Lessons from My Cats

Jun 4, 2016

Lacey playing with a peacock feather
Credit Mindy Norton

Whether you're a dog person or a cat person, the truth is that cats now outnumber dogs as house pets in the US.   Part of the reason may be the valuable lessons you can learn from your feline friend!


I can hardly remember a time in my life when I did not have a pet. My first real pet was a dog named Scamp. My first cat was named Heidi. At times I’ve had several pets, occasionally a combination – as many as three cats and two dogs at one time. Currently, two cats live at my house, which seems just about the right number for us.

Over the years, I realize that while I thought I was training my feline friends not to scratch on the sofa but to use the scratching post instead, or not to jump on the keyboard when I’m at the computer, they have been training me.

Life with cats has taught me, first of all, to let others know I appreciate them. When you hold or pet a cat that responds by purring with contentment, you feel rewarded and connected to your furry friend. Sharing the love with others around you makes for great relationships.

Cats sleep a lot, and they can be comfortable in the most unlikely of places. Sleep is a time when the body repairs itself; when you don’t get enough sleep, it can affect your health, your attitude, and your ability to think and react. I have learned that getting enough rest just helps me feel better.

Most cats love to play, although their choice of toys varies depending on the cat. Our first cat, Heidi, loved to play with popsicle sticks. We had one that would play endlessly with a jingle bell and another chased white cotton string tied to the end of a yardstick. Not all cats respond to catnip but about two thirds of them will become almost silly around it. Almost any cat will play with a peacock feather or a red laser pointer light. The lesson here? Find something you enjoy and have some fun!

June is Adopt-a-Cat Month, because more cats and kittens are surrendered to animal shelters during June than during any other month of the year. Consider visiting your local shelter or animal rescue group and adopting a feline friend of your own. Who knows? You may learn a thing or two from your new furry companion, when you’re speaking of pets.