When Morpheus was first diagnosed with cancer, I read to him daily. After he took his medication, we would sit together on the bed and I would take us on an adventure where cancer didn’t exist. Usually it was somewhere in the Star Trek universe. Most times Morpheus fell asleep. Each novel I read dealt with bravery and sacrifice. The morals hit close to home for both of us. At times I asked myself if reading to him helped him at all. Like my vet pointed out, hearing my voice relaxed him and put him at ease. It was certainly making him feel more comfortable. But most importantly, we were spending quality time together. We read Star Trek novels everyday for a month and half together. The last book I started reading with Morpheus was one of Philip K. Dick’s collection of short stories. We never made it the end and the book is in his cardboard box with several of his favorite toys on the shelf in our bedroom closet. I can’t finish it.
Then a few months ago (I’m sure you animal lovers have heard about this), there was an article about school children reading to the dogs at a shelter. This always stuck in my memory and I thought it a great idea.
So, the past week, we have been integrating cats into our cat room at START II, slowly tearing down cages and closely monitoring behaviors and interactions. The kittens have been having a blast running around and sleeping wherever. Some of the adults would rather nap in the corner, but the kittens are haywire. I decided to have a story time hour (or two) with the kitties in the cat room.
Yesterday after I finished cleaning, I started reading Isaac Asimov’s The Complete Stories Volume 1 aloud to the kitties. I sat against the wall on a cat bed, pulled another cat bed next to me, and began. No sooner did I get done with the first page, I had 7 kittens surrounding me, two on my lap, five in the bed next to me. The adult cats were able to roam freely without worrying about kitten playtime crazies. After about half an hour, many of the cats were relaxed and purring, belly up and happy. I’ll be making it a weekly tradition now. Every Monday, the kitties will get story time with Col. The book is large, so we’ve got plenty to keep us busy. 😉 Wish I had a photo of it. Other volunteers got a kick out of the scene.