“Growing up, my siblings and I enjoyed the company of geckos, turtles, a DIY backyard pond- never anything furry or snuggly. So not long into my newly independent young adult life, I decided it was time to go in on the real thing and adopt a puppy. Eleven humiliating and angsty days later, I called it quits and rehomed her. While I had determined that puppies are definitely cuter when I didn’t bring them home with me, I was still yearning for a fuzzy friend. About a year later, I volunteered at BARC in Williamsburg to see how I would do with cats. The truth is, I walked right by Phoebe that day. She was about 12 weeks old at the time and I was really hoping to bring home something that could maybe fit into a coffee mug, so I marched straight to the teeny guys in the back. When I returned to BARC 2 weeks later, the littlest ones were being adopted, but a sweet, curious faced little girl was pointed out to me. I scooped Phoebe up like a baby, she reached up and patted my cheek with her paw, and my whole world lit up. Five years later, I still get cheek pats if she’s in the right mood.
I don’t know if it’s because I work with pregnancy and birth, but I like to say that I gave birth to her from my own body, and I do stand by the fact that, in certain moments, I see a family resemblance. My friends call her a supermodel because her looks can be smoldering, but she is sweet and kind to everyone she meets. She also has very annoying ways of demanding attention, like banging cabinet doors open and closed repeatedly until I feed her, or threatening to knock my grandmother’s handed down keepsakes from the top shelf at 3am, but she gives me the sweetest, purring hugs when I get home from a hospital shift or a 35 hour birth and often massages my arm until we both fall asleep. Sometimes I look at her and think my heart will explode.
About a year and a half ago, my brother and his Devon Rex moved in with us. While we had high hopes that the cousins would be instant besties, I would say they tolerate each other at best, and have daily cat fights at worst. What our new roommates have solidified, however, is that I am hers and she is mine. She answers to me when I call for her, and anywhere around me is her safe space. She is, of course, mine.”
Yael Borensztein is a nurse, birth doula and lactation consultant who moved to NYC from Massachusetts, Oregon and/or Argentina 7 years ago. She and Phoebe live in the East Village where Phoebe supports Yael in the development of bornknowing.co (@born.knowing), a springboard for people to come together to explore their thoughts, feelings and anxieties about their reproductive bodies and the childbearing experience.