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Seven Things Your Cat Can Teach You About Happiness
Copyright ©2011 Stephanie Henkel
Cats Can Teach Us About Life
Cats are born knowing the secrets of happiness. Of all the creatures on earth, cats know from kittenhood how to live life to its fullest. Cats play hard, and eat well. They don’t get stressed. They treat their friends well. If we are cat owners (if there is such a thing), we likely have a cat who is trying its best to teach us how to live happier lives.
Learn Secrets of Happiness from Your Cat
You have only to observe your cat's behavior closely to learn some of the secrets of happiness and a contented life. If we could take these life lessons to heart and apply them to our own lives, wouldn't we be more contented, too?
My cat's simple guide to happiness is this:
Learn to Play. Cats, no matter what their age, are never embarrassed to let their kittenish side show. They’ll chase a butterfly or roll in the grass in the sunshine just because its spring– you should, too! Play is good for people as well as cats. Cats know instinctively that play provides stress relief, enhances creativity and sharpens skills. Studies have shown that people who play regularly will be calmer and happier.
- Take time to smell the flowers. Cats know that it's always a good idea to take time to investigate intriguing new smells, sights and sounds. They will take a few minutes to smell the flowers. Many cats will lie down near a vase of flowers or a plant as if to encourage you to enjoy nature, too.
- Live in the moment. Cats know how to live in the moment. If there is a ray of sunshine, a cat will stretch out in it, enjoying each warm sunbeam. If there’s a soft pile of laundry warm from the dryer, cats will lie down in it. If there are birds flying around outside, cats will enjoy their antics (or eat them, whatever!). My cat will lie on a table near a blooming plant as if to say, "Take time to smell the flowers." Learn to appreciate the little joys of life.
Don’t hold a grudge. If you push your cat off your lap or your keyboard because you are busy, he will just find another spot near you to settle down. If you wake him up from his nap, he will not be grumpy. Cats know who their friends are and will forgive them for being rude or inconsiderate. They don't sweat the small stuff! How much stress would be eliminated from your life if you followed their example?
Take plenty of naps. Cats know that naps are good for them. They might have to go out hunting late at night or get up early to see the sunrise, so it’s a good idea to take a power nap now and then. Human researchers have found that people who take a 20 minute nap have improved creativity, better performance, are more alert and have better cognitive function. Your cat could have told you that!
Eat well. A cat can usually get a good meal by making a lot of pathetic sounds around their loved ones and looking starved. But cats don’t depend wholly on others for their food. If all else fails, they get take out. (A nice chubby mouse or two makes a great meal !) While a cat's diet may not be ideal for humans, eating a balanced meal is definitely one of the keys to health and happiness. And if we allow ourselves a special treat now and then, it just adds to our overall happiness.
Listen to your stomach. Cats are usually thought of as finicky eaters, and will often reject food that humans consider choice tidbits. If cats do accidentally eat something disagreeable, they know enough to cough it up as soon as possible on a nice soft rug or bed. Then, when the foul stuff is out of their systems, they have plenty of room for more healthy foods like canned cat food or chicken. If people were as finicky as cats, they would not eat fast food or junk food. Vomiting is not recommended, but it is best not to ingest foods that will upset your stomach in the first place. Like cats, we would do well to know what our bodies will tolerate.
Be kind to your friends. Cats reward their furry friends with a quick rub or by washing their faces. Cats show their love for humans by rubbing against their ankles, jumping onto their computer keyboards or curling up and purring in their laps. Cats know the importance of having friends. Psychological studies have shown that friendship is surprisingly important to people, too. Social support can lower blood pressure, protect against dementia and reduce risk of depression. And never underestimate the value of your feline friends.
Cats Enjoy the Simple Pleasures of Life
Cats are flexible and instinctively know how to enjoy the simple pleasures of life. An indoor cat will claim the best view in the house and enjoy watching the household activity from the top of the refrigerator or a sunny windowsill. An outdoor cat will find a protected spot in the sun to enjoy a cool day. A cat knows that the best place to hide from the vacuum cleaner is under the bed and the best place to sleep at night is on your pillow.
Cats are adaptable and fun-loving. One of our cats liked riding in our RV's bathroom sink because it fit him exactly. Another cat would carry a marble up our wooden stairs and drop it at the top so that it bounced down each step. Just for fun, one of my cats pulled about fifty buds off my gardenia plant and dropped them on the floor. (Sometimes their version of fun is different than ours!). One of my most fun-loving cats loved swings. He would jump on the porch swing hard enough to make it swing, then lie down on it to enjoy the ride.
We would do well to follow our cat's example by learning how to enjoy the simple pleasures of life, and using our creativity to find the fun in our everyday lives.
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© 2011 Stephanie Henkel