Separation Anxiety…

19 Aug

Separation anxiety takes many forms with a pet. Some people miss their furry friends and secretly count down the days to the end of their vacation, anxious to see them again. Some people can’t bear to be separated at all, and take their pets to work with them, or find cute hotels which will welcome Tiddles or Snoop with open paws. In my particular case, the anxiety of being separated from Holly takes the form of bizarre imaginary situations in which Holly could cause, or get into, major trouble.

The first few times I left Holly alone, she was small enough to be secured in the bathroom, where I was confident that she wouldn’t be in any danger and the minimal amount of destruction could take place. That said, before leaving I still had to return to the bathroom seven times to check that I had closed the shower door, that she had food and water, that the toilet lid was down and that there were no expensive cosmetics lying around that she could mistake for food (I’ve heard that Creme de la Mer is a particular favourite for cats, perhaps due to the high content of dead fish-related stuff).

It goes without saying that I suffer from what I believe to be an average amount of OCD – I have on more than one occasion returned to my apartment to check that I really did unplug the hair straighteners, or switch the iron off, even once turning around 5 minutes into my journey to double check that I’d closed the fridge door. But come on, who doesn’t? The first time I left Holly, I went grocery shopping. Now, I’m a big fan of shopping and even a trip to the supermarket can take 2-3 hours depending on what I can find to distract me. However, with the thought of my little beast locked in the bathroom, I was in and out in 20 minutes, all the time thinking “Oh god what if she finds a way to climb into the sink? What if she grows thumbs and learns how to turn the taps on?? She could drown!!” I returned home to find her fast asleep in her little bed, in the exact same position I had left her not more than an hour before, and felt an overwhelming sense of relief.

The next step came when she was big enough to be left on her own to explore the apartment. Feeling confident that she was now too big to be sucked into through the gates of Narnia which exist between the kitchen cupboard and the fridge, off I went to visit a friend. Arriving at her house, I felt quite calm and confident that she would be happily playing with her footballs or napping in the sunny spot by the window… The window with the blinds down… The roll-up blinds with the little cord which Holly had been trying to catch the night before… The cord made of string… The string which in my overactive imagination of worst case scenarios then somehow became tangled around her neck. Oh no, what had I done?! Back in the car, speed limits were broken and I arrived home with a feeling of dread as to what I would find. I opened the door to find Holly curled up on the couch, blissfully unaware of the drama playing out in my slightly unbalanced mind. Needless to say I spent that evening trimming the blinds and securing the cords to the ceiling.

Now, it’s one thing securing your own home and being comfortable that your pet is relatively safe, but a time will come when you need to leave them for a little longer. When Holly was 10 weeks old, work commitments meant that I had to go away for 2 nights, so I packed her up for her first vacation – at my Dad’s house. Now of course I love my Dad and would trust him with most things in my life, but this didn’t stop the irrational situations playing out in my head. What if Holly eats something off the floor which makes her sick? What if she gets stuck somewhere? What if she poos on the white carpet and my Stepmother “accidentally” leaves the door open and she escapes?? (Given that this is the same woman who “accidentally” ran over the family cat when I was 13, this was not an unrealistic possibility). But Holly was fine, in fact when I arrived to pick her up she was sat on Dad’s knee, purring happily. A few weeks later a good friend’s hen night in Ireland meant leaving Holly again, this time with a close friend. The same fears, the same worry – only to return to find Holly had learned to climb stairs and was racing around in circles from the top to the bottom like some kind of crazy Tazmanian devil. My friend shared a picture from the night before – Holly fast asleep in the arms of my friend’s fiance. Clearly my kitten is a bit of a tart when it comes to men.

Now I know what you’re thinking – I’m nuts. And yes, I would agree. I do have that moment just before I’m about fall asleep at night which I am sure everyone has experienced, where impossible future situations flood into my head and then keep me awake for hours whilst I consider all of the worst case scenarios playing out in my head. I’m not what you would call a negative person generally, in fact I think that my outlook on life is quite positive and in most situations I’d say I’m pretty laid back, but when it comes to the things I really care about – my family, my friends, my job – I do tend to get somehwhat emotional. And now it seems I can add Holly to that list. This little ball of fluff has only been in my life for a matter of weeks, but she’s also the first thing in my life which has been solely my responsibility. It’s my responsibility to ensure she’s healthy and well fed. It’s my responsibility to keep her entertained and make sure she’s happy. It’s my responsibility to keep her safe. And there are times when I can honestly say this scares that crap out of me.

Needless to say, I don’t think I’ll be having have kids.

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3 Responses to “Separation Anxiety…”

  1. onespoiledcat August 19, 2012 at 5:28 pm #

    Love your blog….thanks for visiting Sammy’s. If it helps at all to know that we’ve ALL (“we” being pet owners of the world) have suffered similar anxiety pangs about being responsible for a little helpless (insert animal of choice)! Trust me – that will disappear in time. Meanwhile, you can enjoy Holly’s “babyhood” as you should be – she’s absolutely adorable by the way. I got Sammy when he was about 6 weeks old from a shelter and he’s going to be 13 in January so believe me when I say, even the most inept of mothers (me) can raise a kitten into cathood. Relax. Have fun and post more pix of your little girl for us to see before she’s a 30 lb. BIG girl!

    Pam (Mom of Sam)

  2. lemonysqueezes August 21, 2012 at 12:37 am #

    Great post. I know exactly all the worries you’re talking about, and you write wonderfully about them. Let’s see another photo of your little one. She’s adorable!

  3. mythreemoggies August 22, 2012 at 2:52 pm #

    When Mum leaves us Archie ignores her for two/three days 🙂

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