Life Lessons from the Cat

Spike and Fluffy. Photo by Suzanne Whitfield Vince
Spike and Fluffy. Photo by Suzanne Whitfield Vince

All my life I’ve been a cat person. I’ve had lots of cats, but never a dog (except as a child, but he wasn’t really “my” dog) until a few years ago. Until that point, I had no basis of comparison in terms of basic personality characteristics and behaviors between the two species  But now that I’ve been able to observe the difference, I’d like to share a few things I’ve learned from my cats.

Give love when you feel like it, not when it is expected or demanded of you.

Save the rest for yourself.  It’s okay to be selfish sometimes.  After all, if you love yourself more, you will have more love to give to those around you.  This is good advice for those who put everyone else first, and most days are left with nothing in the energy tank for themselves.

Nurture yourself.

Have you ever watched a cat and noticed how well they nurture themselves?  They curl up in warm, cozy places, luxuriate in the window when the sun is streaming in, and carefully bathe every square inch of their bodies.  When was the last time you lit a candle, turned out the light, and soaked your weary body in a hot bubble bath?  Or read the morning paper outside on your front porch and felt the morning sun warming your bones?  Maybe it’s time to start!

Take naps, lots of naps, whenever you can.

Studies have shown that taking a nap increases productivity, reduces stress and improves overall well-being.  Simply observing a cat can tell you that this is true.  So go ahead, pull out your blanket and pillow and crawl under your desk for a power nap.

Don’t worry about what anyone thinks about you, march to the beat of your own drum.

This is what I call “living authentically.” Cats come to you only when they want something from you. Other than that, they saunter around the house as if they own the place and couldn’t care less what you or anyone else (especially the dog) thinks of them. We could all benefit from learning this lesson.

They gave the term “bitch” to the wrong species.

When Annabelle (the dog) accidentally bites me while we are roughhousing, she can tell from my sudden change in demeanor that she has hurt me, and she actually comes over with her little boo-boo face and gives me a kiss in apology. When Spike springboards off me while digging her claws firmly into my abdomen, she really could care less that she has hurt me.

Or When Max (the other dog) knocks something over with his exuberance, he gets that “uh oh” look on his face and then wags his entire body in apology. When Fluffy knocks something off the counter, she saunters casually away from the wreckage as if nothing had happen.

But be them cats or dogs, our furry children provide us with love, comfort, and an endless supply of entertainment.  We love them like children and could not imagine our lives without them.  To know the love of an animal is to be truly blessed.

What about you? Do you have cats? What lessons have they taught you? I want to know.

I love hearing from you. And to prove it, for every comment you leave, you’ll be entered into a drawing. At the end of the month, I will draw a lucky winner who will receive a $10 gift card (your choice, Amazon, Starbucks or iTunes). Winners will be announced in the first post of the following month.


11 comments on… “Life Lessons from the Cat”

  1. Melissa Lewicki

    Maybe it’s because I write murder mysteries, but my favorite lesson from a cat is a sinister one. My sister has always had cats. Many, many cats over the years. So many that she quit naming them. She just gives them numbers. One day a new cat showed up at her door. She called him Eleven. Ten took one look at Eleven and decided he did not like Eleven. Ten took Eleven for a walk and several hours later, Ten came home alone. Eleven was never seen again. Lesson: cats are quite ruthless.

    • I can see the sinister nature of cats. Have you seen the movie Shadow of the Cat that Marianna Heusler mentioned (where the cat kills everyone in the story)? I’m feeling a cat in your next murder mystery (maybe a prime suspect?).

  2. Hi Suzanne! How are you doing girl? I love both cats and dogs. But, I have allergies. Mostly to cats. Wouldn’t you know it? And they love me. I think they sense my allergy and because they can be so sassy, decided to rub their furry body all over me. It happens all the time. My youngest son just got a new kitty. I’ve seen pictures and she is adorable. He is coming for a visit this week and bringing her with him. She loves riding in the car. Now that’s different for a cat. He’s going to bath her before he comes. She’s really very docile. So I am going to have a kitty visiting for a few days. Sniff. No, really I look forward to it. We’ll have fun. Take care Suzanne! 🙂

  3. I’m a dog person, although I do like cats and had many growing up. Did you ever see the movie “Shadow of the Cat”? It came out in 1961. It’s about a cat, who saw his mistress being murdered. By the end of the movie, the cat has killed all the people involved in the murder. Great film to watch on a stormy night!

  4. Oh, I have a dog. A big dumb adorable dog. I’ve never really been a cat person. I expect too much in return so I’ve never developed much love for their “me me me” personalities.

    But, animals definitely can teach us a thing or two about life. My dog constantly reminds me that we need to be goofy and have our bellies rubbed once in a while and those things don’t cost anything to give to someone else. Just a simple goofy face can elicit a smile. And rubbing someone’s belly (or stroking their ego) is so easy to do and can bring such joy to some else’s life.

    Great post my friend. Carry on with the healing.

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

  5. So glad you posted your blog at #myWANA. You are totally correct in your observations — what always puzzles me is that these are the traits people bring up for why they don’t like cats.

    • You’re so right, Sandra. Most people are either dog or cat people but not both. I’m both, and appreciate the differences between them. Thanks for stopping by.

  6. Ha, I love that line about “bitch.” SO true. My dog is really more like a cat, though, so she really is one. (And of course I love her for it!)

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