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The Power of Snuggling

February 16, 2016

Recently my cat, Moon Star (read some of her wisdom here), has become more of a snuggler.  She’s over 13, and I adopted her when she was about ten and a half. Her breed is the Dilute Tortoise, which tend to run on the anxious side, the don’t-get-too-close-too-long variety, so this is news, significant, if only to me.  

 

She’s never been one to really like being held, she never lays on her back, exposed, she likes to perch up high, and maybe occasionally have her paw touching you very lightly.  Overall, she is friendly and yet frequently keeps things at arm’s length, where she can keep an eye on everything.

 

She recently got fleas, which was distressing to us both.  Thankfully, it was caught early and treatment for her and the house took care of it fairly quickly.  What was disturbing to me was how distant she got, not hanging out nearby wherever I was in the house, not sleeping with me at night, being withdrawn, not talking as much (she’s pretty vocal overall; she gives me the what-for when I come home from work without fail), not engaging with me in her usual way.  I didn’t realize how much of a companion she was for me until that disappeared.  It took well over a week before she started to return to normal.

 

And then, a switch got turned on in her somehow.  I suddenly noticed she was letting me hold her for longer periods, and she was actually relaxing in my arms.  And purring loudly.  And actually snuggling into me, which she had never done.  Was this in thanks for fixing the flea problem?  Is it her age showing?  I have no idea, and don’t really care.  I just know I like it.

 

I found I just loved the feeling of her warm little body up close to my neck, draped on my shoulder, and I melted into each moment with her, seeming to feel my pulse slow down as I closed my eyes and focused on her purr.  The more I relaxed and enjoyed this new activity between us, the more she did, too.

 

The emotional benefit of snuggling with her was equally profound.  I’ve written before about the power of touch (with people, primarily), but the deeper activity of snuggling and all it encompasses is something altogether different and wonderful; pet owners of all kinds who have experienced this are nodding their heads right now, I am sure of it.  

 

The world seems to disappear as the pleasure of such a simple action sinks in.  The trust, the vulnerability, the tenderness, the listening, sensing, and feeling that goes back and forth, a silent communication as each tunes into the other as each reciprocates.  The silent connection, of being so present, and wanting the moment to last forever, is just about the sweetest experience ever.

 

This happens with between we humans, too, of course, and is equally profound, though different.  Gaining the full trust of someone, two- or four-legged - or three, or one - shout out to the tripods and monopods out there! - enough to snuggle intimately is one of the most important things that we can experience on both the giving and receiving ends.  We all want connection, we all want to feel safe and secure, to feel the physical and spiritual warmth that occurs in those moments, to understand and be grateful for the interplay of breath and touch together.  

 

I would not have guessed this contemplation would have arisen from my cat; I have had some profound human snuggling as well that I could go on about for days, but there’s something about the trust and connection of our pets that gets to us on deep, nonverbal levels that is just immeasurably gratifying.  

 

I am always grateful to be surprised and gain awareness and understanding of any kind.  Moon Star is lying in my lap right now, snuggled close, and I feel calm and content and warm and connected, to her and to myself.  We all should have and know such peace and belonging.  






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