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The Things Cats Teach Us

Feline wisdom

Pet ownership in the United States has tripled since the 1970’s. According to the ASPCA Facts, it’s estimated that 70-80 million dogs and 74-96 million cats are owned in the US. Approximately 37-47% of all households in the US have a dog, and 30-37% have a cat. Research has clearly shown there are a number of benefits to being a pet owner – fewer heart attacks, less stressful reactions, fewer outbursts – and some studies show that growing up with a pet can lead to fewer allergies and asthma conditions.

What do these furry friends do for us? They provide unconditional love and companionship, for one. But they also teach us lessons in how to live life and experience joy. If you watch your pet with an interested eye, you’ll see they don’t have the same concerns that human beings carry around that can disrupt daily life. What can you learn by watching your cat throughout the day?

  1. The sun is a renewal source. Lack of vitamin D is proven to lead to all kinds of conditions, but most people don’t want to risk skin cancer so lying out in the sun isn’t very appealing. What about catching the rays streaming in through your windows? Cats are famous for finding the sunny spot and just lounging there getting warmed. Find the sunny spot in your house and allow yourself a few minutes to just bask in that warmth.
  2. Cuddling leads to purring. Life gets so busy, and even with our spouse or significant other we can’t find the time to just snuggle in and cuddle. A quick peck on the check goodnight, or a quick hug in the hallway may be the extent of our affection. Cuddling is so delightful. Cats know this well. They snuggle into the crook of your arm, or the little spot between your head and your shoulder, and they settle in for a contented purr. Put cuddling back on your schedule and make it a priority.
  3. It feels good to take the time for a nice, long wash. Sometimes life is so rushed that in the quest to be clean we might jump into the shower for 5 minutes, do the necessary work, and then jump out onto the next thing. There is really nothing like taking one’s time for a nice, hot, luxurious bath that requires soaking and resting. The process of getting clean is serious work to a cat. It can’t be rushed. Take some time to enjoy the ritual of bathing and cleansing once in a while. Soak and enjoy.
  4. Pouncing is so much fun! The little fake mouse, the fuzzy ball, the wrapper off the piece of gum – to a cat, most anything is a chance for the pounce. Sneaking up, being stealthy and going for the pounce is oh, so satisfying. What do you need to pounce on? What have you been putting off that is meaningful to you and you want to do? What could you grab in your life that might make a difference to you right now? It won’t be as simple as the furry mouse, but find that thing you really want to pounce on and grab – maybe finally finishing your resume, maybe calling the friend you haven’t talked to in a while, maybe asking for the raise, maybe taking that class you’ve been thinking about. Sneak in a pounce!
  5. Even enemies can be friends. Yes, dogs and cats do live together. In many cases they do so happily and in harmony. A cat might find a warm dog’s bed with a dog body in it, and curl up anyway. They don’t assume the “different being” is too different to get to know. Look around your universe. Who is there that seems different that might actually be a friend in waiting? Who might you reach out to and get to know just a little bit better? Who have you determined is “not your type of person” that you could extend a bit of consideration to and learn a little more about them? They may not become your friend, but you could build a bridge that didn’t exist before.
  6. Rest is important. Cats can sleep for hours. They can find all kinds of small areas to curl into a little ball and sleep while the world moves on outside their window. Watch the rhythmic breathing as they snooze. It’s probably not practical, or even desirable, to sleep as many hours as the cat, but think about going through your day in a resting, peaceful state. Even though you are awake and doing what you need to do, you can be peaceful and internally contented at the same time. Take deep breaths you need as often as you need them. Calm your inner being, and seek that internal restful state even while the world outside is frenzied.
  7. The moment is all you have. Cats aren’t rushing around. They don’t check their feline watches several times an hour. They aren’t panic stricken about getting somewhere. They just are. No, they don’t have to pay bills and take care of sick children and watch their diet, but you can learn to just stop and be in the moment every now and then. Pause in the middle of your frenetic daily activities and just look around. Stop and breathe. Slow your step and your pace. Realize that the moment you are in, is the only moment you have. Make the most of it.

Watching a cat can be just a lot of fun, and it can also be a wise thing to do if you learn from the feline wisdom. What do you need to do differently to enjoy your life a little bit more? See if the cat has something to teach you.

More from Beverly D. Flaxington
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