Did you know Feb. 9 through 15 is Random Acts of Kindness Week? Every year the second full week of February raises awareness about kindness and invites people to give and receive kindness daily. I have been the recipient of anonymous notes on my windshield telling me to have a good day. When I went to visit my dad for the last time, a mysterious stranger paid for my sushi dinner. I have to admit, I too get an occasional kick out of surprising elderly ladies in grocery stores with a single rose.
For Random Acts of Kindness Week this year, I plan on focusing on helping cats: dropping new toys off at an animal shelter, paying to spay a feral cat, and fostering a kitty who’s currently on death row.
Cats, too, carry out random acts of kindness, but people fail to recognize the significance of what they do. By necessity, indoor and outside kitties express kindness in different ways. So you don’t discount your kitty’s actions, here are some of the loving things you can expect from your feline friend this week.
Breakfast in bed. You wake up to find a dead mouse, lizard, or other former life-form on your pillow.
Living reminder app. Who needs a to-do app on their computer or cell phone? You have a cat. Your kitty provides important reminders all the time. Sassy McClure had a Siamese named Pyewacket who reminded her to clean the litter box by carrying a dried turd in her mouth and dropping on the bedspread. This gesture was much more effective that that oft-ignored list taped to the refrigerator that says, "Clean the cat box."
Warn of malicious or deceptive significant others. Ruth’s cat, Blackie, took a dump in her future-ex-husband’s shoe to warn her that something was amiss. Blackie was right. Another black cat named Houston used to poop on the bathmat while Mary’s philandering future ex was showering. You can’t doubt the cats’ warnings had merit.
Garbage/recycled items sorter. Kitties love to help you sort garbage, especially after you’ve prepared salmon or baked a turkey. Unfortunately this can turn on the cat if he ingests string or other dangerous item.
Make the bed. Any cat owner knows that feline bed-making assistance includes a goiter-like lump undulating under Granny’s patchwork quilt. I suspect there is a yet-to-be-discovered purpose for the undercover investigation, like ambushing that goblin lurking under the bed.
Assure you get a full body workout. Would you be as physically fit without your cat? I doubt it. When you squat to scoop the litter box, you’re exercising your quads and gluts. By bending over to pick up toys scattered all over the house, you’re strengthening your back. Scrubbing cat pee off the walls benefits the triceps, forearms, and wrist.
Stress reduction. Let’s face it, world news is grim. When your cat lies on the newspaper or blocks your view of the computer screen, it’s for your own protection. Kitty doesn’t want you to be depressed, so he bodily shields you from bad news.
Maintain your body heat. It’s been long thought that humans lose 30 to 40 percent of their body heat through the head. When you wake up and find your cat sleeping on your face, he’s simply trying to keep you from freezing to death. What a sacrifice!
Heart and respiration monitor. Kitties have a habit of walking across your chest (or your full bladder) and waking you from a deep sleep. Don’t get mad. They’re simply monitoring your respiration, so in the event you quit breathing they can to administer CPR.
Outdoor cats have the advantage, as they are able to actually perform random acts around the neighborhood.
Gardening assistant. Kitties can save your neighbors money by fertilizing their gardens and flower pots.
Keep the neighborhood tidy. Cats may occasionally remind the homeowner down the street it’s time to wash the car by putting muddy little footprints on the hood. Back before I brought my cats inside, Basil sent little car-washing reminders to the family two doors down by spraying the hubcaps of their 1996 Buick with a little cat pee. He also left muddy pawprints on the hood.
Divination. Forget those generic newspaper horoscopes. Kitties leave disemboweled prey on the doormat so you can get accurate predictions about your future by reading freshly obtained entrails. Don’t you feel better?
Please share with us your own plans for Random Acts of Kindness Week and also about ways your cat expresses his own version of random kindness.
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About the author: Dusty Rainbolt, ACCBC, is the vice president of the Cat Writers’ Association, editor-in-chief of AdoptAShelter.com and a member of the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants. She’s the award-winning author of eight fiction and non-fiction books including her most recent paranormal mystery, Death Under the Crescent Moon.