It’s no secret to those who know me that I love my cat, Jade. I talk about and post pictures of her constantly, to the point that people often think I have more than one cat. Really, it’s just the same cat coming up over and over. What may be more of a surprise to people though is the crushing hyper-responsibility I sometimes feel for my cat’s safety and well-being, which stems from obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). I am deeply aware of being her caretaker, and this responsibility is terrifying.
During a tornado watch a few weeks ago, I was once again confronted with this hyper-responsibility I feel. During the storm, I was on high alert. I had my shoes on and was ready to get my cat in her carrier at the sound of any sirens. Some of this is logical, but the anxiety I felt was higher than usual. Even after, when the storm had passed on the radar and the watch would soon expire, I still felt guilty about leaving the house for several more hours. What if another storm came? What if there actually was a tornado this time? And what if I wasn’t home to take Jade to a safer place?
My cat’s life is my sole responsibility, and it can be a lot of pressure. Even when I first met her at the shelter and was considering adopting a pet, I was terrified. Despite the instant connection with Jade, I was afraid to adopt her or any cat because of this accompanying fear of responsibility. I had a good feeling OCD would latch onto a new cat, especially since it would be my first time being the sole caregiver of an animal. I also knew I would fall deeply in love with this animal, and OCD attends to go after what we love most.
There are a variety of ways OCD can latch onto pets and animals in our care. This includes, for many, contamination
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