I love Thanksgiving. It’s one of my favorite holidays of the year. I like the spirit of Thanksgiving, and the reminder to be grateful for life and for what I have. My cats have been a big part of teaching me how to be thankful. Here’s how.
At the risk of getting verrrry purrrsonal, there have been times in my life when I wondered if I had the capacity to love as well as I hoped to. Without going into a lot of schmaltz, when you don’t have love modeled well in your life, you can feel as if you “don’t know how to do it.” Well, I can safely say that my cats sent that barrier crashing down!
If I had any doubts about my ability to love unconditionally, the doubts are entirely gone, dissolved by years of loving and caring for cats. This is why our pets are so important to so many of us, and it’s one of the greatest gifts I’ve received from my cats. Somehow, a cat can get into the most injured heart. Somehow, a cat can help me get beyond bad memories or bad tapes. Every day, I am thankful for the ability to love!
Cats’ lives are shorter than ours. I, like many of you, have helped many cats leave this world. Their passing reminds me that life is precious and finite. I only have a certain amount of time here to do good or to do what I’m best at or to walk my best path, whatever that is. My cats make the most of their lives. How can I make the best of my life? How can I be my best Cat?
Particularly when a cat is leaving this life (and I’m helping an ill cat right now), I am forcefully reminded that each moment matters. It’s a clich├®, and we hear it all the time, but it’s a true clich├®. (Personally, I think cliches contain truth.) So, I’m forced to stay in the present. I don’t know what’s around the corner. I only know that Karma is purring now, or trilling now, or eating well, or seeking attention. I am so grateful for these moments. If I could always have this kind of gratitude, it would be easy to be satisfied about the true things, and ignore the stuff that should be ignored. I am really thankful for this gift from my cats.
Winter got me down? Is the light outside too low? Is losing a cat too scary or freaky or something I’m not quite ready to go through again? Relax — I have a complete cat humor arsenal at my feet. I just have to be smart enough to keep my eyes open and be willing to laugh. How about Bluebell deciding to sleep in an impossible place, and rolling off gently. Or Norton chasing his tail. Or Dyson making crabby noises so I’ll pick him up and dance. Or Chester gleefully chasing a toy. All of these are gifts. Nothing can get me laughing faster than a cat. Or smiling, or generally feeling good.
The cats have taken me through depths of courage I didn’t realize I had. Here’s another clich├®, but it’s true — we never know our strength until we are tested. We’re capable of amazing stuff. Helping a cat pass on — that takes courage. We do what we have to do. I’ve been amazed that I had any courage at all, and I thank my cats for their part in this.
The cats are great teachers. I think I’ll go thank a cat now. Gotta capture that moment and stay in the present! Thanksgiving with cats takes on a new meaning.
What are you thankful for? What are you grateful for about your cats? How have your cats taught you thankfulness?
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About Catherine Holm: Told that she is funny but doesn’t know it, accused of being an unintentional con artist by her husband, quiet, with frequent unannounced bursts into dancing liveliness, Cat Holm loves writing about, working for, and living with cats. She is the author of the cat-themed memoir Driving with Cats: Ours for a Short Time, the creator of Ann Catanzaro cat fantasy story gift books, and the author of a short story collection about people and place. She loves to dance, be outside whenever possible, read, play with cats, make music, do and teach yoga, and write. Cat lives in the woods, which she loves as much as really dark chocolate, and gets regular inspiration shots along with her double espresso shots from the city.