My Cat is My Health Coach – January 13, 2017 on KittyGiver.com
While this post is not specifically art and culture related, it is about the quality of life which if that is off-kilter then full appreciation of anything else is not really possible.
Chilean architect Alejandro Aravena as the curator of the 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale, speaks on this and about the quality of life in the Monocle film.
I know all cats are different, and so is each relationship with their owner. Since I work from home, I spend a lot of time with my cat, Pinot. He has his own chair next to my work chair. But he doesn’t sit all day. He gets his wild side out roaming in the garden. He is very athletic and would go stir crazy if he were to sit in the house all day. He gets his rebellious side out running and jumping in the yard. When he’s ready to come back inside, he’s as meek as a little kitten and ready for a catnap. He brings peace to my life and I wouldn’t be the same without him.
Here are 5 healthy lifestyle tips that I have learned from Pinot:
Tip #1: Catnaps are a given no matter what is on the daily agenda.
Catnaps are a great way to avoid or lessen stressors. I prefer to refer to my naps as getting my beauty sleep only because I then get to sleep longer. While cats’ naps can be hours and hours, for people catnaps are generally thought of as just a few moments of rest. The amount of stress in my day will determine the length of my beauty sleep. If Pinot is resting beside me, I especially take my time.
Canidae.com explains why this is so in, “Is it Safe to Sleep With Your Pet?”
Many people enjoy sleeping with their pets, and the ability to relax with them can have medical benefits. Some feel safer or calmer with their pets in sight, and the rhythmic breathing of the pets just may help some people fall into a breathing rhythm themselves so they can doze off to a deep sleep.
Tip #2: Life is great as long as you have food to eat and a cozy place to sleep.
Humans can really complicate things. Pinot has taught me with his serene spirit that I should just calm down. When I find myself agitated by something (for whatever reason), I’ll see him looking at me with a quizzical look. I realize in that moment that I’m disturbing him and I realize I’m disturbing myself, too. Gratitude is always a great thing to reflect upon.
Since adopting Pinot in 2013, we have had to moved twice. We now share a joint space, with somewhat close quarters. While it’s not a big space, I have decorated it to my liking and Pinot seems happy with it, too.
A simple life clears the way for new things and fresh starts.
Tip #3: Acts of cuteness mean it’s time for a chin scratch or a quick cuddle.
Again this varies with each cat, as specific behaviors and situations need to be considered. I would never assume a cat is approachable just because it looks sweet. But living with Pinot for these past years, I know his likes and dislikes. He loves attention, but only in spurts. It seems to calm him just to be acknowledged for a bit.
The way I translate that for myself is through my appreciation for spas and specifically massage therapy. As it is with cats, some people don’t like to be touched and so this doesn’t apply to everyone. For me, massage is a great way to not only relax, but it also has many health benefits. I first discovered its pluses when I was working as a transcriptionist, typing on a computer for 8 hours a day. When I found my shoulder and neck pain could be easily relieved with a 30-minute massage, I became hooked for life. Of course, because of variances in my finances, and changes in jobs, massage hasn’t always been a consistent option. I always said if I were to have Oprah’s money, I would get a professional massage every day. I have always turned to massage to relieve aches and pains, rather than get some kind of shot or take a pill. It works that well, naturally. It is a health preventative, a tool for body maintenance, and an overall problem fixer. I swear by it and so even studied the practice.
Exercise is of course a great substitute and is just great on its own. After a session of yoga, it can feel like you have had a massage. And you can’t beat the reward of Shavasana (gradually relaxing each body part one at a time) at the end of a yoga session. Or there is the stand-alone, Yoga Nidra, a kind of guided relaxation. And a simple walk will do a lot and can also be very meditative.
Tip #4: Cats are easier to deal with than people.
Pinot hides when people come over. Most visitors never see him. It’s okay with me as long as I get to see him when the company leaves.
I have never been a big people person, and the more time I spent with Pinot, the less time I want to spend with people. Pinot is an effortless friend. But I intend to relax more so that I have the energy to deal with human friends again.
Tip #5: When the day is done, lights out.
Pinot can sleep all day, but when he wants silence for the night, I know. He starts meowing that he wants out of our space so he can hide in the garage and have some quiet time.
It’s a great reminder for me as I can sometimes stay up until all hours and that’s not really good for my health. I’m a bit addicted to working on my computer. He’s like my little trainer saying, “Hey, it’s late and it’s just time to sleep.”
Right now, Pinot is sound asleep on his chair. I haven’t gotten his call to sleep yet, but I’ll just finish this post here, just in case.
Yes, I take cues from my cat. While some might think that’s silly, I don’t. He and I have been through a lot and he remains loyal and continues to bring me joy every day. It’s my duty to reward him with the respect he deserves. But we will let other humans into our inner circle too.