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Five Life Lessons I Learned From My Cat

Updated on October 7, 2014

Cats Have Much To Teach

I have been an ardent animal lover all my life. Cats and dogs have been my main staples; however, during my childhood, my mother never turned away a homeless rodent, reptile or insect. My pets were always my inspirations along this journey we call life. And now that I’m retired, I have time to think about why this has always been true for me. So, dear readers, let me start with cats. What is it about these fascinating, mysterious creatures that have us so intrigued? And better yet, what can we learn from them?

When someone acts with malice or ill intent, stop them immediately. I have owned a total of seven cats over a lifetime. I have loved my skittish cats as much as my mellow, loving cats; yet, there is one trait they all have in common- when those ears go back, you better stop doing what they don’t like or be prepared to be bit or scratched. When two teachers tried to derail my place on the staff of a very small continuation high school because I dared to start new programs, they pushed my ears back one time too many with their abusive behaviors. I finally arranged a meeting with my union rep, the administrators and the bullying teachers. You bet I had my claws out when I hissed the words, “If you continue to harass me in the work place, I will take legal action.” It worked. I was never harassed again.

Independence in a relationship, doesn’t mean you are loved any less. If you have ever owned a cat, you know that they love you on their terms. Many times, cats don’t come when called, nor do they always stay on your lap for any length of time. In fact, you may get pushed away when you try to pet them. However, there’s nothing like the times your cat licks your eyelids after they burrow under your chin or when they cuddle up to you in bed, and stay there all night. I’ve been married twice. My first husband was jealous and insecure- his kind of love strangled me. My second husband, the love of my life, allows me to push him away when I need to travel for my Spanish studies. He knows I need to jump off of his lap, so to speak, for getaways with girlfriends. He respects the way I make myself happy so that he is not responsible to change who he is. And yes, he stays by my side all through the night.

Find your confidence and let it shine. Have you ever noticed that your cat will lick itself in places you didn’t know they had right in the middle of the room when you have guests? They get those legs as far up and angled as possible to get to their private parts. Do they care what anyone thinks? No, I’m not suggesting you do the same, but stay with me on this point. If you have faith in yourself, you won’t be afraid or intimidated to make mistakes. As in cat behavior, there will be times when you will be called upon to risk taking a stand, no matter who is in the room.

Celebrate the little things. Whenever my current cat, Mr. Big, uses his litter box, he runs around the house with glee as if to say, “I feel much better!” All the rugs on the wood floors have to be bunched up before he settles into his comfy spot on the bed. Wouldn’t it be great if we could have such zeal when we accomplish the little things in life? Truth be told, I surf the rugs as well whenever something makes me smile. I have also learned that when I celebrate the little things, the big accomplishments aren’t what truly make me happy.

Show your appreciation. I have always wondered what it would feel like to purr. A purring cat is the ultimate gift of appreciation; in fact, my purring cat puts me to sleep at night whenever he burrows into my side. There are so many wonderful things to purr for in life. I know when I hear sweet purring words from people who appreciate my acts of kindness, it makes me want to be a better person.


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