Yoga and cats naturally go together. When I do my daily yoga, my cats instantly join me. Sometimes I think it might be the mat. Cats love a yoga mat. They also like it that I’m down on the floor with them, moving and doing poses.
In a larger sense, yoga is more than just poses and movement. Yoga in the broad sense also includes breathing practices, meditation, and even ethical guidelines. Sometimes I do some breathing practices, and daily, I meditate. I’ve found that meditation makes my life go a lot better.
Apparently, Jamie Bluebell, my dilute calico, likes meditation, too.
You could argue that cats naturally meditate. Why else would they sit still, calmly, studying nothing? Perhaps they know something we don’t. I have always suspected they are master teachers. But the fact that Jamie Bluebell would be drawn to meditation surprised me.
We rescued Jamie as a kitten. My veterinarians were trying to find her a home because she had such a sweet personality. We took her in and watched her grow from a gangly teenager into a filled out, beautiful, and somewhat tomboyish lady. Jamie likes to snuggle with Kieran, probably the least threatening of all the boy cats. She occasionally has a fit of calico/tortitude spazzy behavior and roll around for no reason at all. Sometimes, we start her rolling just by singing “Woo! Woo!” She then responds with a “Woo!” It’s her way of chirping, and I think it’s her way of demonstrating extreme happiness.
But Jamie is not a lap cat. She loves attention and scratches, but she won’t sit still in a lap. At not until she discovered the joys of meditation. Each day I do yoga poses, then at least 10 minutes of meditation, sometimes 30 minutes or more. Normally Zorro sprawls on the mat. I sit on the floor, cross legged, with my butt on an additional rolled up yoga mat.
One morning during meditation, Jamie crawled into the space that my crossed legs formed. She curled up comfortably, and she didn’t move. I bet I could have sat for an hour and she wouldn’t have moved. This has happened repeatedly, with consistency. It makes me happy, because she’s not a cat I can normally pick up and put in my lap, and she rarely goes into a lap on her own.
Has it calmed her down? Not really, though she’s not off the charts as far as hyperactivity or “tortitude.” Is her life better for it? Who knows? I do know that Jamie was originally scared of Zorro, who was integrated into my cat family. Now she flirts with him and even goes after him with a friendly swat on the behind.
Here’s my best guess at the benefits of meditation for Jamie:
I like the final theory the best. Meditation is different than lap sitting, and maybe Jamie knows it. When a person intentionally breathes, calms down, and brings her mind back to a single point of focus, she is meditating, and something happens. It is good for the brain — studies are beginning to prove this. Maybe Jamie senses meditation and the peace that it brings. Maybe she is meditating along with me. Heck, maybe our joint meditation produces something very cool whose sum is greater than the parts. I’m a dreamer, and that’s what I like to think.
Does your cat meditate with you? Or, if you don’t meditate, does your cat, anyway?
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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, 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.