Cat Philosophy: beneficial relationship  

This guest post was written by Pamela Merritt of The Way of Cats.

As of the 2007 Pet Census in the United States, the figures are cats: 82 million, dogs: 72 million. Around 1987, cats overtook dogs as the most popular pet, and this upward trend continues. The United Kingdom and Japan are also tending towards increased cat popularity.

While research does not confirm the common truism that "people look like their pets," it does seem to point to a similar tendency. "The results suggest that when people pick a pet, they seek one that, at some level, resembles them," says one study.

If we compare these two findings, we can think that people want to be more like cats.

Which is not a bad idea.

When I did my own informal survey, people not only reacted with surprise to the news that cats were more popular, they were quick to attribute it to the cat's low maintenance reputation. "You can leave them for the weekend," they said, thinking hard. "They don't require so much exercise and attention."

Of course, cat people have a different take. "They are so fascinating," one person told me. "I like the way they like me for me. They only care about those who care about them." Another cat person said, "Cats match my lifestyle. I like to come home and work on little projects, and cats don't demand that I take myself away from that."

So it would seem that cats appeal to people who are home more, and to people who are home, less. Where does the truth lie?

My own feeling is that people are simply discovering cats. After so long seeing them as swift and distant creatures who are good mousers, people are beginning to appreciate a cat's unique qualities as a companion animal. After all, half of all cat owners have more than one. That can only mean that they like what they have, and want more of it.

To me, there is no better companion animal than a cat. Because dogs are about doing things, and appeal to people who get out of the house and do things. While cats appeal to people who like staying home, and having a pet who enjoys that as much as they do.

Cats are, above all, about being.

Being relaxed, being with us, being happy and being intrigued. Cats enjoy thinking, solving puzzles, and figuring out their surroundings, which includes us. Who wouldn't be flattered at being the object of so much interested attention?

Cats have long had the edge with those who follow the creative arts. If we are wrestling with a poem or catching the light on a dawn lit pond, it's nice to know the cat is happy to watch us do so. When I'm not feeling well, and want to curl up with a good book or a bad movie, cats are happy to curl up next to me while I do it, and glad I've given them the tools to take care of themselves.

Because that's the key to a cat's low maintenance. With full bowls and a clean litter box, cats are content to take care of their own needs, and rarely trouble us with chores. Where cats are not low maintenance are the areas we most want from a pet; getting and giving affection, attention, and mutual interest.

Once a person has broken through any prejudices about cats to find their deeply loving hearts and keen minds, they can't help but revel in the interplay cats have to offer. There's also the ease of training. I like to say, "cats train us." When we are able to pay attention to the ways they ask for things, making them happy is a simple task. They will tell us when the bowl is nearing empty or the water is not fresh. And if they feel neglected, they have their ways of letting us know.

Cats are glad to tell us to slow down, stop fretting, and take a zen moment to just be; appreciating the way sunlight moves across the rug, the movement of leaves in the trees, the joy of a good meal and the comfort of a soft bed. Some might regard the cat as a hedonistic pleasure seeker, since they so obviously enjoy themselves. But it doesn't take much to make them happy.

That's a philosophy lesson we should take from them.What cats want most is to be loved by their people. They don't particularly need us to do all kinds of things. They just want us to notice them, and be happy in their presence.

Being ourselves. There's nothing a cat likes more than that. They do love us for what we can do for them, but they also love what they can do for us.

Is there any better basis for any relationship?

AddThis Social Bookmark Button


Post a Comment