Even cats ask for (demand) help!

A cat typing at a computer.
Illustration by Vanessa Lennon

Dear Ethan,

Your poor dumb dog Jamie is trying to understand stigmas and mental illness. Sigh…I think we should get your dog earmuffs as she keeps hearing about stuff she doesn’t understand.

I NEED to nap; I do NOT have all day to answer her dumb questions!!!

I tried to explain it to her: stigma is like a stereotype of a reputation. It’s usually the way someone thinks about someone else when they don’t have all the information.

Like, cats are stigmatized because everyone assumes we are lazy since we like to sleep. What non-felines don’t understand is that even when we are sleeping, our minds are plotting against you active and awake. Duh.

People who have a mental illness deal with the same kind of stigma (well, I guess it’s worse because no one gives them any fish). Basically, they get a bad reputation.

It’s because other people don’t understand them or they get afraid. It’s stupid, really.

Humans are meaner to other humans, even meaner than they are to animals.

Do I make fun of you just because you have to wear glasses? Nope. The glasses help you tell which food is mine and which food is the dog’s food. That is VERY important.

Do I make fun of your mom just because she is deaf in one ear? Heck no! She may have to ask somebody to repeat something, but she makes a point to show that she considers the other person important. She doesn’t just ignore that somebody said something (although she would be happier if she did!)

If someone needs medication or one of those therapist-people, then so what??? It takes a lot of fur to ask for help. More humans should respect that.

Do I hesitate to ask for your mom to work the can opener and get that tuna can open? No, I do not! I swipe at her to get her to hurry up! And if a human has a breakdown or needs a little extra something-something to do what needs to be done, then other humans should encourage them and help them to keep going. That’s how it should be.

This whole stigma-thing is a scam to make humans hate each other. Don’t you believe it! Don’t go with the stigma-hate thing. Stick with the adore-cats-as-gods thing instead, and we’ll all be much happier!

Tuna out!


What’s a stigma?

A dog sniffing a laptop and trying to type.
Illustration by Vanessa Lennon

Dear Olivia,

I guess today’s letter is kind of serious. I’m sorry. I want to help you wag your tail at lunchtime, but you’re the only one who gets my letters, and I need answers. It takes a long time to type with my paws!

What’s a stigma? Your mom talked about how some people are mean and are “stigmatizing” people, but it doesn’t sound like a good word. She said some humans face a “stigma” because they have a mental illness. Does that make sense to you? It doesn’t make sense to me!

Your mom said that sometimes humans get bullied or neglected and have a hard time making friends because they have depression or schizophrenia, but that’s just dumb. It’s an illness, right? If it’s an illness, you should help them!

When you are sick you stay home from school (which I love!) Your mom fixes soup and crackers for you (which is great when you spill it!), and you get extra cuddles. Cuddles are always good! So, if someone’s mental is sick, shouldn’t they get soup and cuddles too?

LuLu Cat says it isn’t that simple, but I’m not so sure. Do you think that (no offense since you’re a human, but…) humans sometimes make things difficult? If dogs are sick, sometimes they go away from their packs to keep them safe. But no one teases them or calls them useless.

Sometimes if a family dog is sick, some dogs will stay nearby and protect them. It just depends on how the pack is established. But the thing is, us dogs understand that sometimes somebody gets sick. It’s part of nature. Should a mental sickness really be different?

When your mom is sick, like when she got that stomach flu stuff, that little yappy twerp Felix stayed by her and growled if anyone got near her.  She told Felix “thank you” and everything! Felix is a loud, hyper little fuzzball, but he is also a good protector. Maybe more humans need fuzzball protectors to help them get better too. Maybe feeling safe is part of feeling better!

It all goes back to what I told you a few weeks ago. The only way to be truly happy is to get a dog.

Usually, I think that I am confused, but the more I type, the more I think humans are the ones who are confused. If we all protect each other, this stigma-thing wouldn’t be an issue!

Just my two dog biscuits! Wuff you!