Feline philosophies for a fulfilling life.
By Deb Snyder
We often think the keys to happiness are hidden in distant places, the deep recesses and highest heights of our world, kept in close guard by a humble monk or dynamic guru. These bits of philosophical brilliance dispensed only after we demonstrate tremendous sacrifice of time, energy, or money to get there. Bah! Who can get to a mountaintop these days?
Although I am one of the first to acknowledge nature is a powerful conduit to accessing our soul’s calling, the truth is…wisdom is all around us and we need only look to what surrounds us for the answers to the great questions in life. Can our best teachers come in the form of friends, the flowers in the front yard and even cats? Yes, I said it…cats.
I admit it fully: I am a cat person––the often joked about “crazy cat lady” who is surrounded by felines in her home and does all she can to care for the local strays and the feral fluffy ones on the block. Our back porch always has little bowls of food and water for whoever chooses to saunter by. We work with the animal control officer to safely trap and neuter to keep the colony numbers in check. As if we have a kitty rescue sign on our door, many cats in trouble have found their way to us and we are happy to help them. I’ve always felt connected to cats. I get them and they get me.
The inspiration to further explore the wisdom of cats came after witnessing a loved one’s painful predicament. A childhood companion, a mutual cat lover, was going through a miserable time in his life. His difficulties, mostly self-created from poor choices and addiction, pulled him into a very dark place in which he lost his career, marriage, and many friends. It was tough to try to help, as he continued to cater to his ego and worried only about maintaining facades and spinning the facts to his favor.
Like many others spiraling in crisis, he had little desire to delve deep and truly process his pain for the needed transcendence. He didn’t take my calls and I had to face the fact: he didn’t want my assistance, not as a spiritual advisor and not as a friend. He didn’t want to relate to people, and only asked to be left alone with his cats. If only he listened to his cats, I thought. Cats know how to be happy, they know when to seek help and they will teach you profound lessons, if you are willing to learn.
Would humans be better off if we stopped personifying our beloved pets and began instead to allow ourselves to be “cat-ified”? With a new focus on discovering the beliefs which make up the dogma of cats I began to observe cat behavior with greater interest and concentration. How wonderful it would be to teach our children to look with us to our animal companions for guidance on happiness and heart-wisdom! To step away from the ego obsessions associated with modern humanity and learn to simply be…at a more cat-like pace. It was time to look deeper and see what all the purring was about.
The cats didn’t let me down. I witnessed this species of subtle sages demonstrate a slinky mindfulness and great respect of the world around them. Cats are healers. Cats are persistent and adaptable. Cats are wise. Here is just a small sample of the feline philosophies, which can help you and your family live a more fulfilling life:
Find Fun in Everything: Cats know how to have a good time. Yarn, paper bags, flickering sunlight and blowing leaves can all lead to hours of stimulation, free entertainment and exercise for a cat. The simplest of items become toys in their paws. It’s a powerful lesson for us. Where can we find our free fun in the simple moments?
Show Affection: Nothing is more comforting than cuddling up with a pet, whether it’s a cat or a dog. Animals innately know when we need their love and they eagerly shower us with nuzzles, rubs and kisses. You know where you stand with a cat as they express their needs and feelings freely without fear of judgment. We can take a lesson from our feline friends by showing how we feel to those we love.
Forgive Quickly: How many times have you seen your darling kitties aggressively squabbling over the food dish or a new toy, then moments later all snuggled together sleeping on the bed like nothing happened? Cats live in the moment, fight in the moment and love in the moment. Living life as it comes is freeing and truth be told, holding grudges can be bad for your health.
Know When to Rest: The act of grabbing a nap in the middle of the day has been named for these smart critters! No animal is more known for its ability to lounge frequently and bask in the warmth of the sun. When you’re feeling depleted catch a catnap to restore your energy and be ready to play.
Appreciate Your Unique Beauty: Despite having a tattered ear, snaggletooth and an occasional flea in their fur, cats know at their core they are wonderful. Not an arrogant beauty or one that comes from putting up a false front, cats exude a confidence and grace simply by being themselves, in whatever form that takes. A stray is often as lovely as a show cat and neither judges the other for it. What a life we could lead if we all thought of each other as cool cats!
So next time you are feeling overwhelmed, when life doesn’t seem to be going your way, look to feline wisdom. The dogma of cats just may save the day!
Deb Snyder, PhD is an inspirational speaker, spiritual teacher and the award-winning author of Intuitive Parenting: Listening to the Wisdom of Your Heart. She is the founder and executive director of the HeartGlow Center, a nonprofit charitable organization dedicated to honoring the sacred devotion of family caregivers. She lives in Maine with her husband, daughter, and their four cats. To learn more, visit www.heartglowliving.com and www.dogmaofcats.com.