Cats & Coffee

Sarah McMahon
4 min readSep 30, 2022

[Listen to an audio version of this blog here.]

It was a Monday morning. The air was cool but humid and the sky was soft like soft Laffy Taffy, and a blueish-pink color that reminded me of a gender reveal party if the couple didn’t know the answer. I woke up early; after the 4 a.m. fanatics but before the mad rush to offices began. After spending an hour lifting my sandbags, engaging in an obligatory chat with my neighbor, and checking my mailbox for the first time this month, I sat down to work with a very large, very dark, cup of coffee.

Only I did a bad thing, and drank too much coffee. I started feeling goopy, like my fingers weren’t attached to my hands, weren’t attached to my arms, weren’t attached to my shoulders. It wouldn’t be so bad to feel like this if I didn’t feel like this most mornings. I wondered, briefly, if I’ve ever been close to caffeine poisoning. I wondered if caffeine is any better a drug than alcohol or crack cocaine or meth. A drug is a drug, right? Wrong, probably.

Me being high on caffeine, and it being a purple-skied Monday, I had some difficulty figuring out who to call. Not John, I thought, because John talks forever and I would need even more coffee in order to have a productive conversation with John. Not Amy, because she wasn’t very friendly last time we spoke. Not Bill, because Bill is very old and hard of hearing. I settled on cold-calling a strawberry farm, then a pumpkin patch, then a chamber of commerce. Chamber people have to be nice. It’s their job to be nice. If they’re not nice, they might get a bad Yelp review and their business would suffer.

I recently watched a documentary on Netflix all about cats and how they behave and how smart they are and also how cute they are and also how nuts they are. I learned that cats don’t have shoulder blades like humans do. Their arms (legs?) are attached to muscle instead of bone, which is why they can fit through small spaces and also why they’re so floppy sometimes. Their legs can turn in almost any direction. I learned that their whiskers grow to the width of their bodies, unless your cat is unduly fat, in which case even whiskers have a limit. I learned that cats know their names and form emotional bonds with humans and blink at you slowly to say “I love you.” And I learned that you can train cats to do tricks or behave in certain ways, but…