Monday, April 13, 2009

Lessons I Learned From My Cats

Have you learned any lessons from your cat? As a writer, I am always looking for interesting things to write about. My dogs have taught me many things and as I got to spend part of my Saturday this past weekend outside doing chores, I was able to watch my cats at length. I realized watching them that they have taught me lessons too, if I take the time to see what they are.
When you have a chance to watch cats outside en masse, you can learn many things. While they will sleep with each other, when they are outside they truly are independent and in their element. They hunt and play and race around so fast that you worry that they may run into something because they are going so fast. Yet at the same time, cats are graceful and move with a fluidity that a ballet dancer would admire.
My cats have taught me patience, persistence, love, caring and a selflessness that borders on sainthood. I have learned patience watching a mother cat carry her kittens back to safety after I have shown them where the cat food dish is. The kittens are being weaned and they come downstairs to eat, but the stairs to the attic are a bit steep and just a bit too much for them to handle all at one time yet. So they cry in the kitchen and their mother comes down and carries them back up to the attic where she can hide them away from the toms that though they are altered, still want nothing to do with kittens.
They have taught me patience when I am watching them chase a leaf or feather around the yard outside. One cat will bat their toy of choice; another one will race in and carry it off. Sometimes a third cat will get involved in the chase, but the first cat will seldom give up the chase and go and find another leaf or feather to play with. I have watched them play this game for hours, without getting bored. It seems to me that it would almost be easier to go and get another toy to play with, but they want the one they started with and usually the first cat playing isn’t the one to get bored first.
I have learned love, caring and selflessness from cats with litters, who share the responsibility of raising all the kittens. If a kitten is crying because they need to eat, and their mother is not available, usually another cat will step in and lay down to allow the kitten crying to be able to nurse. I have watched them clean another cat’s kitten, and if the kitten is too small to go to the bathroom on their own yet, the adult queen will clean there too.
I have also learned persistence from several of the cats, which if left outside and they want to be inside will bang on the door with a paw or like Tiger (my most persistent) will actually climb to the level of the door window, hang on the door molding by the toenails of one of his paws and bang on the window with his other paw. I have never actually timed him, because I know someone is outside that wants to come inside, so they get let in. I find the most interesting thing about Tiger is, that no one else does it so no one else taught him, he figured it out on his own. Imagine my surprise the first time I went downstairs to see who was knocking at my door, only to be met by Tiger’s face when I opened it.
Last but surely not least, they have taught me to remember to go out and play every once in a while. We all need to be recharged and it is so easy for the cats to go out and play. If I want playtime for a game of ball with Skye or to watch the cats outside, I have to make sure it gets into my schedule. Thanks to my cats and Skye, I now take the time to do just that, because I have found that even I need a break from the office or my chores every now and then. Even a fifteen minute break watching the cats, can put a smile on my face and we could all use a smile or a chuckle now and then.

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