I just went through every fur baby owner’s worst nightmare with my sweet cat Hudson. He is 12 years-old now, which is cat years is up there. But he still has some good years ahead of him. Last week he got a cold – a nasty cold that left him feeling awful and me feeling sorry for the poor little guy.
Here’s a little history on Hudson. He was with me through my most desperate, darkest, loneliest moments since I was 20 years-old. My reckless eating disorder behaviors, debilitating anxiety, and constant state of panic through my peak eating disorder seemed to rub off on Hudson. He was the one I let see me at my worst.
Animals are hugely sensitive to their surroundings. Hudson became the cat version of me: anxious, ornery, and immensely sensitive to food.
Helping Hudson help himself
Well, when he got sick, he refused to eat or drink anything. For 5 days he declined the nutrients and water that would help him heal. I sat on the floor with him, begging, pleading for him to just take a bite.
I watched his will to live slowly slipping away right in front of me. My heart was breaking more than it has ever has. I tried everything I could to encourage, trick, and even force him to eat. Nothing worked.
I took him to the animal hospital where sweet Dr. Roth ensured me he would do all he could. But Hudson was the one that had to fight to beat this thing.
After that nice man reassured me with his kind words and caring heart, I looked at my boy Hudson lying on the counter. Then it hit me.
All of the sudden I just burst into an ugly cry in the middle of the veterinary examining room. Hudson was me a mere year and a half ago. He was me. I was him.
That was me…
When I was sick, ill, and mentally spent I refused to do the one thing that would help me heal: eat.
The life slowly drained from my eyes and I was too tired to fight any longer. The will to live slipped slowly through my grasp. I thought death would be easier than the battle I had to face at that moment.
At that time, my eating disorder was winning. I was about to forfeit the 16 year war I had endured.
As I stroked Hudson with the tears flowing wildly I started saying, “I’m sorry. I am so, so sorry.” I was literally speaking to my sweet cat, but the apology went deeper than words can even describe.
Sorry to my cat that I pushed to the side because I felt I didn’t deserve his unconditional love.
I am sorry to my dad who had to see his daughter waste away to nothing.
Sorry to my sisters who I pulled into my disordered ways of eating, exercising, and existing.
I am sorry to my mom who I blamed all my pain and hurt on for far too long.
I am sorry to my husband who bared the burden of my disease and saw the worst of me that no one else knew existed.
And sorry to my kids who I was terrified to connect with because of my deep rooted fear of loss and perfection.
I am sorry to me for not loving myself enough to understand my worth, my heart, and my value to this world.
I’m sorry. I am so, so sorry.
One last chance to choose life
As I cried and cried in that office, I decided to take Hudson home to give him one last chance to choose life. That night, after a long cry and time with my thoughts, I went to tell him goodnight.
As I stroked his head for the millionth time expecting no response. Yet a purr began to rumble in his almost lifeless chest.
My heart almost stopped as he gently nudged my hand. Then he got up and walked uneasily to his food bowl and took a bite.
I ugly-cried all over again. He ate. Hudson found the fight in his heart to do what was hard at that moment to make sure he would live. He ate.
Let Hudson be an example
How many of you reading this struggle to do what is right for your health due to fear of the unknown? How many of you have been like Hudson, like me? Refusing to take the hard, yet simple steps to choose life? The steps to freedom? To joy?
If my cat Hudson deserves to live, what about you? A beautiful, brilliant, worthy, human being?
You deserve to live life to the fullest. You deserve to live free and fulfilled. Get up, take that first step. Choose to fight. You will not lose the war if you show up for the battles.
Hudson is alive and thriving now because he took that first step towards that healing food. And I have never appreciated and loved him more.
And guess what?
Your loved ones will feel the same way about you when you take the first steps to fight for your freedom, Warrior.
Image: Brooke, Anna Blue, and Hudson