With **Fibromyalgia, every inch of your body can hurt including eyes and scalp. There's burning in the lower and upper limbs, sometimes numbness in the hands. Vision can be a problem when pain is high and blood pressure can soar when pain is high. Fibromyalgia can take your social life and your love life and throw it in the toilet. And many times pets have to be kept at a distance because they want to lean on the legs (right at a pressure point) or the ankles (by a pressure point). Their little tails wag or they jump on you wanting to love you, expecting love in return but getting a pain response instead. I simply endured it, knowing I needed a pet but then I found one that fit my needs emotionally and medically.
I'm a dog person. I like big dogs and then discovered that I like some little dogs, but still, I'm primarily a dog person. It's not just their loyalty, it's the joy they have at seeing you when you've been gone for five minutes. It's the cold nose, the thump of the tail, the strange and even icky things they do that make you laugh. Stop rolling in dead stuff, please! So when I realized I could not take care of a dog I wasn't a happy camper. I went through a few cats before I found 'the one'. I had no idea she was the one for at least 2 years because when I got her I didn't understand her. I didn't know her mix and certainly didn't get her behavior. But once I did, it was on!
The biggest gain from a Maine Coon is that they are large and have traits known in dogs. They are sociable with strangers, trainable, can be walked on a leash, will stay out of the kitchen when you teach them, and off the tables when you teach them. They love to be near you, but don't need to always be on you. That is perfect for people with chronic pain when touch is an issue.
How well can a Maine Coon mix be trained when around someone with chronic pain? For me, soft touch is the most painful. If you take a feather and run it across your arm lightly you get this tingling feeling, but it doesn't hurt -UNLESS you have Fibromyalgia. With Fibromyalgia all the nerve tingling turns to pain. The same goes for a soft tail dragging across the legs of a person with chronic pain. I had to give a strong and exaggerated pain response to teach Jane not to run the full length of her body against me. When she rubs my legs and walks through them like cats do, she does not touch me with her tail. Trainable! I can walk away from a plate and know she's not going to bother it. Trainable! She has her boundaries and she keeps them...almost always. 🙂
She's not perfect. Jane has done some stuff that I looked at her and thought, girl you have lost your ever loving mind! We know that no animal is perfect and they will break their training. However, persistence will get you near perfect at a good 97% of the time.
Maine Coon cats are not destructive animals but if they destroy something it's good and messed up because these are large cats. Males have been recorded above 25 lbs. My female mix is 15 lbs. She has never destroyed anything nor scratched up anything. Being a large breed means she will eat more, drink more and poo more. I'm now shelling out about $40 a month in scoopable cat litter. She has a cat litter house because others are too small for a cat her size. She's not a picky eater, doesn't mind getting wet. She is easy going, loving, alert. She's the best cat choice for me and my chronic pain issues.
She follows me from room to room. She lets me know when someone is at the door. She greets me with joy each morning. She is by my side, or on the back of the chair. She gives me cat eye winks with those big golden eyes of hers. When I hold her she puts her head on my shoulder and stays right there. She wants to be held, to be petted, to be loved but she doesn't need to be on me. This means limited experiences of cringing in pain because she jumped up on me.
Don't get me wrong, this cat does need attention and affection. They need their humans and do not do well left alone for long periods of time. They need something to do which means I have to rotate out Mary Jane's toys so she doesn't get tired of her stuff too quickly. She gets quality catnip each evening which helps things. I get to hear all the feline in her while playing with a catnip toy. These cats have a high small prey drive which means it would be difficult to bring in an adult or young cat to a house with pet hamsters or birds. Grooming is helpful to you and them. You must brush their very long and full coat. However, not all Maine Coons have long hair.
There was a period of about 6 to 8 months when life was unbearable non-stop. My pain would soar to a nine and ten regularly. I was primarily bed-bound during that time and had nurses and doctors that came here. Jane was by my side always. During one of the nights when I was throwing up, Jane was in the wrong spot. The "incident" with upchuck is the theme of my amateur comic called, "You Should Have Checked The Human's Medical Records."
It was a bad day for Jane, but thank goodness Maine Coon cats can be washed without you needing even more medical treatment. Tell me my Maine Coon mix isn't the perfect service cat!
** My diagnosis was changed from FMS to Chronic Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy.