Sometimes it hurts to look at my cat.

Sometimes it hurts_Napa
Photo: Sefi snoozes on printer paper. Credit: R E Wilson

There she goes again, snuggling down on my writing paraphernalia, keeping me in touch with life beyond myself, should I stumble into solipsism.

She taught herself to climb the precarious step ladder into the attic where I write. Positively bounds up now. Later, she’ll descend vertically, leading with her front paws, swinging her bottom round to land her back paws and reversing till low enough to leap.

Sefi is one year and three months. I write this approaching the anniversary of the day we collected her, tiny and stripey and not yet grown into her ears: the moment the lady who lives up on the mountain placed her into my partner’s hands and we almost stopped breathing. Could she really be ours?

I didn’t even know how to pick her up then. I had not ever been responsible for an animal. Never had a pet as a child. Had cared about those of loved ones but not got it.

I mean GOT IT. The insane adoration. The undiluted delight. The privilege of bonding with another species. The full realisation of just how we are all animals.

None of this is new, I know. I am very late to the party.

But it was new to me.

At first the experience exhausted me. Not just because she was a kitten, and a Bengal one at that, in need of unlimited interaction when I carried post-depression fatigue.

But because to love her meant giving her attention in the truest sense.

Not that half-hearted attention given to humans when tired and fragmented.

Not sort of attention.

Being only sort of there was one of my survival tools: deferring any given moment; filing feelings until they could be controlled, inspected or justified.

But you can’t actually funnel life into boxes marked ‘yes please’ or ‘no thanks’.

When you block pain, you block joy.

So you decide: stick with the numbing habit or experience reality just as it is.

I’ve worked hard on choosing the latter for three decades now: psychotherapy, loving relationships, creativity and more recently, meditation, have all played their part.

But there was still a little nudging into presence that had to happen.

And that’s where Sefi came in.

By demanding that when I am with her, I am WITH her.

Trancing out to Television, perching on the edge of the sofa lost to the relentless call of the like button, will not be tolerated.

We chose to have Sefi in our lives and she deserves better.

In return, she has air-lifted my spirit. My heart feels twice its size. I am unashamedly softer. The practice of being more present more of the time is making me well.

But feeling feelings sometimes hurts. The depth of love. The ferocity of the urge to protect. The impossibility of her perfection and how she is nothing but herself.

Sometimes it hurts to look at my cat.

But it is worth it.

#CatLove #FeelingsNotNumbness #AmWriting #TuesdayThoughts #DepressionRecovery #Mindfulness #BeingInThePresent #SefiSoulSaviour

One comment

  1. […] Sharon, a wonderful mix of warmth and pragmatism, has been supporting me on a programme that helps people experiencing mental health difficulties thrive at work. We talk over things that get in the way (hello money, menopause, sleep deprivation…) as well as shared joys, which always leads to a lovely excuse to talk more about our cats. (Hello Sefi, I love you.) […]

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