You know who gets it? Cats. My cats.
I leave my apartment weekday morning after weekday morning, for the past four years, with one thought in my head: “I wish I was a cat”. Each morning as I leave for work, to workout, whatever the task is at hand; my cats always seem so content. They are either curled up in a ball, sleeping on my bed, happily chomping on their breakfast or watching me walk out the door with a look on their face that no doubt means “So long sucker!”
One morning after this reoccurring thought popped into my head yet again, I thought to myself; Why do I wish that I was an animal trapped in a tiny Chicago apartment, that doesn’t have other thoughts other than instinct, can’t have the same experiences and emotions that a human can, has to clean itself with its tongue, and only gets fed this nasty goop with little brown kiblets in it?
Over the weekend, my brother came to visit and we were laughing about how he went through this phase when he pretended to be a cat. He’d sit on the back of our sofas, drink water out of a dish on the floor that my mom would put down for him, and he taped a tail made of black colored paper to his butt (I, as the evil older sister, ripped off time and time again). I’m telling this story just to prove my point that I’m not the only one who sees the benefits of life as a cat and others have clearly thought this as well.
So, why do I think I’d want to be them?
Because, their simple, comfortable lives are filled with contentment. One of my favorite people in the world, the wise Dalai Lama, says, “When you are discontent you always want more, more, more. Your desire can never be satisfied. But when you practice contentment, you can say to yourself, Yes, I have everything I need“. I wonder if he knew he was describing a cat. They aren’t restless, they don’t experience self doubt, and they don’t have anything to worry about in general. Besides the obvious facts that Dan and I take great care of them and they have pretty kooshy lives, why are my cats so innately happy?
I started to think about what it would be like if you took common cat characteristics that make them so content and matched them to human traits. Would we be able to achieve their level of happiness? Probably not, but let’s try!
They don’t care what others think.
Really, they don’t. One minute I can be scolding them for trying to steal my food and the next minute they will be laying on my chest purring away. They don’t care that I’m annoyed with them or that they did something wrong. But then the second that I try to cuddle with them first, they run and hide under the bed or jump on top of their cat castle. As I’m writing this, one of them is rubbing all over my face and walking across the keyboard; essentially not giving any regard to the fact that I’m trying to get something done.
This YouTube Video shows such a good example of this. Although it depicts the cat as kind of an asshole and the dog as this friendly, kind hearted friend; it’s clear that the cat does what it wants, when it wants. Even if it means coming off cold, antisocial, or irritating. The dog being a people pleaser is shown as feeling guilty or having to act a certain way because it derives its happiness from others. Cats are extremely independent animals not needing or seeking approval to be happy. They “do them” and are always themselves.
If a cat were a human, they would:
Not be afraid to voice their opinions. Not modify themselves around different people. Be very friendly and warm to people who have earned their respect and trust and not give the time of day to others who haven’t.
Even if they look stupid doing it or in this case, too fat; it doesn’t matter.
They are good at getting what they want.
Besides the fact that they are adorable, they know it, and use it to their advantage; cats know exactly how to entice you to give them what they want. Our cat Fiona, is excellent at this and has many tactics for getting food.
In the mornings, to get us up to feed her, she pulls all of her most annoying stunts; meowing, pushing on my chest, kneeding my head, upsetting Salsa, scratching her post, fighting with a plastic bag, digging in her litter box and more. Dan and I have gotten pretty used to this and have learned to ignore her.. until her most recent act.
She has begun bounding across the bed starting at 6 a.m. and earlier. When I say bounding, I mean that a 9 pound cat suddenly feels like a rhinoceros stampeding through our sleeping area. She jumps up, runs across us fast and hard, jumps down, repeat. This.is.impossible.to.ignore. Then I usually get up, feed her, and she gets her way. She gets her way because she is persistent and doesn’t care what she has to do to get what she desires. Pretty simple, really.
If a cat were a human, they would:
Not let other people keep them from achieving their goals. Be creative with strategies to get them where they want to be. Do whatever it takes to get what you want from your boss (even if it meant stomping on their desk time and time again).
Another feed me tactic – the ‘stare into my soul’.
They are filled with genuine curiosity.
Cats love to get into, see, rub on, and smell everything. Anytime we have a new box, bag or blanket, Salsa is the first to jump right in head first. NO FEAR. They are adventurers and explorers at heart with an instinct to learn about the world around them (on their own terms I might add).
“Curiosity killed the cat”. I’ve always hated that popular saying because it basically means the death of a cat. When I think about it though, I’d rather die being curious, pursuing my passions, and living out all of my wildest fantasies than sitting bored and restless inside of my comfort zone. Curiosity is a cat’s comfort zone.
If a cat were a human, they would:
Always pursue the things that truly interest them whether its a career, hobbies, life partner, etc. See something new or interesting in the most mundane subjects or objects (a twist tie, rain drops on a window, or a banana peel to name a few).
Salsa getting into everything; even as a kitten.
Maybe a little too curious here.
It is no secret (especially now) that I’m a cat person, crazy cat lady, and possess all of the other stereotypes that come along with being drawn to cats. And yes, I’m slightly using the blog post as an opportunity to plug and talk about my cats and cats in general. And yes, I realize I’m comparing my cats to human beings, giving them human like qualities and that’s a little crazy.
However, I’m also a firm believer that you can learn and take away lessons, advice, big and small, from every aspect of your life. After being away from my cats for so long, it gave me a new appreciation of them and I started noticing things that I didn’t before. I encourage anyone who actually reads this to look around your life and find a lesson that you could learn from something you never considered before.
After all this time, I finally saw that I’ve had two great mentors right in front of my face all along. Literally.
Ignore my face, please.