He’s selfish. He yells. He’s lazy. He doesn’t work. He wakes me up way too early. He’s needy. He’s only affectionate when he’s in the mood. He doesn’t clean up after himself. His communication skills suck . He gives terrible presents. He’s loud and he’s totally dependant on me. He oversteps all of the boundaries and expectations I have set for my relationships, but somehow I still love him.
His name is Ken. He is my cat.
Cats have never really done it for me. Mainly because I had never had one and other people’s cats are dicks. For the first 17 years of my life, I had a loving and loyal best friend of a pooch (RIP Muffy ). Muffy’s love made the idea of owning a cat unthinkable . But after moving in with my boyfriend almost 3 years ago, I have a new found love for the felines. The photo album on my phone is evidence. My new role as ‘Cat Mom’ has taught me some very valuable lessons. Here’s the philosophical breakdown:
Life Lessons From Ken
1. Ask don’t demand
Ken wants kibbles, he asks. Ken wants outside, he asks. Ken wants rubs, he asks. And when he asks nicely with a soft meow or a gentle paw, he usually receives. But when Ken meows profusely, demanding that I get out of the shower immediately so he can lick the water off the shower door, that is a demand that I don’t take well to. People generally don’t like to be told what to do, so if you want something from someone, ask. Don’t demand.
What’s the difference? Asking usually involves verbalizing what you want with a clear message of why and in a tone that is softer and less abrasive than a demand. A demand on the other hand is usually harsher in tone, forceful and typically means that if the demand is not met, there will be negative consequences. Nobody wants to support someone with demands. Including the universe.
2. Let go
As a rescue cat, Ken developed a bad habit of binge eating. He goes nusto when you fill his bowl up with a fresh batch of kibbles. He eats them so fast and without chewing that he pukes. It’s gross and unpleasant for everyone involved. This habit may have benefited Ken when he was fighting for food as a stray but no longer serves him in the loving kibble filled home he has lived in for the past 1o+ years. Let go of the habits, people and coping mechanisms that no longer serve you positively.
3. Keep it simple
Ken hates cat toys. He doesn’t give a shit about the fancy twine wrapped mouse looking thing with a flashy bell on it’s tail and a precious pom pom on its head. His entertainment of choice: a paper ball made from an old receipt. He loves nothing more. Put your energy into your relationships not your belongings.
4. Ditch the guilt
Ken sleeps all day, every day for 85% of his life and has never felt guilty about it. So if Ken, who doesn’t have a job, kids, bills to pay or errands to run doesn’t feel guilty about taking some time for himself, then why should you? Heck if anyone deserves some time to relax, kick back and pamper themselves with a nap, massage or a perfectly buttered scone, it’s you. So go ahead you hard working champion. Kick back and spoil yourself without an ounce of guilt.
5. Be you. Love you
Ken does Ken. He doesn’t compare himself to the neighborhood cats then sit at home sulking because his gunt hangs a little lower these days or that his fur is getting a little scraggly and he’s not as spry as he once was. Ken keeps on being Ken and loving every minute of it. He is absolutely 100% content just being Ken.
6. Live like nobody’s watching
Ken licks his butt inches from my face and chews on his toenails in my bed. And he couldn’t care less if any of his filthy shinanigans bother me. Now I’m not saying to publicize all your nasty habits but the take away lesson is that not everyone is watching, judging and scrutinizing your every move. So release yourself from your ego and the shackles of fear that it places on you and start sharing your gifts with the world.
Teachers appear to us in many forms throughout our lives. For me this teacher came in the form of a vocal, narcoleptic, butt licking, toenail biting, kibble puking feline with soft fur, four paws and a whole heck of a lot to say (99% of which I don’t understand). So cheers to you Ken for teaching me these valuable life lessons simply by living your truth. You shall be rewarded for your service to others with endless kibbles, leftover shower water, rubs and uninterrupted naps. You lucky, lazy bastard…Love,