I Have a Career and a Cat, But I Lean In.

July 17, 2014 § 9 Comments

sunny july 16

It’s true. Women in the modern age can have it all, a thriving career and a cat.

It’s hard, it’s like herding children, but it can be done.


I get up at the ungodly hour of 8 am and am greeted by the cat’s loveless stare, his eyes like two koi ponds of indifference. Then it’s a race to get ready for work, put down his food, and check his water. They say these are the precious moments, to stop and savor them. They lie.

10 AM

I’m at my ad agency, Circle of Hell & Co., where I am busy and important. I’m not interrupted by a call from the pet sitter, because I don’t have one. But I could, and she could call to interrupt this very crucial meeting.

But I lean in.

5:16 PM

Tampax Tampons is a slightly more trusted brand because of my work today. I drag home, exhausted. But still I have to check the cat’s bowl.

Needs more dry.

I’ve got to go through a brief on Diet Coke, and also throw a toy mouse across a room.

He brings it to me.

I have to throw it again.

He brings it to me.

I have to throw it again.

And I have a brief to read.

“Lean in,” my mother tells me on the phone when I call her in tears. “You can do this. You can do everything.”

“But he’s so high maintenance,” I wail.

“Suck it up,” she answers, “I raised three Pekinese by the time I was thirty five.” She hangs up on me.


I call the feline help hotline, 1800-URCATSADOUCHE.

“You know,” I tell the volunteer, “I was told only the good parts of having a cat. The monthly purr, the dead lizards left in my bed, having someone there to eat me when I die. But I’m tired. I’m very, very tired.”

“What kind of cat do you have?” the gentle voice asks.

“A Burmese.”


The phone goes dead.


I’m planning a relaxing evening after a hellish, nearly 40-hour week, when my cat decides to get in a fight with a neighbor cat.

He comes in. He’s got a scratch on his nappy, uncaring, dead-eyed head.

And I have to stop and say, “you’ll live.”

When I go back to the wine, it’s warm now.

This is my life.

Calls, meetings, eight hour days on flat heels, cleaning the litter box twice a week because it’s one of those new fangled spinny things.


The litter box breaks and I have to clean it by hand. I die a little.

My friend Nicole comes over and finds me digging Xanax from the bottom of my purse.

“This isn’t you,” she says. “You used to keep your Xanax in neat little foil packages.”

I am bedraggled, sleep deprived. My cat has kneaded me in my sleep twice in the last month. And one night I dreamed he shedded his face like an iguana and I woke up screaming. It’s too much, a career, a cat.

Nicole grabs me by the shoulders. “You can do it! You can have it all!”

“I can’t,” I insist.

She slaps me. “LEAN IN!” she screams. The cat cuffs me. I’m going to be okay.


§ 9 Responses to I Have a Career and a Cat, But I Lean In.

  • Sherman says:

    And in a related story: Upon arriving in Japan in 1934 (his second trip
    there), Will Rogers was told that American-styled golf courses were up
    and operating locally as part of their “Westernization” of Japan. Will, realizing the awful portent of this news said, “That’s the beginning of the end.”

  • …and the cats came soon after.

  • Glenn Stewart says:

    “They don’t need power. Lights, heat, nothing. That’s their advantage. That’s what makes them strong.”

  • Glenn Stewart says:

    And Kathy walks along the beach and is shocked at what she sees in the distance. Can it be? Lady liberty submerged? And as the realization dawns upon her that she was on Earth the entire time she screams “Damn you!!! Damn you to hell!!”. And inexplicably she follows that up with “I’ll give you my gun when you pry it from my cold, dead hands”.

  • sarasmile101 says:

    God how I want your cat! Look at that sweet but royally pissed off face! So amazingly cute…could you bring him to our place this Sunday? Just make the husband wear a small Baby Bjorn and stuff Sunny in paws facing OUT… he’ll keep the hoards of people crowded into our tiny place moving at high speed. Plus I think our little Moca might be his soul mate. xoxo

  • I’ll leave him at your party Sara – thanks for taking him!

  • Mark Olmsted says:

    “Eight hours in flat heels” You know all the Vegas waitresses doing 12-hour shifts in stillettos really hate you, right?

  • Sherman says:

    Speaking of ‘animules,’ ever since the 17th century, Sweden has coveted
    the moose as its national symbol. Long legs, nice rack–what’s not to like?!

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