What the Cat Knows

What do we do when we don’t know what to do? That question was posed in a mindfulness class I took years ago, and it has stayed with me.

Do I reach for my phone, open the fridge, queue up some distracting media?

Do I reflexively find some busyness to occupy myself, so that I won’t have to dwell in an uncomfortable moment of not-knowing?

Or do I open to the possibility that not-knowing can be a rich place, and give it some space, bring it some breath, honor it with a pause? Maybe I need to roll on the floor, look out the window, have a good cry, go for a fast walk, or…

This has been a year of many-times-over not-knowing. I have done all of the above. And I have learned so much from watching my cat, who never falls into a quandary of not-knowing, who always expresses his full nature, which is to say Feline. Or a mix of Feline and Divine, I would say. Just as you and I are a blend of Human and Divine.

Here are seven of the many things Eddie the cat knows:

  1. Seek always comfort. Lie in the sun as often as possible.
  2. Observe everything. Stare out the window or into the eyes of another being or off into the middle distance. There is much to witness.
  3. If sick, be alone and sleep the day away, eat minimally, listen inward.
  4. As much as possible within the constraints of your life, control what you can. If you want to be in a room, shove the door open and enter (or register your displeasure if the door won’t yield to your head-butt). If, five seconds later, the room does not suit your mood, leave. Reenter as the mood strikes. It is your prerogative. You need not explain.
  5. When the urge hits, tear through the house. Life is your playground. Also, you never know what new unexplored cranny you may discover.
  6. When you want a catnap, take it. Who’s stopping you?
  7. Know that, over the course of the day, you can stalk your prey AND expose your soft underbelly. You contain multitudes. Radiate your essence, always.

Of course, life in a human body is not as simple as all that. There are deadlines, obligations, not to mention a cerebral cortex that creates dramas, commentating the livelong day. Still, my cat knows how to bring the essentials into focus. The warm lap. The windowsill. The purr and the yowl and the occasional growly hiss. The sprint and the snuggle, the nibbling at plants and batting at breakables.

The supreme catness of him, no apology or rumination needed. No asking, “what should…” “what next…” because there is only now in this meow.

If you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go loll in a patch of sunshine.

The cat exploring a recent kitchen reno project

7 thoughts on “What the Cat Knows

  1. Well done again! I of course love the example of cats, watching them live in their skins. Thank you for your gentle and deep witness.

  2. I love this Shawndra! Thank you! Wisdom for the winter of 2020.

    I’ve spent the last few years grieving (and occasionally complaining) that we don’t have a cat anymore. Moved to a new house after our last one died and my hubby just won’t sign on.

    Well in entering your piece I suddenly realized I don’t need to SEE the cat, I can still BE the cat! Yes, I still advocate for the the furry cuddles but the essence and inspiration s/he brings can live in this little house just fine!

    Lol, thanks friend. I hope you are well and safe, Lisa

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