I Overcame My Fear of Cats By Cat-Sitting!

Posted On: September 27, 2014

This week (Sept 24 to Oct 1), I am on my fourth of four personal retreats in Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia. Read my previous posts about why I am on a personal retreat, why I cried coming up from Singapore, what’s in my grocery bag and my rain dance!

I am fortunate in being able to retreat in a beautiful space in exchange for cat-sitting service. I found out about and paid to be listed as a house-sitter on TrustedHouseSitters.com. Of the many house-sitting gigs I applied to, I was confirmed for two cat-sitting gigs for two cats at the same location in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia over September.

Moment of Truth

2014-09-27 09.51.35Now I have a long-standing fear of dogs and cats which I have deliberately and consciously been working on overcoming through the years:

  • Had friends hold down their pets while I petted them (Yes, our fears are irrational!)
  • House-visits for a pug over a week – Walked, fed and petted him (more than 10 years ago)
  • House-visits for three cats over a week – Fed and cleaned their litter (2011)
  • House-sitting for a friend – No pets though responsibility involved (Eight months over June 2013 to Feb 2014)

Since I don’t have pets of my own, I figured pet-sitting would be a great way to leave my usual environment, have a bit of a break, while also working through my fears at the same time. Even though I was fairly confident I could care for these pets, no problem, I was still a bit nervous (in a excited way).

The Need to Overcome Our Fears

2014-09-27 09.51.32Why does overcoming our fears even matter? The more fears we have, the more blocks we have in living life fully and completely – whether big or small. Some fears are habitual than anything, do not necessarily serve us, and can sometimes take on a life of its own, including stop us from moving onward.

Read more about my book review of Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway. My other recommendations by the same author are here.

As a sexologist, life coach, and transformational junkie, I have always prided myself for leading by example – not suggesting to others what I myself won’t do or haven’t already done. I knew tackling my fears one at a time, a bit at a time would build greater resilience, strength and moral character.

It’s natural to go for “low-hanging fruits” (what’s easier, available and attainable) and cat-sitting was it.

First Cat-Sitting Gig

2014-09-27 09.51.43My first stay took place Sept 12 to 16. On the third night, Bangsar peed over my blanket while I was deeply engrossed in reading a book. It soaked through to the mattress before I realised it. I googled and asked friends for advice. Perhaps the cat was stressed about the owners not being around.

Bangsar meowed really loudly through the night, but I was too tired to pay much attention. The next day when the restlessness did not stop, I sat down and studied how the cats interacted more closely. Bangsar seemed to be cesslessly scratching her neck. Could it be ticks? With the help of google, I applied Frontline which promises to help – two sprays twice through the day. It seemed to help with her scratching and her meowing reduced – but still more than the previous days. That night, Bangsar threw up her dried food!

I was worried: Don’t die on me!

I messaged the same friends who reassured me that it was common for cats to throw up their food. Cats are really quite sturdy. I found out upon my return to Singapore, that teenager Bangsar was in heat, and calmed down on her own accord a few days after.

Second Cat-Sitting Gig

This is Sept 27. This second gig which is also my week-long retreat (Sept 24 to Oct 1) has been wonderful. I’ve completed a rain dance, as well as completed lots of meditation, reflection, journaling and writing (all of which I am usually too wind up to do deeply).

Yesterday for the first time, Bangsar curled up on my lap and slept. Awww. So this is it! As part of the trials and tributions of cat-sitting: First she pees on me, scares me, scratches me, then she trusts and loves me. I think I’ve overcome my fear of cats!

Cats have different personalities. This is what I have deduced of my two wards:

2014-09-26 14.07.17

Bangsar (Just Bangsar): “I’m open and curious about life. I never have to worry about my next meal, what to wear, and never suffer from body image issues. Also, I’m cute and I know it.”

2014-09-27 09.39.13

Padstow whom I have nicknamed Zen Cat: “I’m wise beyond my years. I don’t need to prove anything to anyone. I am content with the here and now. I am peace.”

I am not sure if I am a cat-lover yet, but apparently I am now trustable by their eyes. I can certainly understand why so many people love them. I think I’ve overcome my fear of cats. Now back to you, do you have fears that are stopping you from living your life fully and completely? If yes, what might be one small action you can take to overcome it? It doesn’t matter if they are small, big or silly. The point is our multitude of fears end up becoming insurmontable blocks to life. And most importantly, can I help? Besides being a sexologist, I am also an intuitive person and a life coach.

When you are so used to having cats around, something feels amiss when they are at some other corner of the house? Now, where are those cats? Wink.

I’d like to invite you to view:

  • 9 Things I Learned About Relationships Through Cats here.
  • How I rediscovered my love for the rain here.
  • What’s in the grocery bag of an Eco-sexual here?
  • Find out why I cried on the bus on my way up to K.L. here.
  • Read my previous post about the first of my 4th week-long retreat here.
  • Check out how you can run a self-retreat here!

If you liked this post, please leave your comments on Facebook and Twitter and in the meantime, keep loving, live life fully and stay lovely!

Dr. Martha Tara Lee is Founder and Clinical Sexologist of Eros Coaching. She is a certified sexologist with a Doctorate in Human Sexuality. She provides sexuality and intimacy coaching for individuals and couples, conducts sexual education workshops and speaks at public events. For more, visit www.ErosCoaching.com or email info@eroscoaching.com.

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