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Miracle Story

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Rita Miller
Brisbane
Queensland
Australia

My Cats Saved My Life

Submitted into: Miracles of Healing & Health Category,

On: 2016-05-05 12:35:11

For most of my life I have had a pet cat.   I love cats, and they love me.

My first cat was a huge ginger Tom – Smokey - whom I can just remember.   My mother told me that when she brought me home from hospital at 2 weeks old he sat under the bassinette, never let me out of his sight, and stalked anyone except my parents who picked me up.   Smokey ‘ran away’ when I was about 5, and we got a black kitten, Sambo.

I was born and raised in Brisbane – Australia’s ‘asthma capital.’

At age 7 I was diagnosed with asthma.   My parents were concerned Sambo was bad for my health but my GP Dr McCallum advised them not to get rid of Sambo.   ‘The emotional upset she’d suffer doing without a cat would give her worse attacks than the cat fur would!’ he said.   When Sambo ‘ran away’, and we acquired a tabby kitten, Bimbo.

By early teens my asthma became so severe I needed immediate medical attention for the 2 o-clock-in-the-morning attacks asthmatics dread.   As the night progressed the cats Bimbo and then Skiffle (a stray my sister brought home from the flour mill where she worked in the lab), would knead my chest, tramp around my head, and miaow loudly in my ear.   If their cries failed to rouse me, they patted my cheek, forehead, even my mouth until I woke up gasping with pounding heart.   It was uncanny the way they sensed my breathing pattern had become unsafe.

The cat, curled up at my feet, disappeared when our family GP Dr Hodges arrived.  In those days asthma treatment was intravenous adrenaline titrate injection, followed by adrenalin in oil and phenobarb into thigh or buttocks.  Shortly after Dr Hodges left, in a half-asleep state I would feel a thud at the end of the bed.   Now breathing easily I could doze off in the cat’s sweet company.

When my daughter Tessa was 3½ years old we moved from Western Australia to South Australia’s Riverland onto acreage, bordered at the back (or front depending how we looked at it!) by the River Murray and on the other 3 sides by citrus and stone fruit orchards, and market gardens.   Over 11 years there my asthma worsened.   The ‘blockies’ regularly sprayed chemicals for fertilizer, weed killer and pest control.   A friend who was a theatre sister told me that children in the area had abnormally large tonsils and adenoids, so the environment may have been a mitigating factor in the increasing severity of my attacks.   Besides being the main bread-winner I was under immense emotional strain and this exacerbated my already precarious condition.

Several scary nights our ginger cats Snisshy and later Sammy woke me up with asthma so severe I knew I would need oxygen (this was before I was prescribed Ventolin).   I crept into Tessa’s bedroom and said ‘Wake up, Love.   Mummy’s got an attack and we have to go into Loxton.’   I settled her as best I could on the back seat with a blanket and pillow and prayed I could survive the 25km drive South to Loxton Hospital   I staggered into Outpatients, asked the nurse to get Tessa out of the car and take care of her.   Once I stabilized I somehow convinced the hospital to allow me to drive home.   I put a sleepy Tessa back into her bed and crawled into mine.   Our cat lay behind my knees or in the small of my back, occasionally going onto the pillow as if to check I was OK.   His faithfulness gave me strength to get up at 7.30am, dress Tessa, make her breakfast, put her on the school bus, and drive 30km across the river North to Renmark to my job as a legal secretary.

My most recent cat, Foxy, a beautiful, affectionate, pure-bred Balinese, I inherited from Tessa about 20 years ago.   At that time, as I was heavily dependent on Ventolin, I undertook the Buteyko asthma breathing method.   I was warned that, as an ‘older’ person the exercises would be hard, but worth it.   Foxy was such a comfort.   She sat on or near me during rough patches, and I found if I tuned into her gentle purr it helped.

The complex where I moved to 10 years ago does not permit cats so I am now grandmother to Tessa’s 2 tabbies Oliver and then Tobias after Ollie died at the colossal age of 21 years   (Ollie ‘adopted’ Tessa one day when he walked into the adjusting room at her Wynnum practice, attached himself to her, and for the remainder of his fortunate life received regular chiropractic adjustments!).

Buteyko has given me the technique to overcome daytime asthma bouts but because I breathed the wrong way for nearly 50 years I sometimes have difficult nights.   When I house-sit for Tessa and her family during their trips away, Toby wakes me in the early hours.

This experience with many cats over many years has convinced me that cats truly do have a sixth sense.

I believe with all my heart that my cats saved my life. 

Rita Miller

Brisbane, Queensland, Australia