Sunday, November 11, 2012

Life Lessons from Dogs AND Cats

I was just reading a wonderful blog post by a friend over at 24 Paws of Love, which talks about the healing power of dogs.  How their presence can soothe, relax, and heal.  I find that is so true.

A bad day at work, or even just an annoying commute home can be made better by snuggling on the couch with the dogs.  Even when I was going through a rough patch emotionally, the dogs helped.

But I started thinking about it, and I realized that my animals, both cats and dogs, have taught me some important life lessons.  Sometimes they teach completely different life lessons...  but their teachings mesh together surprisingly well.  I've talked about some of these life lessons in the past.  But I hope that you enjoy them together here, in a list.

Cat Life Lessons

1.  I am what I am  (am I the only one who can't say that out loud without hearing Popeye?)  I make no apologies, and expect and accept no recriminations. Those who can't accept me for what I am are not worth the time and the effort.

This is perhaps the most painful lesson that I've learned, but you have to admit that cats pull this one off with great dignity.

2.  It's OK to want to be alone.  I'm fortunate that my cats all like to snuggle with me.  They are not the aloof stereotype.  But they all slip away for alone time, every day, even to the point of hiding in the attic sometimes.  As an introverted loner, I need this too.  It is impossible for me to recharge if I don't take some alone time.

3.  It's also OK to not be constantly busy.  Even if the sink is full of dishes.  Or the yard needs to be raked.  Or all of the tiddlywinks have to be washed.

Sometimes it's just better to seek out a "sun puddle" and relax.  The work will still be there in a few hours, and I can just deal with it then.

4.  You don't have to like everyone.  You have to prove yourself to my cats.  They will not come out and interact with you if they don't trust you, don't like you, or are afraid of you.  It's freeing to acknowledge that you don't HAVE to subject yourself to people that you don't like.  You don't have to do ANYTHING you don't like.  Social pressure be damned.

5.  Despite being a strong, independent individual, when it comes to the ones that you love, snuggle and purr and hold on tight.  You never know what life is going to throw at you, and you never know if the ones that you love will be taken away from you too soon.

Dog Life Lessons

1.  Together, as a "pack" we are stronger than if we try to go it alone.  Our dogs are happier when we are all together and... we are as well.  And yes, sadly this point has to be illustrated in a beat up old chair.  You can thank Miss Annie for the rips.

2.  Be emotionally open and vulnerable amongst friends.  They will either prove that they are worth that trust and reward your faith ten times over, or they will tip their hand and show that they are not, in fact, true friends.  This may seem to be an odd one, but I've seen the dogs display this time and time again.  No artifice.  No faking.  No strong front. If they're happy, they are exuberantly so.  If they're sad, they do not attempt to hide it.

3.  If they're worthy to be "pack" then they're worthy of forgiveness when they screw up.  Forgive 100 times over if necessary.

4.  Each day brings new joys.  Live in the moment.  This is one that I've brought up before, and I know that others do as well.  It's one of the defining characteristics of a dog... the ability to live in the moment.  It's a lot harder for us humans to do, after all, we understand just a little bit more about the human world than our canine friends do, and therefore have a LOT more to worry about.  But it is good to cast those cares aside, even if for a short time, and experience the joy that living in the present can bring.

P.S. - I have some new foster cats.  I will post pictures of them soon.  I don't know how long that I will have them...  they're here due to lack of cage space, plus now they're coming down with colds so I will need to at least keep them through a course of medication.


  1. I've been a little behind and am catching up. What a blessing that your FelV+ kittens all found a home at once and together. That is so wonderful. Bless their new mom.

    I think I like the lessons you've learned from your cats or should I say I can relate to them better. Which is funny cause I think I get the same lessons from my dogs. lol

    Can't wait to see the new kittens :)

  2. Wonderful post. The life lessons are spot on.

  3. Excellent! I especially agree with not having to like everyone. How freeing.

  4. Happy Thanksgiving!

    Don't forget to stop by Pet Blogs United next week for a week of giveaways.

    Nubbin wiggles,

  5. Love the lessons... hope you have a lovely Thanksgiving!