Some Blunt Feedback from Your Therapist’s Cat During Telehealth 2020

Dear Client,


I hope that you are faring alright during this difficult time, though I know from observing your telehealth therapy sessions for eight weeks, that you are not. I have some feedback that might be of help. It also might not be of help. I will begin now.


As someone who observes, digests, supervises, and then tries futilely to forget the contents of your appointments, I have noticed a few key items of import. First among them is that, despite two terminal degrees and an unserviceable amount of high-level training in your field (of which you remind us quite frequently), you are all but unable to operate a web-health platform that mimics arriving at a doctor’s office and then sitting down. Please rest assured that your therapist and I can see when you enter and exit and then re-enter the “waiting room,” incessantly in the minutes prior to your appointment. What are you scared of? (I ask that rhetorically, because I, of course, know.)


Second, though not secondarily, I’ve noticed that you feel the need to point out my presence to Ryan each time I crawl across Ryan’s lap, chair, head, webcam, or face. Congratulations. I urge you to apply your keen scrutiny toward aspects of your life that more direly require them, such as your hair. Had I wanted to practice obscuration, I would execute my bi-hourly room crossings on the other side of Ryan’s living/dining/crying area, but I don’t want to, since that is where he keeps his dirty laundry/grocery pile, and I find it off-putting. I say this not to disgrace him—or not only to disgrace him—but also to humanize him, so that you will stop apologizing every time you tear up and start apologizing for your WIFI connection.


Please don’t tell Ryan about what you have been cooking during your time at home. This is an area in your life (the only, as far as I can discern) in which you make something appear easier than it in fact is, and it has inspired Ryan to try his own hand at producing, for instance, a variety of roulades that went devastatingly poorly and caused him to eye my food bag in a manner which made me feel uncomfortable and protective over my resources.


At this point, I’d like to diverge with some advice Ryan has given you in the time since I’ve been present for your sessions. Do not think of your sessions with Ryan as a place and time free of judgment, consequence, or shame. When you told Ryan the dream you had about him, it didn’t make Ryan uncomfortable, but it made me uncomfortable for the both of you, as well as for myself, as well as for each of you individually.


I know you are currently facing a barrage of new circumstances impacting your (and my) life in various ways. When you feel overwhelmed, may I suggest that you think back to a simpler and better time, when you didn’t feel emboldened enough to refer to me by name? When you had never looked into my eyes through a webcam with what I can only describe as misplaced superiority?


Ask yourself these questions: What is in your control? What can you do to help? What helps you feel better and what doesn’t? Is it reasonable to assume that every silverfish in your area, a major metropolitan hub, wishes to crawl into your orifices while you sleep and choose them as its nesting spot?


Let’s move on. The lodger of yours to whom you refer as your boyfriend is your enemy. He competes with you over all echelons of the food and hygiene supply chain and offers little to no protection from the principal perils threatening the current stability of your environment, instead choosing to drive click traffic to articles with headlines such as, “Is COVID Really That Much Worse than ‘Mask Tan?’” He often falls short of concealing all evidence of his bodily waste, thus opening both of you up to exposure by larger creatures. You should regard him as your prey, or at the very least, stop responding to your name when he calls, hide in places he cannot find you, and claw at him. Hiding will be a challenge, as I’ve seen the entirety of your home and it is small, and bereft of adequate recesses—with the exception of the recesses created by your aforementioned insect situation. Conversely, you should regard the silverfish as your allies. You clearly have no interest in eating them, and they torment and distress him. Perhaps they will drive him away.


When you find yourself saying to Ryan, “I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this before,” take a deep breath and understand that you have. You have mentioned that you have “a weird thing about vomit” as well as “a weird thing about not wanting to wake up in a panic one night beset by guilt, regret, envy, and vomit,” in addition to “a weird thing for redheads.” These are called, respectively: duh, okay, and ginger tabbies are the best category of every species.


A few last points: You are not (successfully) conflict-avoidant. Your childhood was unremarkable. Your weighted blanket is overweight. You should not get a cat. If you get a cat, you should get an orange tabby. You have chosen for yourself a therapist, a trusted advisor, who grinds his teeth at night, does not respond in a concise manner to Zappos’ customer service agents mandated inquiries into his favorite outdoor hobbies and the quality of his day so far, lets feline-related YouTube videos auto-play into non-feline related YouTube videos, flirts with my primary care physician, and regularly misinterprets my self-grooming for self-gratification, and mocks me for it, even though literally the same observation could be made of him. But all of that, in the scheme of things, is okay. You are both, after all—and I say this as insultingly as possible—only human.