Cats get a bad rap. Those who are not as enamored of these unique creatures view them as narcissistic, the evil opposite of the selflessly devoted dog. Those of us who are devotees of the feline however, know that they are not selfish, but rather masters of self-care. We could learn so much from them. They understand that life is short, and so their guiding principles are to always be kind to oneself, embrace all that the universe provides and seek maxium comfort at all times. And sometimes, yes, that may mean resting on your neck.
To a cat the world is constantly offering them gifts, which they have an obligation to accept. My glass of water on the table was manifested for them and I soon spy a speedy pink tongue lapping it up. The pages of The New York Times spread out around me is a custom cat bed. My long haired black cat Jarvis looks at me as if to say that article I was reading on craft bourbon was shallow anyway. The laptop often calls to my orange tabby, Danny, who loves to plop across the keyboard turning my blog post into a page of ZZZZz’s resembling the experimental postmodern deconstructionist poetry I read in the 90’s. I find myself nodding, yes, Danny, perhaps language is full of meaningless constructs, but I am glad your tummy is warm.
Sometimes I attempt to do yoga at home. As I lift my hips up into downward facing dog I spy Danny stretched out in his version of final Sivasana, paws in heart prayer and Jarvis in a child pose. I cannot lower down without squashing their zen and so I relinquish my hope of peace and fitness grab some chips and settle for binge watching the latest dark European crime drama. They both promptly follow me to the living room and stretch out on the blanket on my legs. Jarvis drags a chip out of the bowl.
The Christmas holidays are a cat’s paradise. Look at these nice holiday cards on the table! Let me sink on top of your address labels next to this cheery Santa. And what is this holy grail of cat toys? The Christmas tree! Let me bat a few of these colored objects and bite this light cord. Egg Nog? Yes please! Right after I attack these bows and wrapping paper!
A lot of us spend our lives not relaxing enough, overcommitting, overworking, chasing goals we should have given up long and then feeling guilty when we do take a moment to stop and smell the roses. And we wonder why we feel burned out exhausted, and unjoyful. Cats do not suffer this angst. We should carry the cat in our head as a self-care avatar.
And we must not forget that cats often are choosing to find the most comfortable spot usually near us. Part of their joy is to be as close to the people they love. It is more than our warm and comfortable amenities they want. It is connection. When Jarvis presses his head against my arm as he loves to do, or Danny rubs his chin on my face, it is an authentic love that pulls me into the present, and makes me suddenly happy for the wonderful life in front of me that I hadn’t noticed.