There’s a pink and purple tie-dye dress at PetSmart.  

In a small size. For little dogs. Perfect for my  

petite cat, Petunia. Had to get it. I couldn’t resist.  

Of course, she hated it. Slipped out of it in less  

than sixty seconds. Barely enough time to snap  

a quick photo for my Facebook page. How do they  

do it? How do those people on social snap zillions  

of perfectly posed cat photos every day? All those  

cats dressed in outfits from adorable to bizarre,  

just lounging around in front of the camera,  

enjoying their new clothes. Are these cats drugged?  

Mine would have to be, talented escape artists  

that they are. There must be a trick to this. What  

is it? Like the video I saw on YouTube last week.  

Stress control. How to. It seems eliminating stress  

is as easy as changing your focus. Stress is like  

a dress with the real me lurking beneath it.  

I have the ability to slip out of that stress-dress  

as quickly as Petunia shedding her pink and purple  

tie-dye. All I have to do is change my focus, change  

my story, change my mind. Really? That’s it? That’s  

all? True, Petunia is a stress-free cat. The calmest  

cat I’ve ever known. Maybe there’s something  

to this stress-dress thing. Or maybe she just hates  

wearing dog clothes. Can’t blame her for that.  

Laura Stamps is a narrative poet and the author of several books: THE YEAR OF THE CAT, IN THE GARDEN, CAT DAZE, TUNING OUT, and more. Winner of the Muses Prize. Recipient of 7 Pushcart Prize nominations. Shortlisted in the Loft Books Poetry Competition. Twitter: @LauraStamps16.   

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