This I Believe

Eliza - State College, Pennsylvania
Entered on January 1, 2008
Age Group: Under 18

Purrfect Stress Relief

“Pumaaaaa!” my mom shouts, running down our house’s staircase. Admittedly, some explanation is required; she is not crazy or fleeing a puma. She is chasing one. It’s a regular game around our house.

I should probably mention that Puma is not a mountain lion, but he can be just as accurate of a hunter, especially if his prey is a coiled pipe cleaner. He is actually a house cat.

Puma, a young black cat with black stripes (only visible in the sunlight), is usually fun to watch. He can perform a variety of tricks, many of which involve pipe cleaners. He can hide and retrieve a fuzzy stick just about anywhere. The only thing he likes to play with more than pipe cleaners is his brother, Tigger.

Tigger, a stripy orange and equally young cat, has his own unique entertainment menu for me. He clings to my book bag, which he often grabs because he likes its texture and the interesting smells of school and outside it holds. Tigger also carries small twinkle balls around adorably in his mouth, or does something else so cute that it siphons some stress right out of me.

Tigger and Puma are like little elixirs; their simplicity and innocence can cure many problems like stress, boredom, and monotony. These medicinal qualities come in handy each day when I come home from school, tired and stressed about all the homework waiting for me. I know I can expect their companionship and stress-relief. They don’t usually greet me at the door but are pretty easy to find. Sometimes draped across the rug or furniture and sometimes batting around toys, they are always willing to be picked up and cuddled.

After I say hi to them, I get into my homework routine with hopes of getting to bed at a reasonable hour. However, tediously extensive and repetitive problems to solve, monotonous and unpunctuated hours of questions to answer, and other assignments that seem irrelevant to my life really stress me out. I become a sort of mindless zombie simply trying to slog through all my work, relentlessly writing essays, answering questions, solving problems, and inevitably drifting off to sleep or to some alternate dimension where there is no homework. Left to my own devices, I think I would be hopelessly lost until the excitement of morning could stir me. Luckily, though, I am not alone, for it is at times like this when my cats perform their miracles. They tussle around, carry toys in their mouths, or curl up into furry swirls of cuddliness, looking simply adorable. They make me smile and give me a glorious relief from the monotony of my work.

My cats’ simple tricks make me laugh and smile in times when my workload doesn’t encourage me to. I am amazed each day by the simple wonders my cats regularly work for me. They remind me to never underestimate innocence and simplicity and to take in each joyful moment of it that I can.