Self-care is probably one of the most talked about concepts nowadays. There’s even a whole month dedicated to it on social media – #SelfCareSeptember. But what does it actually mean, why are many of us so bad at it, and what lessons can we learn from cats? Quite a lot as it turns out, so here are five self-care lessons my cats have taught me.
We have three cats: Jester, my beloved old boy, Spooky, Flora’s three-year-old, and Ginger, Alan’s hobo that came to stay. The one thing they all have in common is how much they sleep – as a rule, most cats will sleep for 16-18 hours a day. Whether that’s on a sunny chair, on (or sometimes in) our beds, or even in the laundry basket. They know what they need and are experts at getting their rest
While sleeping 16-18 hours a day isn’t practical or possible for most of us, taking time out to recharge, without feeling shame or guilt, should be. I’m very bad at this, and I know the cumulative effect of never switching off does impact on my quality of sleep. The first self-care lesson I’ve learned from my cats is to conserve energy for the important things such as…
Cats are not omnivores, vegetarians, or vegans. They need the protein in an-all meat diet so feeding the correct food is very important. Recently, I’ve been treating them with some gourmet Whiskas cat casseroles pouches * which were very kindly sent for their review, including a 7+ years box, just for Jester, whose elderly taste buds are apparently more discerning <3 Whiskas has over 60 years of experience making cat food for every stage of a cat’s life. The company works hard to develop great quality, nutritious products to help keep cats of all breeds and ages happy and healthy.
Verdict: our three loved the casseroles, even Spooky, whose preferred diet is usually something he’s caught himself. Based on this reception, I think the new casseroles are a brilliant daily treat 🙂
Taking my cues from our cats, switching up our meals is something that I want us to implement as a family. With an ultra-fussy eight year old to feed too, this is a challenge but I think we deserve a break from the usually bland weeknight fare. Time to blow the dust off some of my recipe book collection and cook us up some treats too.
Cats are adept at keeping themselves clean and groomed. While bathing in your own spit might not seem very hygienic, their barbed tongues keep their fur knot-free and waterproof (to a point). And if they get the odd minor injury, the enzymes in their saliva are a very effective infection control. I can’t think of any other animal that takes as much time and care over their appearance as a cat, to such stunning effect. Am I biased? Yes. Am I right? Yes.
And this is another self-care lesson for me: time spent on my appearance (clothes, hair, make up, nails) is not an indulgence if it makes me feel good. I was sent some beautiful nail polishes recently in some blogger self-care box swaps, which I need to start using. In the meantime, time spent brushing and stroking our cats is a calming treat for them as well as for me.
Cats love to play, it’s how kittens hone their stalking, hunting, fighting, and catching prey skills, as well as cementing their family connections. Adult cats enjoy playing too, albeit not as frequently. Sometimes with their owners, sometimes with each other, like Ginger and Spooky who love a bit of rough and tumble. I used to play with Jester and Spooky when they were kittens and the joyful interaction was something I always enjoyed. Reflected sunlight from a watch face used to drive them wild!
Playing shouldn’t just be for children and cats though. On the – rare – occasions that Alan, Flora and I play together, we always have so much fun. Whether that’s a card game, Eye Spy, or just a water fight, it’s all about being close and enjoying our reactions to each other. And, on the simplest level, reinforcing our family bonds.
Although cats are meat eaters, they do sometimes eat grass. It’s generally thought to help move food or hairballs through the digestive tract (either up or down as grass eating often results in vomiting). When we lived in a flat, I used to grow cat grass in a tub for our cats for this reason. And Flora’s sown some cat grass in a patch in her little garden now too. My point is, cats know what they need and when they need it. Including how to beg for – and get – the occasional life-enhancing treat or three.
We’re probably all guilty of over indulging and eating or drinking to excess at one time or another. But living a healthier lifestyle is no longer a fad, it’s a necessity. And something that Alan and I are very keen to set an example for where Flora’s concerned. Although the odd treat does slip through 🙂
Cats are living much longer now than was the case 20 years ago, thanks to better nutrition, veterinary and home care, according to the International Cat Care charity. I think it’s probably also due to the fact that they are unabashed experts at self-care, with much more to teach us than we realise. Our cats have certainly shown me the value of putting myself first every once in a while, and for that alone I think they deserve ALL the treats, every day!
What lessons do you think your pets have taught you?
* This post is in conjunction with WHISKAS® but all thoughts are my own.