Okay, I admit to being a little neurotic now and again. Over the years, I’ve figured out ways to manage my anxiety so I can move through life without raising too many eyebrows. In fact, I’ve found humor in it, which I believed has helped my writing. Plus, creative people are supposed to be a little off-center, right?
I mother kids and cats, and both have gifted me with opportunities to fully explore all the corners and crevices of my anxiety. And mostly I’m talking about general day-to-day quirks — not anything you might see on a TLC show. Probably.
Here are five ways my cats trigger my neuroses:
The cat sound I least want to hear is the hacking of a hairball. As soon as I hear the initial vomitty sound, I race to where I think the hurl is happening. It’s kind of like a cat-puke version of Marco Polo. Me: “Saffy, where are you?” Saffy: “Hack-hack-hack.” I try my very best to grab a napkin or tissue to toss under the cat’s mouth, because it’s highly likely the kitty mouth is aiming for the carpet, even though the hard surface is inches away from her.
I become so obsessed with this sound that I think I hear it everywhere. Last weekend, I attended a play and a recurring sound effect sounded like a hacking cat. It drove me crazy! My initial instinct was to run on stage and throw a paper towel under an actor’s mouth.
When my kids were young, I was freaked out at the prospect of them pushing the window screen and falling from the second floor window. I’d seen enough news stories and heard Eric Clapton’s “Tears in Heaven” enough times to be sufficiently obsessed with making sure the window screens were secure. I find myself doing the same thing with my cats. When I see them sitting in the window, I reach over and press the screen a little just to make sure it’s tightly snapped. Nobody’s falling out of a window on my watch.
I know most people want their cats to feel comfortable. I like to make sure mine feel extra-cozy, even if my efforts involve things they really couldn’t care less about. Case in point: The above photo is of Phoebe lying in the cats’ basket on my desk. I wanted the inside of the basket to feel comfy and so I decided to stack a bunch of towels inside.
Then I remembered a cute little kitty hand-towel my sister gave me a few years ago. I became obsessed with finding the towel because it just had to be the top one in the stack. It was stowed away in a drawer somewhere, but I eventually found it. In fact, I didn’t rest until I found it. One of my anxiety’s “features” is getting attached to something and focusing like crazy until it comes to fruition. Although that trait can make me feel crazy some of the time, it has helped a ton with regard to my ability to achieve goals. And locate kitty hand-towels.
You know how the first child in the family always seems to have the most photos floating around in albums? It’s kind of the opposite with my cats. Saffy is 13 and the eldest of my three pussycats, but I have WAY more photos of my middle child Cosmo and Phoebe, the baby. This drives me nuts because I really, really try to take an even amount of photos, but Saffy doesn’t really do much that’s photo-worthy. Cosmo and Phoebe, on the other hand, are always in cahoots and seem to be lining up poses left and right for me. As a result, I have fewer photos of Saffy. And yes, I feel guilty about that.
Phoebe has a bad habit of digging stuff out of wastebaskets and eating it. A few years ago, she had to have emergency surgery because she ate something that tore her intestinal tract and caused it to swell. Since then, I’ve been mega-focused on my cats’ mouths. If I see them chewing at non-meal times, I race over and pry their mouths open to examine the contents. Cosmo is a little bit of a weirdo and likes to chew air. For real. This usually alarms me because I don’t know if he’s gnawing on something naughty or if he’s just chomping air. Weirdo.
How do your cats make you neurotic? Tell us about it in the comments!
About the Author: Angie Bailey is a weird girl with freckles and giant smile who wants everyone to be her friend. Loves pre-adolescent boy humor, puns, making up parody songs, and thinking about cats doing people things. Wrote a ridiculous humor book about cats wheeling and dealing online. Partner in a production company and writes and acts in comedy web series that may or may not offend people. Mother to two humans and three cats, all of which want her to make them food.
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