15 life lessons from cats

Cats. Love them or loathe them, they’re everywhere. I mean literally everywhere. They prowl down the streets, curl up outside cafes, pad through the pages of your web browser, and tumble through adverts selling crap you never knew you ever wanted.

They’re also used as a kind of cuteness therapy. Having a bad day? Here’s a cute cat picture. Feel like you haven’t laughed in a while? Watch this cat fails video. Loneliness creeping up on you like scale growing inside your kettle? Don’t worry, #catsofinstagram are here to help.

Personally, I’m not complaining. Sure it’s a bit much too often, but seeing a silly feline stuck up a tree or falling into a bathtub makes me laugh, which is something I can’t get away with since no one else finds it funny when babies run into trees or fall off their tricycles.

Plus hidden amongst the cattish clickbait lurk some seriously good bits of advice that all of us humanoids could probably learnt from. Here are just a few.

1. Taking a cat nap is good for the soul

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Sleep. Precious, precious sleep. You don’t want too much, you don’t want too little. Just ensure you get enough sleep – the sleep you need so that you can do the stuff you need to do. Cats understand this. Whilst your house pet may seem to loll about all day, this is because cats have evolved to chase, chase, chase until they’ve made the thing they want their own (in their case, usually prey or a little red laser dot). You want to succeed in making your own dreams a reality? Make sure you sleep enough to have energy for it – and so you avoid the poor concentration, memory lapses, lack of energy, emotional instability, and increased errors associated with chronic sleep loss.

2. A good stretch is the best thing ever

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How much can I say about this? It’s just a fact – a good stretch, physical or mental, is just blissfully satisfying. Why? Because the contracting muscles squeeze more blood back to the heart and replenishes oxygen to the lungs plus the chest expands drawing in more air. All this means the brain clears, endorphins release and that beaut feeling of well-being sinks in. So simple. So satisfying. Appreciate the little things, right?

3. Catnip, use responsibly.

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Catnip effects 70% of cats. It transforms some into a zoned-out ball of ecstasy, others into hyperactive bundles of aggression, and many into rolling, twisting, rubbing, drooling fuzzmonsters. Sound familiar? Catnip is the blissfully hangover free version of alcohol (also a seriously strong mosquito repellent). In the right time and place, it’s fun. Other times, maybe less fun. Use responsibly.

4. Sometimes you will leap, and you will fall

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Sometimes you have to take a risk. You have to leap for the things you want. Sometimes you will miss. You will fall short of your goal. This is not something to berate yourself about. It’s just the effects of gravity. So whether you failed to meet a deadline or didn’t get the job you wanted or are still working on the same project ten years after you started – just accept it, learn from it, and move on.

5. But you can land on your feet

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You may not believe me, but believe in the cats. Cats have an innate ability to right themselves because of their uniquely flexible spine. This means they always land on their feet. However, their righting reflex begins to appear at 3–4 weeks of age, and is only perfected at 6–7 weeks. So if you feel like you’re still learning, don’t worry. You’re just not fully cattish yet. Things will, eventually, work out. Even if it’s not exactly how you first imagined.

6. Irrational fears are totally normal

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Cucumbers. Bananas. Hoovers. Hairdryers. Water. Cats are afraid of the weirdest things. And there’s no consensus either. Some love putting their head under the tap or riding their owner’s vacuum cleaner. Same goes for humans. Some people hate planes. They have an irrational fear of flying. But others love it. They whoop when there’s turbulence and applaud when Ryan Scare lands (like it’s a surprise). Everyone has things that scare them, just because someone thinks they’re weird or funny, doesn’t mean they’re not real. Don’t listen to the haters.

7. Sunshine. Get lots of it.

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Sun is warm. Sun is full of vitamin D. Sun is the world’s best happiness drug and helps your body release all those important positive hormones. Take some time to give yourself a nice warm moment of sunshine every so often. Sun is good.

8. If you haven’t got opposable thumbs, you need minions

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There are some things you can’t do yourself. I literally cannot change the lightbulbs in my currently flat because even standing on a ladder I’m too short. I have to call up my taller friends to come do the job. Sometimes a little assistance from people who have the ability already is the best and fastest option. Don’t forget that you can ask for help.

9. Being cute will only get you so far

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Being cute when you want something will work a lot of the time. But cats know that cute won’t always work. If you don’t want to ask politely, you can also put your foot down. Cats are well known for their demanding natures. They’re hungry at 5am, you’ll be up and feeding them. They want attention, good luck keeping them off your keyboard.

10. A hiss is worth a thousand word

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Whilst being demanding can be a good thing, remember that you don’t need to obnoxiously bark like an asshole to send a message. A powerful, occasional hiss is much more effective. Apply this as a metaphor to your daily life. 

11. Love the one that feeds you (especially if that is yourself)

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Cats love their owners because they feed them, keep them warm, protect them, make sure they’re healthy, and generally treat them like gods. Unlike dogs, they’re not going to stick around if you start treating them poorly. Treat yourself and the people in your life the same way. If someone is hurting you, starving you, leaving you out in the cold (metaphorically or otherwise), they are not worthy of you. This especially applies to yourself: remember to love yourself for being able to do all these things as well.

12. Ignore anyone who doesn’t worship you

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You should always make sure that the people you can tolerate know that you love them. But not everyone will pet you and feed you and give you giant hugs and generally give you the absolute love and worship your gloriousness deserves. So show favour to the people who do with signs of your own devotion (potentially stop before providing dead animal innards on their living room carpet though).

 13. Have a mind of your own

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Ever heard the phrase ‘it was like herding cats’? Known for their inquisitive, headstrong and curious natures, it’s almost impossible to force a cat to do anything they don’t want to. As people it’s important that we’re intellectually curious too. It makes us more open to experience and to forming our own opinions. Make sure to embrace your independent spirit, imperfections and all.

14. Don’t underestimate the power of mystery

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Humans love the cat and mouse game. Even if it’s not really a game. But yes, don’t underestimate the power of being a magical mystery cat.

15. Walk with Cattitude

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Cats have known since they were Gods in Egypt: a little swagger is okay if you can back it up with awesomeness. It’s all about knowing your talents, bringing them to the table, and showing them off to their best effect (ie. pride without arrogance). You, like everyone else, will have your own talents and skills. Be proud of them. Be proud of yourself. Walk with attitude. Don’t let the haters bring you down.

 

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