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Momo Fali's: Here Kitty Kitty

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Here Kitty Kitty

Our neighbors are on vacation and I'm taking care of their house this week. I've been watering the flowers, collecting the mail, and feeding their cat. For those of you who really know me, that last task is my version of torture. I have Ailurophobia. That's a fancy word for "cats scare the poo out of me".

My fear of cats started when I was in elementary school. It seems my house-sitting abilities were evident early on, because I used to open and shut my neighbor's curtains, and take care of their cat when they went away. They had a big, white, long-haired cat who was the meanest animal I've ever known. And, just to add insult to injury, his name was Fluffy.

That cat taught me the first lesson in feline behavior, which is that they can never be trusted. He was always nice to me when his owners were home, but once they left town and I'd show up to feed him, things would turn ugly. Fluffy used to greet me at the door standing on his HIND LEGS, while baring his teeth and hissing. As I entered the house, he would swat at me, then chase me from room to room, hissing at me the whole time. I hated that cat, but I loved the money, so I'd go back every summer to be battered and scratched up some more.

My fear of cats only got worse as I aged. I once locked myself in my sister's bathroom because her two cats were meowing right outside the door. It's like they knew. I stayed in there until someone came looking for me and they had to physically move the cats before I would come out. And, last year when a stray cat showed up at our campsite and jumped into my husband's lap, it made me jump out of my chair. Because, if that thing had climbed into my lap...well, let's just say I would've either passed out, or made a mess in my pants, or possibly both. I ended up letting our dog off her leash to chase that stray away, then kept her at my side for the rest of the night, chanting, "Good dog. GOOD DOOOOOG!!"

This fear has even invaded my sleep. I have a recurring nightmare that a cat has jumped up and dug it's teeth into my outstretched arm. I swing my arm violently, but it won't let go. This is evidence that what happens in your childhood can scar you for life.

But, these neighbors we have now...they're good neighbors, and they've helped us out when we've needed them. So, I will suppress my fear, tentatively enter their house, and muster the mental strength it takes to put some kibble in their cat's bowl.

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