After Puppy-Pants found out his celebrity had somewhat increased, he started demanding more walks and daily table scraps. However, those have pretty much always been his demands.
Then just this morning I saw myself looking at the cats, George and Gloria, taking their third nap in four hours. And it occurred to me - hey, they have some teachable moments of their own..
If you're a cat person, here's your post. And if you're not - I'll convert you.
1. Pick Your People Carefully And Then Be Unfailingly Loyal
George will allow you to pick him up and parade him about. BUT DON'T TOUCH THE BELLY.
Gloria, on the other hand, has never been held since she was about 8 weeks old. But if you're laying down, she'll jump up and crawl right up into your face, touch her nose to yours, and promptly fall asleep on your chest.
I kind of like this aspect of cat personalities. There's something to be said for picking who you trust and treasure, in terms of family and friends. And you give what you can. Maybe you're not a hugger. I'm not, not really. But I do like to do small gestures for others, or say something nice about someone when I'm thinking it.
In a college setting it is particularly important to be a little picky about who you spend time with. Your friends don't have to be just like you in every respect, but it helps to build yourself a support network - a family away from home - who you can turn to when you're having a difficult day or you have good news to share.
2. Find Joy In The Small Things
You know what's his favorite toy? A bottle cap.
So I stopped buying toys, and started collecting bottle caps. Fling one onto the hardwood floors and watch the cats go racing after it, until inevitably one of them swats it under a chair or couch. I'm quite sure we have at least 50 bottle caps hidden somewhere in our home, like some deranged Easter egg hunt.
George also loves cooking, and regularly comes over to "help" me prepare dinner.
Sometimes simple things can make us really happy.
3. Take Care Of Your Own
Fortunately, Gloria was a bit of a bottom-dweller, and even now, presses herself flat under the coffee table when she needs a little me-time. George accepted her meekness as submission to his authority and took her under his wing (paw?). He groomed her, kept an eye on her, and cuddled her while napping.
George turned out to be more maternal than we could have expected, and I think it had something to do with recognizing one of his own in need.
Which is a great reminder to look outside of myself often and see who needs me. How can I support them?
4. Be Vigilant
George's archnemesis is this big fat squirrel who taunts him from the backyard. Meanwhile, Gloria is currently enmeshed in an ongoing battle with a blue Steller's Jay bird. She clicks, chips, and chatters furiously when he hops around the patio, letting me know, that scoundrel is back.
They patrol the home, spending time at each room's window sill.
And if there's a bug - oh, it. Is. ON. They go crazy, running frantically back and forth until the bug either makes a miraculous escape, or, more commonly, stupidly lands on the floor and is pawed to an untimely demise. And then they are so proud of themselves for taking back our castle from a moth.
Nothing wrong with monitoring your surroundings and taking necessary measures to feel secure!
5. Be The Special Snowflake You Are
And Gloria. Wow. Sometimes she rolls around with wild abandon, for no reason. Sometimes that reason is that her tail is supposedly chasing her. It's hard to watch sometimes. She really thinks she can catch is, bless her heart, but ends up unceremoniously somersaulting over and over.
They both like watching youtube videos of birds feeding. Seriously.
And they do it all without a hint of self-consciousness. They like what they like. If they don't like it, they won't eat it / play with it / acknowledge it. I love their honesty and self-awareness.
As cats remind us, you don't have to like everyone or everything. Just be honest, with yourself and with others, about how you want to spend your time, energy, and affection.