My memoir is published!
As the days turn longer and the holidays are almost behind us, my memoir, “There’s a Cat Hair in My Mask: How Cats Helped Me through Unprecedented Times” is quietly launching. It is my story, a tale of a plague and politics, of depression and inspiration, but mostly of cats.
In February 2020, the world changed forever. In April 2021, my life took on new meaning when I rescued a cat who was sentenced to die. A lot happened in between. The story weaves the unprecedented events of those fourteen months with personal experiences and remembrances—a childhood filled with nameless fear; growing up into the hippie sixties; a happy marriage against all odds. “There were cats then too—I wouldn’t have made it through without them.”
“Cat Hair” is an ode to the power of the human-feline bond and the very real and healing presence of cats. I saved them while they saved me. These are some of the things I learned along the way.
What Cats Teach Us: The Cat Book Of Life Strategies
A compilation of inspirational quotes from my new memoir, There’s a Cat Hair in My Mask: How Cats Helped Me through Unprecedented Times.
Live in the moment.
“I often find myself needing to ground my emotions, and it helps to take a time out to think like a cat: What’s happening right now? What are things over which I have no control? What must I put aside? What can I do right now to make things better?”
“When I was depressed or tired or sad, Blaze would come to lie down with me. If I wasn’t already on the couch, he would entice me there. Then he would get up on top of me, his nose to mine, and breathe, just breathe.
Of course he was breathing—all living animals breathe—but it seemed more than that. He was leading me by his example. If I just tuned my breaths to his, I would be alright.”
Progress, not perfection.
“Blaze was a bit of an awkward cat, not the kind who could navigate a shelf of breakables without accidentally nudging one off. It might have had to do with his fractured arm and the six months it took him to heal, or maybe he was like that before. Either way, it was an endearing trait, reminding me we don’t need to be perfect to be loved. I loved him with all my heart, just the way he was.”
Rest is good.
“The minute I lay down on the couch, Blaze would appear out of nowhere to come rest with me. Cats are so good at resting. I’m sure in cat language, there must be at least twenty different words for sleep.”
“The cats, each in their own way, urged me through my low points. They showed me by their stoic example that life was meant to be lived to the fullest, day to day. Prom Date, in spite of a painful and debilitating injury, was always cheerful and glad to see me. Tyler greeted each morning with energy and enthusiasm. Blaze, in his shy-boy way, let love guide him through. Ginchan, who suffered multiple life-threatening issues, persevered—that was his nature.
Watching him sleeping peacefully in a sun-spot or curled up in his cube helped me to understand we have a choice. We can mope or fear or whine, or we can do something we enjoy, something that makes us healthy in mind and body, something that can be of help to others. We can put aside things we can’t change and concentrate on what we can.”
Take care of yourself.
“In our society, we, especially women, are taught to put others first—our partners, our children, even our mundane jobs. But if we don’t take care of ourselves, how can we expect to care for others? Our first great responsibility is to stay healthy, which entails, to some degree, being happy and satisfied with our lives. From that place of confidence, we can reach out to those around us and make the world a better place. It’s not selfishness—it’s self-respect.”
Roll with the punches.
“I once had a cat, Atilla who, as he got older, slowly lost his sight. I didn’t realize until I took him in for a checkup, and the doctor asked me if I knew my cat was blind. I’d had no idea. Atilla continued functioning the same as he always did. Cats are stoic. They accept their changes.”
Move on from tragedy.
“I had Barry with me for a mere six days, but his will to thrive remains in my heart and mind forever. In spite of having endured terrible experiences, unending pain, and life in a hopeless situation, he was ready to change and learn. His love (and curiosity) overcame the ordeals of his past.”
“Cats don’t require social niceties. Living with cats had shown me I didn’t have to put on airs. I only needed to be myself because really that’s all I was and ever would be.”
Take a time-out.
“The week at the beach doing nothing had allowed my anxiety and depression to recede. Often that’s what it took. Better than medication, better than therapists—a period of time spent in seclusion, not burdening my mind with have-to-do’s and should-do’s, keeping the outside stress to a minimum and vanquishing inside stress with meditation, prayer, and whatever else it took to feel whole again. Cats teach us these things every day of their lives.”
Be your own center.
“Look at a cat as he relaxes into a nap. Watch his body language and listen to his breathing. Tyler is a perfect example. After years as a street stray, he’s always very much aware of himself, whether he’s awake and running zoomies around the house or enjoying one of his many daily naps. He is his own center. He takes care of himself. If he needs sleep, he sleeps; if he needs exercise, he runs, jumps, and plays. If he needs companionship, he gets up beside me and curls into a warm, purring ball.”
Worry is a waste.
“Cats don’t worry the way humans do. Though Tyler carries the memories of hard times, he doesn’t bring them forward into today. Today he slits his eyes and settles to rest, acknowledging the safety of his immediate surroundings. He hasn’t forgotten there is danger in the world; he’s merely accepted that today is not dangerous.”
We all have bad times.
“The fourth of February was a day of mourning for me and always would be, but instead of letting it make me feel defeated and small, I concentrated on Jaimz’s needs. There was a correlation between my and Jaimz’s misfortunes. We’d both endured horrific physical and mental damage, but Jaimz showed me how to accept it. Tragedy is part of life—for everyone.”
Resilience is strength.
“With love and time, Jaimz regained his equilibrium and was a happy cat once more. His ability to bounce back was remarkable and set a precedent that I felt dutybound to follow.”
Wishing you many cats and much hope as we paw our way into a new year.
Truly beautiful, Mollie.
Writing about real stuff is new for me. Your support means a lot. Thank you!
That sounds truly delightful.
…with a few scary parts mixed in.
Looking forward to reading this, Mollie! It might be awhile since I’m lagging behind on reading.
I hope you like it.
Thank you for sharing this with us 🙏
Congratulations on the launching of your memoirs 💫💚🌟