs:-)
    they sure are beautifuil!!! Good to hear his four-legged friends are near:-)

    1. I like the way you said that, Tina. Yes, it’s remarkable how their emotions seem so attuned to ours. I’m sorry your good friend died. And sorry for his dog. That must be so hard for a dog companion to fathom.

  18. Animals as healers are still highly underrated, but there is no doubt that they know what to do, and they do it. Pets are always recommended for the sick, elderly, and/or those living alone, because even just petting an animal brings down one’s blood pressure. Thanks for this lovely post.

  19. Animals are truly amazing. It’s wonderful how the Lord wires them. I’m not a fan of animals in the house, but I can see where they could be a comfort in such times. And I do tell Hubby that if he dies I would probably get a cat. I have never in my life had to come home to an empty house. Not sure I could do it! So pets can make a difference!

  20. Great pet kids! My husband went through the whole broken leg/surgery routine about 10 years ago and ours cats were his constant companions while he made his comeback and I was off at work. I hope your s-i-l recovers quickly!

  21. This caring instinct of those animal companions is simply wonderful. Thanks for sharing this Cynthia;
    With all of my wish od quick recovery to your son in law
    Lobve ❤

  22. So wonderful to see these great ‘nurses’! Our pets truly sense when extra care is needed…and they give it freely. All the best to your SIL.

  23. Its so ironic that pets are so caring and affectionate towards human and not all humans can revert back the same. On the positive side, these cute little fellows are one of the greatest gift that has been created.

  24. Our little rescue dog is like that, Cynthia. He is so attentive if any of us are not feeling the best, emotionally or physically. I thought the reason was, that as a young pup he was very sick and had been abandoned (probably to avoid paying vet bills). However, a lot of my friends say the same thing about their cats and dogs. People can learn a lot from animals and the empathy they show us humans.

  25. Animals are such sensitive creatures and they are so important in our lives – I certainly couldn’t live without mine around! 🙂

  26. This is so true! My female cat always knows when I’m upset or sick and immediately comes to sit with me and check on me. They are truly caring creatures and I wish more people could see that!

  27. It’s really great to have and experience all the love showered by these cats, even i have written a list of 5 things a teen can learn from cats on my blog, make sure you have a look.
    P.S the sweet purring of the cats really makes me to kiss those beauties a lot.

  28. I love it, I have an angel kitty she hikes w me, travels, climbs trees w me, shes my sidekick and after my son left the earth recently she was a prescription from the doctor..6 weeks when I got her weve been attached at the hip..I’d never have gotten through without her..shes given me the healing purrrr..

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