Okay cat lovers, today I’m giving equal time to pets of the feline variety. In the past, I’ve written about “How to be More Like a Dog,” and there’s just as much we can learn from cats.
You may have heard about our two cats, Stripey Boy and Mamacita. Mama showed up at our house one day with five kittens in tow. With our dogs getting old, I really didn’t want any new pets, and so just called them something generic – Bobby, Little Girl Kitty, Little Boy Kitty, Poopy Butt, Stripey Boy and Mamacita. However, because they weren’t old enough to adopt out, we kept them just long enough for me to get attached. I became very particular about who they went to and couldn’t bear to part with two of them. Thus, Stripey Boy and Mamacita.
Of course, we have enjoyed them more than we ever thought we would and now consider ourselves lucky they joined our family.
Let’s face it, cats are much lower maintenance than dogs. Their independent nature makes them great pets for people who travel and their proclivity towards small spaces fits apartment dwellers perfectly. They are also much more quiet than dogs, so your neighbors won’t complain. Our cats are of the indoor/outdoor variety – they stay outside during the day and come back in at their 5pm curfew – and our rodent problem has virtually disappeared.
In addition to all of these reason why you should own a cat, cats are actually good for your health! Here are a few of the benefits that they provide:
- Cats can reduce stress – Did you know the purring of a cat has been shown in clinical studies to lower your blood pressure? Yep, that’s right, Fluffy’s motor is good for you! While the actual mechanics of a cat’s purr are not quite clear, as all cat parents know you can’t be stressed while sitting with a purring cat on your lap.
- Cats improved cardiovascular health – In a related topic, cat ownership has been shown to cut the risk of stroke or heart disease by as much as ONE-THIRD! That’s pretty impressive.
- Mental health is improved with cats – Because of their low maintenance, cats make great companions for shut-ins. Caring for a cat can give one a sense of purpose and a reason to get up in the morning.
- Cats make you laugh – Who doesn’t laugh at the funny antics of your furry friend? That’s why funny cat videos are so popular! For more on the benefits of laughter, read last weeks “The Shortest Distance Between Two People.”
Now, in the interest of equal time between the species, here are some ways to be more like a cat:
- Practice Self-Care – Have you ever noticed how much time your cat spends washing themselves? Cats are clearly devoted to ensuring their own well-being. And while I’m not suggesting you spend half the day taking a shower, spending time taking care of yourself is important for your health.
- Be curious about life – If you just strapped a little camera on your cats back, it would take you places you’ve never even noticed before. They are curious about everything and are constantly exploring new things. Being curious helps you expand your knowledge and even makes you happier.
- Make everything a game – Our cats can turn the strangest things into something fun. A roll of toilet paper? Can’t get enough. That spider on the floor? Yes please. Water dripping out of a faucet? Ooooh! Cats are never bored.
- Take care of your loved ones, but don’t take any crap – Watching Mama and her boy washing each other’s ears always warms my heart. But Mama will put teenager Stripey right in his place if he annoys her too much.
- Be independent, but not too much – My cats wander the woods for much of the day. However, when one of us is sitting outside, they both come running to spend time with us. Likewise, in the evening when they come in, they demand our attention.
- Be patient and then let it go – Stripey is the big hunter of the two. I’ve watched him sit at a gopher hole for a very long time waiting for his opportunity. And then, when he misses it, he just moves on to the next big thing. No rumination there.
If there’s nothing else you learn from your cat, it’s to live life to it’s fullest! So go ahead with the silly cat videos, spend some time petting your pet, sit in quiet companionship with them. It’s all good for you!