Life Lessons From My Adopted Shelter Cats

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Post by Blog Manager Robbi Hess

I will admit that I am a sucker when it comes to a cat in need; hence the reason we have four of them in our not-overly-large-home. Growing up my mom raised Siamese cats. We had a female, Sabrina, and she had two litters of kittens and I remember the thrill my sister and I experienced when those tiny kittens started making their way out of their beds and into the world. To me there was Jessienothing like the joy of watching a kitten bat around a piece of paper, a toy, or even a dust mote. My love of cats and kittens started early on and has never waned.

We had a lot of cats while I was growing up — because we lived on a farmette we accumulated them because apparently people in the country see a barn and must think, “oh this is a great place to dump our unwanted cats and kittens” so we always had a barnful of “outdoor” cats that we vetted, fed, fell in love with and mourned when they passed.

Our adopted cats have distinct personalities: Parker, the golden-eyed white and orange tiger; Jesse, the talkative Tortie; Clyde the tan and white, most lovable cat we have ever been owned by; and calico Lucy, who takes great pleasure in being a lap-sitter once the sun goes down and a batter of bare feet during the daylight hours.

Here are life lessons from my adopted shelter cats:

  • There is never a bad time, or a bad spot or a bad reason to take a nap. If you’re tired, sleep. Listen to your body and give it the rest it needs to rejuvenate itself.
  • Be meticulous in the care of yourself. Have you ever seen a dirty kitty? I haven’t. Cats always make a great first Parker Clydeimpression.
  • Take the time to smell the roses, or watch the birds on the feeders. Paying rapt attention to the birds on the feeder is a great way to de-stress from the day.
  • Opportunity comes to the patient. You don’t have to rush right in to every opportunity presented, if you wait long enough that catnip ball might just come right into your waiting paws.
  • Everyone deserves a chance. If we hadn’t taken a chance when our daughter brought Clyde home we would have missed out on one of the most personality-filled, loving cats we have ever had the pleasure to share a home with. When she brought him home he was filthy, covered in flea bites, he had more fleas than hair it seemed, he had an upper respiratory infection and goopy eyes. It would have been easy to say, “he’s going to cost too much or be too much work” but then we would have lost out.
  • If it looks interesting, explore it. Have you ever seen a cat that can turn down the chance to pounce into a paper bag or a Clyde and Lucy checking the mailcardboard box. Don’t pass up a chance to explore something new simply because it’s never been there before.
  • Start the day slowly and with a good, full body stretch. Our cats never seem to be in a rush, especially in the morning. They wake up slowly, yawn and stretch every muscle before they set foot on the floor. Take a few moments the next morning to do that, stretch, savor the start to a new day and then put your feet on the floor.
  • If someone offers you a hug, take it. Our cats love being picked up, cuddled (well sometimes Lucy protests, but not overly much for overly long) and petted. They reward us with purrs and head butts. A hug, or skin-to-skin contact can help lower blood pressure and raise your spirits.

What have your pets taught you?