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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Mental Musings: Mochi Muses

Graphic by Tess Kerkhof.

My cat Mochi hasn’t let me sleep for weeks.  

For everyone with cats, I know you know what I’m talking about. It could be 3 a.m., and if your cat wants attention, you’re getting up. Unless you have an older cat, in which case, you’ve probably paid your dues. Mochi is only a year old, and I’m getting this feeling that some of this is kitten behavior, and some of it is just her personality. The good thing is, Mochi’s insane behavior gets me laughing, while also gets me out of bed, two things that on certain days, can be quite challenging, and thus, serve as some of Mochi’s major accomplishments. 

I adopted Mochi in October of 2020, when her photo appeared in the Grinnell off-campus group chat. At that time, Mochi was about three months old, and could fit in the spine of a small book. (I have the pictures to prove it.) Her first few nights, while exciting were, well … stressful. My roommates’ cat, Toph, feeling territorial over our small High Street apartment, did not take well to Mochi’s presence, and the feeling was mutual. My bedroom door did not have a lock, and no matter how many boxes and various heavy items I placed in front of my door, Toph always managed to break into my room and chase around Mochi, and Mochi, while fierce, looked like she could be eaten in one bite. Until they grew close as they are now, I couldn’t bring myself to leave the house without feeling an intense rush of panic. What if Mochi got hurt? What if she got lost in an unknown nook of the house? What if someone stepped on her? At the time, she was easy to miss when she napped on the floor; she looked like a stuffed animal. 

Mochi didn’t help her case much. She managed to attempt everything and anything that could signify danger: wandering behind the stove, jumping into the toilet, booking it to the front door whenever anyone opened it. Did she want to get eaten by a raccoon? Do raccoons eat cats? As we’ve established, many of these fears were perhaps irrational. But nonetheless, I consistently worried for wellbeing; I had turned into a helicopter cat mom.  

This is the part of the story where I tell all of you that I got used to her wanderings, and eventually, I barely batted an eye. Spoiler alert: I didn’t. As she got bigger, she realized that if she practiced enough, she could jump on to pretty much any and every surface within a given home. When she was a kitten, she feared longer distances, and would practically throw herself to the floor even when trying to get down from her cat tree. Safe to say that phase ended as soon as she weighed more than four pounds, and now I find her at the top of very, very tall bookshelves. She’s also learned the kitchen counter often has (shocker) food sitting on it, including fresh fruits and vegetables that she can attempt to eat. 

The irony behind this is that I adopted Mochi for the purpose of eventually registering her as an emotional support animal. So, here’s what I’m curious about: do your ESAs ever stress you out? Is that controversial thing to say? I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s a result of imagination that tends to pivot towards cat-astrophe (Ha. Get it?).  

Regardless, the stress is always, always worth it. Mochi always knows when I’m sad, and will curl up next to me as I trudge through my never-ending list of assignments. She also makes the best reading buddy. Over the summer, we spent most of free time curled up reading and drinking summery adult beverages. (The adult beverages were for me. Mochi is baby.) She’s also a great designated travel buddy, and most of the time takes well to her cat carrier. She’s a comfort to come home to, and I’m grateful that I made such an impulsive decision mid-pandemic.  

Mochi in one of her favorite hiding spots



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