Hear me out on this one. Yes, this may be a thinly veiled excuse to show you pictures of my cats. I’m going to go ahead and say that 2 weeks after graduation, I have not yet become a crazy cat lady. But I do spend a lot of time with these little fools. Some people hate cats (which is kind of mean; look how adorable they are) but I tend to think that they are pretty smart. Here are some things that I think we can learn from cats:
Make your positive attributes outweigh your shortcomings.
I’m kind of allergic to my parents’ cats. Not that I need to have shots or anything, but they make me pretty uncomfortable sometimes. However, their other cat-like attributes outweigh the fact that they make me sneeze. They will always make me sneeze, but I’m willing to overlook that because they entertain me, they sit on the couch and watch Food Network with me without complaining, and they are very generous about posing for Instagram photos. We all do things that make other people not that happy. This is just how the world works. But we should make sure that our positive characteristics that serve to improve and enlighten others’ lives are our defining factors. That way, we can be pretty sure that our friends and coworkers won’t (metaphorically) give us to the animal shelter.
Take calculated risks.
This morning I found my sort of fat and arthritic cat, Gwen, strutting around on the kitchen counter. He (yes, Gwen is a “he”; the cat’s gender dysphoria is a topic for another day) had to use a complex network of items in the kitchen to get up there and he couldn’t really get down without help. But he was up there rooting around in cupboards, checking out the sink and coffee maker, having a grand old time. Gwen’s life doesn’t usually get beyond the height of the sofa, so this was a big endeavor. And like I said, he couldn’t jump down from the counter once he got up there. This didn’t stop him, though. Seize opportunities when they present themselves. Carpe diem! But know that you might not be able to get down off of the counter (so to speak) so make sure you have some kind of backup plan.
I think this is why many people don’t like cats. They are eventually going to get what they want. Whether by their insistent purring, passive-aggressive acts like tipping over their water, or just walking around your feet until you notice them, the cats are going to make you bend to their will. The lesson here is that if you want to get treats (metaphorically, again) you need to focus on that goal and be able to exert influence, charisma, and dedication to get others to help you reach it.
Take time to appreciate the world around you.
Cats are expert observers. I am not suggesting that you actually go sit in a window for hours, but how often do we really take the time to stop to look at and listen to our environments? It’s about getting outside of yourself and keeping your eyes and ears open to what’s occurring every day. I was recently driving down a road that I’ve driven a thousand times, but I was in the passenger seat instead of the driver’s seat. I noticed three or four things I had never noticed before, simply because I wasn’t looking before. We can go through our entire lives with things sitting right outside the window that we never take time to see.
Sleep is important.
I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: there is really nothing to be gained from skimping on resting and rejuvenating one’s body. I have no idea, scientifically speaking, why cats sleep so much, but this tactic seems to be working for them. Getting sufficient sleep makes us more productive, healthier, and friendlier. Those are really enough reasons for me.
What other lessons have you learned from the animals in your life?