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5 Ways My Cats Push Me Out of My Comfort Zone

For years, my cats have served as my life coaches; here's how they help me push my boundaries.

Catherine Holm  |  Oct 3rd 2014


I’ve always maintained that cats are some of my greatest teachers. And it’s true. Not only have they taught me about love and being a better person in ways I never thought possible, they also routinely force me out of my comfort zone. Some see a cat, I see a life coach.

When life gets a little too comfortable, I get stagnant. Well, that certainly hasn’t been the case lately. I’ve had all kinds of new experiences — some edgy, and some great. A bit of edgy can be a good thing and can make us grow. Apparently, my cats are very interested in seeing me evolve into some kind of amazing being. As I’ve said before, I don’t need a life coach or a guru — I have my cats!

Here’s how my cats force me out of my comfort zone:

1. They make me look at predation in a whole new way

Once, a long time ago, the chewed up and vomited remains of a mouse or vole would have grossed me out. No more. I’ve seen so much of this that I’ve become numb to its shock effect. In fact, it’s no biggie to even bend and pick up the mouse (okay, I usually a paper towel or something so I don’t actually have to touch the remains). I’ve become hardened to such events.

It was actually my dog who really pushed me out of the comfort zone in a very similar way recently. I was walking our dog down the road, shortly after our move. I never carry poop bags — this is the country and Corona was good about going on the grass next to the shoulder of the road. However, for some reason, on the way back, she suddenly decided to poop right in the center of the neighbor’s driveway. Great first impression! (They are dog people and I think they would have understood, but I was pretty appalled.) What was I to do? No poop bags, no paper towels, and the woods were across the street. You can fill in the blanks here, but suffice it to say I washed my hands really well when we got home.

2. They force me to drive in all kinds of weather

I’d just as soon never drive in icy or snowy conditions, and maybe someday I’ll live in a place where that kind of driving can be avoided all together. But when a cat has to go to the vet, they have to go. And I have driven through some pretty intense weather for my cats. This is when I try to just breathe, turn the situation over to someone/something/anything, and pray to the Great Cat that I and the cats make it to the vets in one piece. It’s never failed yet!

3. They encourage me to bare my soul to the world

This is probably the edgiest thing I do that my cats have a hand in. I am a private person. Yet I write about things that I am passionate about, such as my cats. This forces me to expose my soul to the world! It’s probably a big deal to no one but me. But to think that I would be writing online — well, I try not to think too hard about it.

I am the kind of person who is pretty transparent. I’m either going to say it all or say nothing. So when it comes to something I care deeply about (my cats), I say it all. It’s the only way I can express what I feel and what I have learned about these amazing relationships we have with our pets.

4. They force me to learn about all kinds of interesting medical processes

Sub Q fluids? I never dreamed I’d be doing this. Poking my cat for the first time (with expert instruction from a vet tech) was pretty edgy for me. I almost fainted. But we humans are very adaptable, and now, it’s no big deal. Thank goodness, because it’s a good skill for me to have when someone needs this at home.

5. They encourage me with their awesome example

Cats are natural adventurers! I am, too, but my cats have taught me to be even more savvy about adventure than I thought possible. With their calm courage and acceptance of new situations, I’ve been very impressed. I thought (and worried) that certain very new situations (like changing residences) would completely cause my cats to flip out. Not the case, at least here. They handled it better than I did. And I swear, they even seemed to bring a sense of joy and humor to the process.

How do your cats push you out of your comfort zone? Is this a good thing? What else have your cats taught you? Share your stories in the comments!

Read more about things cats have taught me:

More by Catherine Holm:

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 Great Purr (cat fantasy novel out June 1), 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 two short story collections. 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.