Get a cat. Let a little asshole into your life.

by Sophia McGovern

Image for article on anxiety cat. Photo of a half of a brown sofa against an ice blue wall. A women's naked legs are visible to her hips. Next to her hip is a balinese cat lying down with her paws under her chest.
Caption:

Get a cat. Let a little asshole into your life. You’ll sleep less, but you might also stand up, and move, or at the very least live with a creature that has as much spite gnawing at its bones as you do.

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If you have depression or anxiety, people might tell you to get a pet. “You need a ray of sunshine,” they’ll say. “Think of the cuddles and the beauty of living with a being that will love you until the end of its days…”

Then you might get a cat because part of you wants to prove them wrong, part of you knows you’re an asshole, and another part of you wants to be able to look at real-life cat paws whenever you want.

What they don’t tell you is that you begin to understand yourself better after that ride home where it screeched and wailed and told you how NOT excited it was about this new adventure. It’s not in the “oh, I’m so responsible” way. It’s in the fact that you can connect with a creature that spitefully pees on things, then wants to cuddle about it later.

There will be mornings (probably every morning) when your cat oppressively snuggles your face, blocking off your airways until you wake up gasping into its purrs. You’ll get it. You’re passive aggressive too, so you’ll mumble angrily at it, then let it outside to fulfill its heart’s desires.



But how do you teach it lessons you haven’t mastered? What happens when it skips outside and there are people? Just normal people living and breathing. You see your cat freeze and look back, begging You with the Thumbs to make them go away.

“I’m sorry,” you’ll say knowing full well you are speaking to a cat. “Sometimes there will be people existing in front of whatever you’re wanting to do, but you have to try to do it anyways, because they will always be breathing out there. Don’t be afraid to give yourself breaks though.”

Your cat will look at you for a second, then head back inside to stare from the window, before knocking over something you love.

“Get a cat. Let a little asshole into your life”

One night, when your only plans are to be horizontal, your cat might just decide to mess with you. It jumps on the counter where it knows it’s not supposed to be, then stares at you as you yell at it to get down. Only when you stand up and move will it jump off. It continues to run in circles and chase something it can’t catch. Finally, it remembers to eat, and you see its little heart swell. It curls at your feet and looks up admiringly.

“See, little love,” you’ll say. “Food is a good thing.” It purrs, and purrs, and purrs. Then you make yourself your first meal of the day (probably cereal), and send apologies to your friends who put up with you when you’re hungry.

Your friends eventually come over, and your cat hides for a split second. Then it lies in their laps and drools with all the love it can, because it collects broken hearts and people too, and is also a bit disgusting. You thank your friends for not caring about the dirty dishes or the drool, and they call you gross. You laugh because they’re meaning to say they love you too.

Other times it tumbles into your lap and squeezes under your armpit when you finally are doing something productive with your life. You shove it off, then are seized by guilt and hold onto it in a derailing puddle of cuddle. Its purrs and soulful eyes will make you forget about all the spite pisses, just like cuddles with bad boy/girlfriends that erased the pain. The wave of productivity crashes, but it’s okay because there’s a cat in your lap that is equally clueless about love, and has started making muffins on your heart.

So yes, get a cat. Let a little asshole into your life. You’ll sleep less, but you might also stand up, and move, or at the very least live with a creature that has as much spite gnawing at its bones as you do. And every time you open the front door, it will sprint out at full speed, stop, and be completely overwhelmed. You will give it the space to soak up life, and catch up to the world that is crashing into every single one of its senses, because like you it is so goddamn sensitive.

Then… you’ll follow it out into this world you love.


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Sophia McGovern
Article by Sophia McGovern

Sophia McGovern is based out of Phoenix, Arizona and splits her time between teaching English and poetry, writing, and making zines.

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