Monday, 14 July 2014


Last year I went through an anxious patch. During that time, and for completely unrelated reasons [cough cough], I stayed with a dear friend of mine and her partner at their house. They have two cats. Muggles and Angel. I'm usually more of a dog person, but Muggles and Angel are two pretty lovely cats.

There is nothing like hanging out with lovely animals when I'm anxious. They just sit there with you and you don't have to say anything, there's no pressure to be anything other than what you are. It's wonderful. Lovely people are the same, although I do find myself much less apologetic towards animals. With people (no matter how close I am to the person) I tend to do the whole "awfully-sorry-if-this-is-annoying/confronting-for-you" thing and then feel stupid amounts of guilt.

So often it's nice to spread it out a bit. Animals. Alone time. Knowing your mates are there if you need 'em.

Anyway during that anxious patch I ended up staying at that house for a decent 6 ish weeks. Night times were spent downstairs lounging around chatting or watching telly, and of course hanging out with Muggles and Angel. Angel would come over and sit on my lap and I'd give her (we called it) "touching". Muggles is more of a fetch the twisty thing and gimme-all-your-strawberry-yogurt kind of cat. But Angel was and still is very affectionate and a total sucker for any kind of touching.

At first my friends would coax her, "Angel, Mary needs a cuddle" and point at me. She'd come over and sit on my lap or near me, get comfy, and I'd ruffle her fur and kind of give her a kitty massage. My friends taught me her favourite kinds of touching, "she LOVES it on her face". Etc etc.

One night, she was on my lap and I must have brushed somewhere close to her stomach. She liked it, and sort of started leaning over to one side. I did it again, a bit further under, and she leaned further to the side. Pretty soon she was flat on her back, legs sprawled open, across my lap. And I was giving her a new kind of touching. Belly touching.

My friends did a bit of this, "oh we didn't realised she liked that" and "ohhhh hahaha that's so funny look what she's doing now". Funny night.

After then she needed no coaxing. Sometimes I'd get home after work, sit on the couch to remove my shoes, and Angel would sprint over to me and LEAP up onto my lap, almost twisting mid air to get into position. And I'd be gently trying to get her off my lap so I could finish getting my shoes off etc.

Sometimes, after giving her belly touching for aaaaaaages, I'd get distracted in conversation or whatever and my hand would go still. Nope. Angel's paw would find my hand and guide it back to her tummy.

Hilariously cheeky.

And I love cheekiness. It's one if my favourite character traits ever. And Angel is a really cheeky cat.

I would go to bed quite early most nights, watch something light on my lappie, and always have to get up to pee before falling "asleep" (I use the term sleep loosely there). 

One night, after I'd been there maybe a few days, I was laying in bed trying to fall "asleep" when I felt a little something get on my bed. I was startled. It moved and - oh my goodness! - my arms shot out towards the thing and hit something very soft. 

"Oh Angel?!"

A pause and then a really loud purring noise. She was coming over trying to find a place to plant her butt. The room was very dark, and I was on my side. The purring kept approaching (prrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr) until I felt Angel's little wet nose touch mine. 

"Haha Angel! You're so sneaky... okaaaay come 'ere."

It was a tricky situation. Angel wanted touching. I was trying to fall asleep, torn between having her there (which was nice) and getting some quality sleep. Every time I would start to drift off, she'd purr or nudge at my hand with her paw to wake me for more. Given sleep was a pretty important factor for me to deal with the anxiety, after a little while of this, I carried her out of my room and returned to bed alone.

Well, it was on.

Every night, Angel would wait outside my bedroom door (around the corner so I couldn't see her waiting) for me to take my bathroom break, then she'd sneak in (I must have been a bit distracted by the anxiety). She'd hide behind my clothes basked (I later discovered), wait until after I was in bed with the light off. Then she'd jump up onto my bed and purr super loudly, her little face coming over to mine.

I always imagined her saying "pleeease giiiiiiiive meeeeee bellly touching".

I would give her belly touching for a while, then have to carry her out to get some sleep. She eventually discovered that if she didn't wake me up for more touching when I fell asleep - I wouldn't kick her out. And I would wake every few hours anyway and give her more when I did, so she would stopped waking me.

And so it went. After a couple of weeks, we had a pretty settled "arrangement". She'd always sneak in and hide though - but maybe she knew I knew she was doing it. I'd get into bed, turn off the light and say into the darkness, "come on Angel" pat my bed twice, and she'd jump straight up.

[Chuckles] Cheeky girl.

It was a hilarious game, and an awfully nice way to fall asleep.

It's funny how during the most anxious times of my life, I tend not to remember the yukky parts the most. I mean, sure, I can recall the anxious parts - but those memories have much less energy than the other stuff I can remember. Like Angel sneaking into my room at night, the comical side of what my body does when I'm anxious, and all the love my friends and family generously bathed me in during those times. There is always so much of that.

"Why are you taking a selfie when you could be giving me belly rubs?"
(And WOW my hair was long there).

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