Cats have inspired writers, poets and artists for thousands of years (present company included). Every day my cats amuse and beguile. They make me smile or scratch my head in wonder.
Admit it: no one who lives with a cat ever gets bored by them. To me they are ever-changing furry waterfalls of grace. Every cat is beautiful and every cat perfect even when they are imperfect or behaving badly. Perhaps more so. Cats embody grace, naturally, freely and Divinely. And what is bad behavior?
There are lots of books about cats behaving badly and how to change them or their behavior. The longer I spend time working with cats, the more I realize it’s never the cat’s “fault”. After all, they don’t judge us. If they did, most of us would be committed to looney bins. No, cats simply act, react or respond. If all is well physically and their behavior doesn’t suit us, it can be modified but before calling a behaviorist, I’d recommend looking within.
As holistic cat behaviorist, I take into consideration the whole cat and situation, physically, emotionally and spiritually. It appears to be a more complicated or layered approach but ultimately simpler. It doesn’t appeal to left-brain, results-oriented people who’d rather clicker-train their cats to behave or those who want a quick fix, or “just fix it” attitude.
Everything is connected and nothing happens in a vacuum. Take for instance, a middle-aged woman who liked her job but is suddenly fired. Her husband is struggling to cope with an aging parent. His wife feels she needs to be strong and not burden him. She internalizes her anger and helplessness. They have two cats. They all feel the unspoken tension. One cat begins peeing out of the box. The husband feels triggered and guilty. The wife finally expresses her anger at being fired by yelling at the cat. As you probably know, yelling not only doesn’t work but reinforces the negative behavior. Hey, it’s attention and the cats haven’t been getting much since their humans have been distracted. And so it goes.
It doesn’t take much to upset the balance. Cats naturally want to maintain a state of harmony and balance on every level.
In the same way a cat rights itself while falling to prevent falling on its head, a cat wants to “right” the energy in a household. The pissed off cat was sending a message. Another cat in another situation might have taken the “pissed off” energy and turned it into one of several types of aggression or shift the energy inward to other types of behavior i.e. over-grooming (licking a patch of fur raw) or nibbling on plastic grocery bags (pica). And that’s only a few of the possibilities.This composite of real people has a happy ending but was a result of communication and insights between the humans first and the cats second.
Spending an hour observing a cat and nothing else is a meditation, a lesson and a gift all rolled into one. Look and learn.
If you are blessed to have two or more cats, the possibilities for interactions and dynamics are infinite and in a constant state of flux. You could call it grace.
Notice who is napping with who and where today. Notice how X passes Y. Notice how A is playing with B and not with C. Every hour of every day is different. Notice what’s different. Nothing stays the same. When we change, our cats change. They can reflect our moods, reveal hidden truths and take us to a deeper place of understanding of ourselves and the world.
If you like the above image, it will be available in our Cat Wisdom 101 Etsy shop opening soon. It’s inspired by two of my every day muses Merlin and Odin.