There is no disrespect intended toward dogs in this post. I like dogs too but they don’t fit my lifestyle. Cats do because they unerringly, 100% of the time, shit in the intended place. So here in public for the first time, I thank Carla, Riley, Scruffy, Belinda and Ginger for that small, but important kindness.
People get a strange look in their eyes when you tell them that you co-habit with 5 cats. You always get the crazy cat lady (guy in my case) jokes and the cruel visuals that cat-haters love to share. Apart from university, I can’t recall a time that I didn’t live with cats. The longer I’m around them,the more they teach me. I’m a true believer that dogs learn tricks and cats teach tricks. We added Ginger to our family in November. It was a challenging point in time for me and adding another cat, in this case a kitten, to the house gave me a real lift. If you ever find a time when you’ve forgotten why or how to laugh; just add a kitten to your world.
On to lessons learned… Firstly, find and lay in sunbeams. Now, I could go all metaphorically on you and yammer on about some airy, fairy crap. But, I actually mean this literally. After days and days of snow and clouds there is so much to refresh you in just laying still in the sun for a couple of minutes. I knew some of the value of natural light before. When we built the house we made sure the back had a southern exposure and put lots and lots of windows in. We got great light and energy savings. But only recently have I begun to just lay in sunbeams be they on the floor or on the bed. Just like magic. There is no need to think, no need to do anything but absorb. Maybe you’ll nap, maybe not. But your first instinct will not be to bitch or dwell on shit or keep all tensed up. So, politely ask the cat to share and try it.
Secondly, regardless of how intense things get, there is a real benefit in taking a break. The introduction of a kitten to the house certainly raised the activity level. Feng Shui refers to this as raising the level of chi. There’s a lot more tussling and playing than there has been for a while. But when you are enjoying a good cat tussle, you’ll notice that quite suddenly both cats will stop and act all cool. Maybe paws need to be licked (or crotches), a good scan of what’s going on in the room or simply a flop over to rest. These pauses are sudden and end just as suddenly when one or both leap back into the fray refreshed and invigorated. So, I’ve come to value and even, plan interruptions in everything I’m doing just to recharge.
Lastly, enjoy companionable silence. My wife seriously doubts I’ve learned this lesson and insists I’d be a better husband if I were mute. But, there is no one in our house that gets to do anything alone. When I work at home there is always a cat under my chair and one sleeping on the chair beside me. Not a single bed in the house is used without feline assistance and support. A quick cuddle and a purr keeps you from feeling all alone. I could do without the assistance in using the washroom – a lesson I learned from my wife called “keeping mystery in the marriage.” – but all in all there gets to be a comforting support in companionable silence.
I know I’ve still got things to learn and the cats insist they’ve lots to teach me. Some lessons like the joy of drinking from the toilet I have yet to and likely won’t embrace. And I still can’t get my leg over my head so I can lick that sweet spot but I’ll keep trying.