I can have thin and sensitive skin, like fellow Catster writer Angie Bailey. I tried my darndest to change this about myself when I was younger and less wise, but I learned over the years that that’s who I am. Trying to change what’s true about yourself is a futile and destructive practice.
So, instead, I have learned the value of relaxation in my life, and my cats have been my greatest teachers. Relaxation is key when my sensitive skin turns into more of a liability than a blessing. It always puts me in a better place. And here’s where my cats help out. With their constant reminders, I learn to slow down and relax, over and over again. Here’s how:
It’s hard to go running from one place to another when a cat is blocking your way. How can I possibly get mad at them? Zorro is particularly possessive. He’s instantly at the doorway, my feet, or at my side, wherever I am. Then, he chirps and rolls around. This takes me quickly to a really good place. I’m forced (forced is not the best word — maybe I’m guided) to pet and love Zorro. And all is well with the world.
Once the cats are in my way, I’m tuned into them. I’m fascinated with their actions and behaviors. I want to pet them and play with them and love them. I want to take pictures of them. I love each unique aspect of them. Jamie Bluebell helps me relax by showing me her soft and silky fur. I can’t resist petting and playing with her and telling her how pretty she is. Kieran gives me his wiser-than-an-old soul look from the window. Then I have to tell him how handsome and special and unique he is. Even the action of writing this article has been very interesting. It’s been peppered with a bunch of cat pictures I’ve taken. When I came into the office to write this, the cats all joined me.
I am a cat attractant. Where I am, my cats want to be. I’m often not aware that they’ve helped me relax until I remember the moment of interaction, later. I slow down because they distract me with their interactions. I’m forced to pet them and speak to them. It puts me in a good and relaxed state of mind.
I just realized that I have living meditation guides in my house — six of them! Think about this: Meditation is the practice of training your mind back and back again to a particular point of focus. My cats do that for me. Even in the last several moments, my cats have returned my mind back and back to a single focus — them.
In the process of writing this article, I’ve petted four cats, watched them do amazing and graceful things, taken pictures of them, spoken with them, and generally become more relaxed as a result of it all. They could fill in for my meditation practice. They won’t — because I enjoy my meditation practice too much. But you can bet that they’re right there with me when I do meditation.
Would I be a more stressed and rushed person without cats in my life? I suspect so. With their presence, they continually remind me to slow down, relax, enjoy them, and enjoy their gifts. Petting them instantly relaxes me, and the purr is one of the most comforting sounds I’ve ever heard. They bring laughter — also a form of relaxation. If I didn’t have cats, I’d still have the other tools I use for relaxation (yoga, breathing, meditation, walking in nature), but let’s just say that cats give all of these added value with their presence.
How do your cats help you relax? What have they taught you? Share your thoughts!
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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 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.