My Cats Teach Me to Face Fear and Embrace Big Life Decisions


Big life decisions can stop you in your tracks. And sometimes, there’s lots of fear floating around such decisions. Our emotional human fear is probably something cats don’t understand. Still, through their behavior they can teach me a lot about fear and these big decisions — and they do. Sometimes, just observing a playing cat, or jumping into the play, is enough to put my mind in a better place! I’ve always believed my cats are huge teachers. Here are some of the things my cats have helped me learn about fear and big change.

1. When you laugh at fear, you make it smaller

When you laugh, everything good gets better, and everything not-so-good, or unnecessary gets less important. And when you laugh at fear, it does get smaller and lose its power. I think it’s best if the laughter is natural and genuine.

What better example than your cats? Mine always make me laugh, in the most pure and genuine way. So if you need to make fear a little smaller, let your cats help you laugh — when they play or when they do those endearing things we love. Look for opportunities to laugh with your cats and watch the fear and the stress wither into the distance! If your cats are napping, rile them up, get them to play, and laugh some more at their antics.

2. Leap without regard!

Watch your cat jump for a fly on the window. He’ll jump and jump and jump — he doesn’t care if it’s a fly or a bumblebee. He’s only got that single-pointed focus, and he’s going after the prize. He doesn’t care if there’s a stinger on the end of that prize, or if the prize is a harmless and tasty insect.

Sometimes we have to get past all the stuff in our heads and just leap. I was reading a book by Jack Canfield recently, in which he said the same thing. We can waste too much time planning, when it can be time to take the leap. So, look to your cat for inspiration. Take the leap! Fear may be with you, of course — that’s entirely human. And fear will soon fall away.

3. Do everything with passion

A cat takes the greatest delight in jumping for a fly or chasing a red dot. We can be the same. Passionate people love what they do and attract success. Your cat is trying to show you this. Take note of their all-out enthusiasm when they do anything — play, jump, eat, even wrestle. What would your life look like if you applied such enthusiasm to every living moment? Wow! Life would certainly be fun. And there we go again. Fear has a hard time thriving in the energy of fun. So, harness your passion. If you need a reminder, just watch the passionate, focused way a cat moves, hunts, plays, jumps. They’re masters of passion and focus.

4. Move on quickly and don’t stay in a place for too long

A cat doesn’t waste time wallowing in the fear place, and neither should we. They may be anxious about something, but they move on. They are easily distracted by more fun things such as food or toys or more play. We can learn from this. If you feel like you’re spending too much time mulling over fear or big decisions, distract yourself temporarily with some fun or play. Better yet, play with your cat! (Notice a common denominator? There’s lots to be said for playing with your cat!)

When we get in a rut, we get more fearful of change. Your cat can help you here. No cat stays in one place (or one rut) for too long. They may sleep in one position for 12 or 16 hours, but if a bird flies into the window, or if the pellet bucket is rattled, they’re up — the past 16 hours instantly forgotten. We can do this, too. We just have to move. So if you feel stuck in a rut, move your body. This is often the first step to larger progress. Better yet, play with your cat!

Remember that a certain bit of fear may be good — keeping you fresh and ready for more life!

How have your cats helped you when you’ve been dealing with fear or a big decision? What can your cats teach you about fear? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

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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.

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