If Dogs Are Man’s Best Friend, Then Cats Are This Woman’s Best Teacher
It was only seven short years ago, I would have told you I was not really a cat person. It was not because I did not like cats. They are one of God’s most elegant creatures. When I grew up, our family had a fluffy purr ball Persian, named Muffy. She was an octogenarian, living to a ripe old age of 18. But she was kinda aloof, and like so many of her feline counterparts, mostly slept and bathed, allowing us a few minutes a day to stroke her luscious fur. I know she thought of herself as a princess and she graced our lives with her majestic presence. I learned about the birds and the bees from Muffy. All of us watched the wonders of kitten birth, as Muffy produced many cute little heirs to her throne.
Then my preconceived thoughts about cats all changed.
It was all Julie’s fault. Julie has always loved animals. I swear the first word out of her mouth was horse. As she grew up, she did not play with dolls, but any kind of animal, stuffed, plastic or real. Even critters, I would not get within a 10 foot pole of. She even liked real snakes, lizards, rats, everything except any spider. So on one bright and glorious day, Julie calls me. “Auntie Cathie, will you take me down to the animal shelter, I want to volunteer to be a cat socializer and I am underage and need a chaperon.” Well, I am a sucker for my nieces and so this became a Wednesday afternoon ritual for us. At first I mostly watched and interacted with her cats and admired their beauty from afar. Then it happened. I saw “THE CAT” I later named Slate. And then my life changed in so many ways that I now think of as magical. Since then, I also adopted a small riot of a cat I call Pate and of course, the absolute love of my life, Slate.
My cats have made me a far better person and they did not teach me these extremely valuable life lessons by lecturing me or scolding me. My treasured cats taught me mostly by example and a cat’s admiral reward system. It is very hard for me to explain how even my very thoughts, life philosophy and of course attitudes and actions have been changed by just observing these regal, ethereal beings that have blessed my life just by living with me.
I have learned to become a gentler, kinder person, loving without any expectations. Because that is when my sweet babies will jump into my lap and show me all their wonderful affection. Just show a little anger, loud noise or disrespect, cats flee and will not favor you with their magnificent presence.
I have had to learn to accept my quirky cats for all their unique and varied individuality. There is no way of changing the distinct personality of any cat. And who would want to make them into a one size fits all kind of cat? I get such a kick watching them flaunt their personality with such abandon. “To thine own self be true” is definitely every cat’s motto.
I have grown to appreciate how cats do not pull any punches about their true feelings on any subject that affects them. It is always communicated and written all over their furry little bodies. Tails, ears, growls and hisses convey all manner of disapproval. There leaves no doubt in your mind, that you crossed some cat boundary that is completely unacceptable to them. But if you should be lucky enough to get a lap full of Slate and you stroke him with love, he will reward you with the sweetest cat countenance and endless purrs of appreciation.
Cats are perpetually curious about all their surroundings. It always seems to me that they are experiencing everything anew, as if for the first time. Fearless exploration and their thirst for knowledge is in of utmost importance to them as they smell, bat, jump and play with everything they can get their paws on.
Trust is earned with cats. They are naturally cautious when anything or anyone is introduced into their home. They get to know any other creature or human with their cat guard up. They just need a little bit of time and space till they see that they will be treated with courtesy and respect.
We all can learn a lot from our fanciful, furry little friends. So, in honor of our devoted and dedicated cats, I propose a catter’s pledge of allegiance.
“Along with my beloved cat(s), I pledge to always be naturally curious, but cautious, when meeting others, gently treating them with respect for their special contribution they make to my life by accepting their unique individuality, while communicating and reflecting all my true feelings, so that our honest mutual trust and affection can grow into earned appreciation and playfulness over time.”
Now that would be purr-fect, a little bit of cat heaven on earth!
And all this I learned just by my cat-full observation, of what for cats is just second nature. How did cats get to be so evolved? It seems to me that God could have given to each one of us a little more cattiness. Well, I guess He did, He gave us cats, with their precious, immensely interesting, and diverse little souls. I am thankful to God, Julie and my two delightful cats. I would not have wanted to learn these priceless life lessons in any other way, than with a Slate or Pate purring on my ever grateful lap. Cat life lessons are best experienced, so I welcome you to join the cat lovers society and adopt a cat teacher of your own. It will give you a whole new life perspective, one you can never learn through school or books, a dog or another person.
My highly cherished cats have honed and trained me on my bumpy road to becoming a “cat worthy” person. Cats truly are this woman’s best life teachers. And there is absolutely no use catting around about that.