Cats

I love cats.  Clearly I do, I have a blog about them. I work at a cats only veterinary clinic. I care for feral cats. I’ve spent the best part of my life working with and for cats.  I think that’s where the problem lies. I’ve spent my whole life absorbed in cats.

And I’m burnt out.

Sneakers 2015 (5)

Sometimes I think Sneakers has the right idea, hiding under the blankets.

I have been struggling with compassion fatigue for years, and it finally got to the point I had to step away from rescue work. I spend my days working with cats. It is hard to come home and delve even further into the world of cats to keep my blog going.

There is more to me than cats. Sometimes it is hard for even me to believe this. Cats make me happy. Nothing calms me down or cheers me up like petting a cat. Nothing makes me laugh life cats. Cats also make me depressed and anxious-well, more specifically the situations in which many cats find themselves due to the neglect or ignorance of humans.

Life in 2015 was hard, and blogging was even harder. As I am sure any readers surely noticed.  The number of cats I have cared for has slowly decreased over the years since I started my blog. Leaving me with fewer personal stories to share.

Crash’s slow decline in health and his death in June, just days before his 20th birthday, may have done me in. I miss my cats more than words can describe. There truly is a hole in my life where Crash, Muffin and Sam were.  While I have my Sneakers friend, we all know that pets can never be replaced.

The compassion fatigue hit me super hard in 2015, because I had been trying to ignore it.  The feeling that I need to do more for cats hasn’t gone away though, leaving me feeling both guilty and burnt out.

The past year was spent mostly trying to keep myself together, for reasons beyond cats as well.

So, the point of this post?  I’m not sure. Is it a sign off? I hope not, but maybe. Is it an explanation of where I’ve been? Yes.  Is the start of a new conversation about compassion fatigue and caring for yourself while caring for animals? Maybe. Is it the start of a new year of posting? I sure hope so.

Thanks for reading.

 

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8 thoughts on “Cats

  1. Deziz World says:

    Aaaaaaw We are so sorry. You do need to take care of yous selff. And bein’ in rescue can really wear a purrson out and fast. Mommy sez there are so many in need and so few to help dat each purrson gives more than they have a lot of times. And cuz of da need many work fwu da burnout dat be killin’ their emotions and well bein’ cuz ifin they don’t, who willl? Or at least dat’s da thought. And sumtimes it’s twue, but ifin you don’t take care of yous selff you can’t be any good to those yous twyin’ to help. And NO, kitties can’t be replaced, but da luv can…at least luv can grow and be shared wiff another. Weez sendin’ lots of purrayers yous way. And we hope it’s not a goodbye as we just met really. Give Sneakers a big long cuddly hug and nose bonk and take a deep bweath and let yous seflf rest. and then start over wiff a purr in yous heart. Have a blest new year. See you soon.

    Luv ya’

    Dezi and Lexi

    • Kat says:

      Thanks! I don’t think it’s goodbye, but that post seemed like such a good wrapping up post… I think I need to be here, blogging. Taking about cats and sharing cat stories. It is a way I can help the kitties and write, while being in the comfort of my own home with my own troublesome Sneakers. I just need to get some brainstorming done. And make sure I take some time to sit down and write.

      Your mommy is right. When I was working at a shelter, and volunteering at different groups, there were never enough volunteers to go around. Since there weren’t enough volunteers to go around everyone gave more than they could. I know I had a few conversations with other volunteers about how we were tired, and our own lives were suffering, but we felt bad about not doing more because “If I don’t who will?” Which is true, but also a recipe for disaster.

      My professional life involves working directly with animals and their people. Until recently my life outside of work centered on taking care of a very sick senior cat and a number of feral cats. I then volunteered for rescue groups and tried to blog. It was too much. Of course I burned out.

      Going to focus on myself, my cats, my job, and my blog this year. Take some steps back and recenter myself.

      • Deziz World says:

        You’re duin’ da right thing. You have to get healthy yous selff or you can’t help anypawdy or kitty. Kitty peeps in purrticular are da worst at takin’ care of themselves. They are so empathetic they tend to take care of everyone else furst, often to their own detriment. But yous seen it and are takin’ da right steps to regainin’ yous emotional well being and da anipals you cared fur will continue to get care. We find at God always sends sumpawdy along when one has to step away. God cares fur all Hiis children, even da furry ones. We will keep you in our purrayers.

        Luv ya’

        Dezi and Lexi

  2. carmapoodale says:

    I am sorry to hear that you are still having compassion fatigue. I went through it with ma. She not only had compassion fatigue but her health started declining very quickly from stress and from all the work she was doing at adoption events. We had to walk away from the humane society.

    The more ma did, the more they wanted her to do. When she would recommend not letting an adoption go through, they still let it be approved only to have the animal returned later.

    Ma’s heart begged her to stay but her body and mind told her it was time to go. Her body won the fight. She spent so much time in a doctors office due to pain overloads and a therapists office because of the stress that she was under, something had to give.

    After leaving the humane society, we took a few months off. Ma spent more time with us fur kids, more time resting and more time gathering her thoughts. Now we volunteer a couple hours once a week at the vet’s office. She does things like putting files up, answering the phone, holding patients paws as they get examined. Its a few hours to spend time with other animals, it gets her out of the house and it makes her feel like she is needed.

    You are in my thoughts and prayers.

    • Kat says:

      Thank you Carma. The compassion fatigue is not as bad as before, but still too much to get me back in the rescue game. It is a hard balance because my job involves working with animals (which I love!) but I also see some sad things and deal with some difficult situations-both involving animals and humans. As I am sure you know, those working in the veterinary field also tend towards compassion fatigue. That added with the rough year I had personally, in non-animal related ways and the fact that many of my friends are still highly involved in animal rescue made it hard to take time to heal. This year is all about getting better though!

      So sorry to hear your Ma had such a rough time with it physically. So glad to hear she was able to take care of herself and is getting better now!

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