The Cat

We got this cat back in April. His name is Phillip. He was our COVID foster. He is now our COVID adoption.

Phillip is a lynx point, which apparently is cat fancy for “Siamese mix.” The lady at the shelter told me this (about his Siamese-ness) when I spoke to her in a hurried fashion prior to bringing him home. What did not compute for me then is that Siamese mix means loud.

Phillip is like a dog. He wants to be where we are. Interestingly, he wants to be where Auggie is. This is despite the fact that Auggie has him trapped in a strangle hold for much of the day. Phillip also wants to be where I am. (And where Chris is, when Chris is home.)

When Phillip is not with us, he lets us know. There is a low “mrrrowwww” that escalates quickly to “rrrreoowwww” and then “yeaaaowwww.”

I have been on edge since he arrived.

As I write this he is sprawled across my lap in a warm, breathing, delicious blanket of cat. But can I revel in that? No. I’m on alert. Waiting for the moment when me might spring to life and go meow outside Auggie’s bedroom door.

This on-edge-ness is spot-lighted by Phillip and his presence in our life. But I’ve also started to see and understand since his arrival that it’s a feature of the basic construction of my own, particular nervous system and patterns of worry. Stressful though it has been, this process has been instructive. I’ve been able to see something that I previously couldn’t — my tendency to lean into the what-if sequence, and get worked up about it when nothing has or necessarily will happen.

This is in contrast to Chris, who is constantly encouraging me to lighten up. Which infuriates me and also inspires me.

Phillip is here to stay. The little guy is going to teach me things about letting go of control. I’m glad for him.