My two cats have taught me many lessons about healthy living. After being owned by two cats, I can say un-CAT-egorically that I am a cat person. The CATharsis of sitting on the couch with one cat in my lap as I stroke her fur or watching the other cat entertain me with her antics can be quite healing.
Interestingly they each have totally different personalities. Norie, the black cat, is extroverted, charismatic, curious, playful, mischievous, and involved in whatever is going on. Sister, the grey tabby, is introverted, quiet, sweet-natured, gentle, timid, thoughtful, and content to sit quietly beside the computer while I type away. Through their habits and differences they remind me of things I need to remember to help maintain good health. So I will share 5 of those tidbits here.
Norie is fascinated by new things and explores them to learn about them. I frequently blow bubbles for her. She watches them, paws at them gently and meows her excitement. The old saying went, “Curiosity killed the cat.” Later a more appropriate ending was added: “It was the answer that brought him back.” Be curious, think about the whys and hows of everyday things. Curiosity is mentally stimulating and therefore good for your brain!
Look out the window.
Norie and Sister love to look out the window to watch squirrels and birds and are mentally and visually stimulated by what they see. Likewise when we have been hammering away at something and need a quick break, looking out the window may provide the diversion we need to kick start our focus and creativity. And you just may see something you weren’t expecting. I was shocked one day to see a hawk sitting on a limb outside my window!
Likewise, we need to get up and get away from the TV or anything that has held our attention for too long and go look out the window.
Norie often plays the “I’m not touching you game” with Sister. Lying on her back and looking upward at Sister, Norie paws at her until she gently taps Sister’s chin and Sister darts in for a quick wrestle and runs off.
Norie also loves to hide in cloth grocery bags, or stalk Sister. Play is healthy in all ages and many other creatures of the world include play in their relationships. How do cats know these things?? Find new ways to play.
CATch some “Rays.”
I often find one or both cats lying on their back or curled up in a ray of the sun on my screened in porch. They seem to love the warmth and comfort of the sun on their fur. Even though we have to use sunscreen, sunshine is good for us too. (Guess what a good source of Vitamin D is?)
Being in the sun and therefore outdoors usually means we are being active or getting out of the house, which is always healthy.
Norie and Sister keep each other company. Although I have never seen them snuggle together, they do enjoy interacting sometimes and would be quite lonesome without each other.
I have seen Norie sit outside the bathroom door where Sister had been “contained” due to an upset stomach. Norie waited for a while then if Sister was not released quickly enough, she started scratching rapidly on the door or digging into the carpet to help her get out.
Sister once rescued Norie. At my old house I came in from the garage through a door into the laundry room. Several hours later I couldn’t find Norie. Suddenly I heard Sister scratching at the door to the garage, which was something I never saw her do before. When I opened the door Norie ran in. I had accidentally locked Norie in the garage. In spite of their mere tolerance of each other I have seen them sitting side by side but not touching on a few occasions.
Friends are vital to our emotional, mental and physical health. They provide so much depth, joy, interest, and companionship to our lives. We learn more about life by learning to provide the same qualities of friendship for them. There is a give and take in a friendship that is beautiful and nurturing.
I’ll share more morsels of cat wisdom later. They are beautiful and wise creatures with a great sense of dignity. After all, they did descend from the lion family and were once considered gods by the Egyptians.
(Sister died December 30, 2018)