Monday, 4 November 2013


Do you ever worry that you'll pass on your neurosis to your children? That one day you'll turn around and they'll struggle with the same worries, phobias and gripes as you and/or your partner? I know I certainly do.

For those of you who don't know me, you won't be aware of my phobia for cats.

As a child I was pretty care free. I wasn't a fan of dogs (love them now) but that was it. Nothing else really phased me. Spiders, sharks, flying, heights... I was cool with them all.

As time passed, I started to feel rather uncomfortable around cats. More years passed, and I found myself entirely petrified of them. Now, I can't be in the same room as one (or more, the thought puts my hairs on end!!!) let alone pass a stray on the street (yes, I cross the road).

People ask me what's wrong with cats? They're so cute and fluffy?? (this FYI is part of the problem, people who love a certain pet, hobby, food type, whatever it is cannot understand why you don't feel the same way)

For me, it's everything a cat is, and everything he or she represents. On a physical level it all turns my stomach and puts me highly on edge.

The fur, the whiskers, the way they move, the tail, their silence, they're knowing glare (they clearly are intelligent animals and I entirely believe that they know about my phobia and taunt me for it!)

All these things make life, at times a little harder for me. Needless to say, if there is a cat in close range I'm aware of it (I'm incredibly observant and notice them a mile off) and firmly on edge.

This makes certain things slightly harder for me. Certain countries where strays are common are off limits to me (I had a particularly rough time in Morocco one year) Specific friends houses are a no go area (they say they'll put them away but on the day, they just can't bring themselves to do it as 'Mr Snuggles' is a firm member of the family) even walking down certain residential street can pose a problem.

We've just moved into our new home. Our family home where we'll raise Baby J, and hopefully one day his little brothers and sisters.

Our new home is fantastic (especially now that we have a bed) and I couldn't be more excited about it.

One teeny tiny problem. The neighbours have two cats.

When we popped in to introduce ourselves, they kindly offered us a cup of tea. Within seconds my senses were on fire as the first of two (two!) cats emerged. The Hubs instantly grabbed my hand with that all to knowing 'shall I get our coats' look.

I heard none of the conversation for the next five minutes. Trying my best to 'behave' after the Hubs had informed them of the problem, they tried to keep the cat away from me.

The problem is, the cat knew, so was taunting me, the other problem is that the owners love the taunting cat so could never be expected to notice.

When it hissed at me (even I know how this sounds) I was out of there. Enough was enough. I made our excuses and we were homeward bound (almost tripping over the second car on our way out)

When I arrived home, in the midst of Googling 'cat repellents for fearful neighbours' I started to worry.

I don't want to pass this phobia onto Baby J. Kids generally love animals and I don't want to take that away from him.

But how?

How do I stop this?

I need to grow up. None of this hypnosis lark. I need to get over this myself. The likelihood is that curing myself isn't possible. At best I need to calm it down and not show it to Baby J or really the rest of the world. I've had years of indulging my phobia and I need to try and let it go.

It's funny how such a small (harmless, I'm sure of it) house pet has become such a large part of my life...

I suppose it comes down to the fact that in less them 14 weeks I'm going to be a parent. I'm not saying I need to change, but I need to be aware what repercussions my actions will have on my family and how easily neurosis can be picked up.

Equally, I need to cool it on the obsessive worrying. Not to say I won't do it, that comes with being a parent, but I could cool it a little on the mad behaviour my worrying ensues or else Baby J is sure to turn out to be a nutter (I imagine this pledge will help the Hubs out on a day to day level too)

Phobias are tough, but I'm told they're all in the mind. 

When I was little, my feet were incredibly sensitive to tickling. One day, my Mum trained me not to be so ticklish. She told me to convince myself that my feet weren't ticklish at all (very philosophical of her) She said close your eyes, and think, 'I am not ticklish at all'. The next time she tried to tickle me, I did what she said and beat it. 

I am not saying I'll ever like cats... but I am going to do my absolute best (for the sake of my family) to keep my phobia on the down low! 

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