In ancient Egypt, cats were worshipped as gods, which is something they have never forgotten.
Dear reader, I’ll be the first one to admit that I am a bit of a crazy cat lady. I
have had cats in my life for as long as I can remember. Scrawny farm cats, fluffy half-breeds, half-blind invalids and flamboyant pedigrees… I’ve loved them all and – more importantly – learned from them.
Cats have taught me 5 very important lessons about how to achieve happiness in life. And I’d like to share those lessons with you.
Lesson 1: It’s OK to change your mind.
Anyone who’s ever tried to let a cat out through the door will know that a typical scenario is: the cat hesitates for a long time in front of the open door, thinking about its decision. It then goes out, sits outside for a few moments. It then scratches the door again, wanting to come back inside. This sequence of events is often repeated a few times before the cat finally decides that one particular side of the door is where it wants to stay.
Interpretation: Sometimes you don’t know if a decision is the right one until you try it. And if you don’t like it, there’s no shame in going back to where you were before.
Lesson 2: Forget about decorum.
The average cat owner will through the cat’s lifetime spend more than £100 on cat beds, blankets, cushions and baskets, only to discover that the cat will spend 99% of its time squashed into cardboard boxes, cupboards, suitcases and on top of freshly folded piles of laundry. Why? Because it wants to, that’s why. For some reason, cats don’t do what is expected of them. They won’t sit on the cat bed and complain about how uncomfortable it is. If they prefer sitting on an old jumper, they will go sit on an old jumper.
Interpretation: Do what you’re comfortable with and don’t worry too much about what others expect of you. If you’re comfortable, you’ll be much more fun to be around anyway.
Lesson 3: Everything is a toy.
My friend once made this wonderful comment:
“Dogs love it when you put your shoes on, because it means you’re going outside.
Cats love it when you put your shoes on because hey – shoelaces!”
No matter what age a cat is, it wants to play. In fact, it needs to play. It’s part of the vital stimulation to keep a cat happy and well adjusted. And the cat does not lack in imagination. A wriggly piece of string is a deadly snake. A ball of yarn is a fluffy, evil monster. And your fingers on the computer keyboard are just… irresistible.
Interpretation: Life gets so much more enjoyable when we make time to play. And who says we have to stop playing just because we grow up?
Lesson 4: You are surrounded by idiots.
This may be a tough pill to swallow for some people, but when a cat looks at you – it doesn’t see a superior species. It just sees a two-legged, hairless cat with whom it can’t communicate. As a human, you are never truly the owner of a cat. You are merely the housekeeper and the supplier of cat biscuits. But nevertheless, the cat does not judge you. It will continue to speak to you and try to make you understand what it means, using all its vocabulary and body language to do so. It will even give you affection, although you probably didn’t do very much to deserve it.
Interpretation: Nobody will ever understand you the way you understand yourself. So don’t expect everyone around you to know what you’re going through. Take time to show them, try to communicate. If they still don’t get it, walk away with your tail held high.
Lesson 5: Stand your ground.
Last summer I witnessed an amazing display of courage. My cat Bobo, an adult tom cat, was sitting in the bushes at the bottom of the garden, when the neighbour’s dog, a fully grown Rhodesian ridgeback, snuck through the fence and into our garden. There she proceeded to do her business – of the number one variety. I watched Bobo watching the dog, and suddenly he darted out from the bushes with his back and tail arched in full attack mode. He ran up to the dog, who was ten times bigger than him, swiped at her face. She just yelped in fear. She did make a feeble attempt at biting back but soon ran out from the garden and has never come near it since. I was bursting with pride of my cat’s courage, defending his turf. It was as if he could tolerate a visitor, but when they started taking liberties, he showed them who’s boss.
Interpretation: Don’t let anyone pee in your garden. Respect other people, but remember to protect what’s your own territory and keep it safe.
And there you have it – the five lessons in happiness my cats have taught me.
I hope this post leaves you feline good about yourself. Nobody’s purr-fect, but if I can help you be a bit more paw-sitive, then my work here is done.
I should just stop right meow.