Anyone who loves cats could think of an enormous list as to why they are so lovable. Cat nature + cat quirks + cat individuality = a whole lot to love and enjoy. As I sit here writing this, Timba is faithfully propped in front of me, his warm body a barrier between my chest and the keyboard. He does this everyday, and is now starting to do this with my new roommate. So I’ll kick this post off with reason number one.
- Cats are constant companions: Wherever you are, there they will be. The kitchen, the bedroom, the bathroom. On a couch, in a chair, at the computer. Making breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Always when you’re opening a can of tuna, and always when you’re reading a book. I love that Toby and Timba sleep with me every night, alternating who gets the best spot. I laugh when they follow me to the bathroom to strut all over the place, grab a drink at the tub, or chase the TP when I drop it. If I close the bathroom door they still need to be with me, even if it’s only their nose and whiskers or their disembodied paw under the crack. And when I am outside on the patio, at least one of my cats sits bewildered at the glass door wondering why he can’t reach me.
- Cats know how to “be”: Many years ago I had an epiphany that I have since embraced, and occasionally must remind myself about. We scurry about life always doing things. When we’re not doing things, we’re either worrying about doing things or planning about doing things. One day I realized that “doing” is not really our primary function in life. If it were, we’d be called “human doings.” Instead, we are called “human beings.” To me this is a phenomenal life shaping concept. My greatest joys revolve around the simplicity of being. Just being with a friend fills my heart, the beauty of enjoying each other’s presence and interaction without the distraction of task or entertainment. My best relationships are those that I spend much of our time together just being. Cats are pretty much the same. They do like to play, but the majority of their time is spent sitting, lying, or sleeping with each other or their humans. They know how to enjoy being by themselves and with others. Long before I ever thought about “being”, cats had it down to a tee.
- Cats have no agenda: Cats have a relaxed posture towards life. They are easy-going and take life in stride one day at a time . When a cat wakes up, there is no agenda for the day. Whatever comes a cat’s way is what a cat does. Spontaneity reigns over structure and routine, which thankfully isn’t detrimental for them. Unlike people, cats also don’t dictate matters or relationships. They have no pet peeves, pedestals or soap boxes. They aren’t agenda focused, whereas people sometimes push their agendas so much that they leave little room for anything or anyone else. I’d rather drop agendas and not miss out on life, love and happiness. That doesn’t mean I don’t have beliefs and convictions, or that I’m not passionate about certain issues. It just means that I’m not an agenda advocate, placing a topic, issue, or circumstance above the value of the lives in front of me.
- Cats love pleasure: There’s probably not a being or creature on earth that doesn’t love pleasure. It’s a God-given gift that our brains were wired to derive pleasure from a variety of senses. What I like about cats, however, is that they interact with what gives pleasure. Pleasure is a reciprocal thing with cats. When you pet them they bump and lean into your hand, they rub your leg, or whatever object is in your hand. Books are a favorite for the cats that I’ve had. You would think that the sharp corner of a book was the most divine sensation ever according to my cats. Even paperbacks seem luscious and satisfying. Everywhere they go they find something to rub against for the sheer pleasure of it. Yes, they are marking their scent, but much of this is done to explore and experience new textures and sensations. Although they use their whole bodies in search of delight, cats most often use the sides of their face. I absolutely love to cup a cat’s face in my hands and rub their fur backward, stretching their skin in the process. Every single cat I do this to loves it, and every one of them looks ten times cuter. I can’t say the same for humans, and if I tried this on people I’m sure I’d find myself in a sterile padded room experiencing a cat’s worst nightmare: sensory deprivation.
- Cats bring laughter & healing: All cats are funny, and none are more comical than when they are kittens. I love to raise a cat from kittenhood to get the most out of their antics and histrionics. I also love seeing those same things resurface later on in a cat’s life, because I love the reminder of youth. There are hordes of toys on the market to help our feline friends remain frisky, entertaining us even as they are entertained. But it’s not necessarily the toys. It’s how cats respond to toys, or anything in their environment. Timba is cheap when it comes to thrills. His favorite toy is a paper wad, which he fetches like a dog. He also pants like a dog, which gets me rolling. A quirk about Toby is how he runs ahead of me in anticipation of being petted in my bedroom. The way he darts his scrawny little body with his tail straight in the air, curved at the tip like a question mark, tugs on my heart-strings and tickles my funny bone. I have to laugh out loud as I imagine his thoughts in the process: “Run ahead of her, stop, wait. Look to see if she’s coming. Run ahead of her, stop, wait. Look to see if she’s coming.” I laugh so much with cats in my life. If laughter is the best medicine, I am definitely on the road to wellness. I have read several articles on how the companionship of cats is therapeutic. I’ve also read articles that purring is speculated to stimulate bone growth and getting well, which is why cats sometimes purr when they’re sick. I have often thought about the soothing effect of petting a purring feline, and I think the speculators may be on to something. Whatever it is, my life and my outlook on life has been enriched because of cats.