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9 Things My Cat Has Taught Me

by Emily Christyson 3 years ago in cat
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That I didn't know I needed to know

Just a Stanley cat doing Stanley things.

Save a six year stint following the death of our first family dog, and a six month gap after losing our second one, I had never lived without a pet. I never identified as a cat or dog person—always just an animal person. That being said, if I HAD to choose, I would always pick dogs. I never owned a cat of my own, yet I would go out of my way to pet neighborhood strays, track down barn cats, and crawl under beds at my aunt’s to find her elusive cats. However, when the time came to move out of my parent’s house, I was forced the face the fact that I didn’t have the time nor space for a dog of my own, so I kept it in the back of my mind that I was going to get a cat once I was settled in.

That lasted for a week—until I realized I absolutely hated coming home to an empty house and I wanted something—more than myself—to take care of. Enter my rambunctious kitten (the cutest little, at the time, tuxedo cat), Stanley, and boy—did I have zero clue what I was getting myself into. For all of those people who told me that kittens were self-sufficient and minimal effort—you were wrong (or I over-dote on my cat which is a very real possibility)—and there were a few times that I hate to admit I wanted to give up on the whole kitten raising/cat ownership thing. However, over the past four years, Stanley and I have grown together, and he has taught me far more than I ever knew I needed to know.

1. Things are just things

People warned me, “once you get a kitten, make sure you pack up anything valuable that might be breakable—at least until he’s used to his surroundings.” Did I listen? Of course not! There have been many casualties of things I thought to be valuable throughout the course of tripping over, playing with, intentionally and unintentionally knocking down, pouncing on, etc. But at the end of the day, I realized every single thing that was broken I had replaced or glued (really I should be an investor in gorilla glue at this point) easily, and those that I didn’t replace I hadn’t missed. So in the long run—were they really valuable to me? Or were they just a “thing?" I think it’s the latter.

2. Take time to laugh

If you have ever lived with a cat, you know it’s hard to get through a day without laughing. Imagine a 19-pound (of muscle, not fat) cat who doesn’t realize his size trying to not-so-gracefully navigate couch backs, windowsills, the room in general. Truly, I should consider taking time to take life a little more seriously, but it’s nearly impossible with Stanley by my side.

3. Live curiously, yet cautiously

About a month after I got Stanley, I lit a fire in my fireplace. We all know the saying “Curiosity Killed the Cat”… well... a fire was a brand new experience for Stanley, and that fire definitely lit his curiosity—as well as his whiskers. He learned quickly that it’s okay to be curious—as long as you’re cautious. Anytime that fire is lit—even though it’s protected by a giant gate—Stanley is posted up a room away, just to be sure. At least he learned his lesson, right?

4. Explore

To a cat staring out the window of a condo, there’s so much he has yet to see, smell, taste, discover. That is, until the leash is put on and you’re taken outside—and you scream the entire way down in the elevator—to then walk about 15 feet and decide you are over it and want to go back to your couch. So maybe, explore from a distance?

5. Dream big

I have witnessed Stanley kill a bug, and more often “kill” his toy mouse and present it with pride or defend my honor against the dishwasher, vacuum, or hair dryer multiple times, and I can’t help but wonder if he thinks he’s living up to his Big Cat cousins. Or, does he just think he’s one of them? I can only imagine.

6. Anything is a bed if you want it to be

People, let me tell you. There’s nothing in this world this cat has come across that he hasn’t slept in, on, or near. Dashboards—check. Center console—check. Sink? Oh heck yeah. Across my entire—but of course! That cat knows how to live large and make himself comfortable in any situation—an invaluable life lesson if you ask me.

7. Ignore personal space

I don’t know how he does it, but he always knows when something is up. If I’m not feeling well, if I had a bad day, if I’m going through something emotional—he is right there. Not only is he there, but he is laying literally in my face, on my chest, or in the way of me getting up—he’s unavoidable, and unmovable until he thinks his job is done and I’m back to my normal self. Essentially, he’s that friend that we all need in our lives who doesn’t let you get away with the flippant “I’m fine.”

8. Make ‘em work for it

Growing up a dog person, this one was not an easy one for me to grasp. I was not used to having to earn a pet’s affection, rather than gaining it right from the get-go. But there I was, day after day, presenting new treats, toys, food, talking to Stanley, holding Stanley, reading up on ways to win him over. Four years later we are stuck like glue, so I’m pretty certain it worked—but you better believe I had to earn that trust every step of the way.

9. Love with all of your heart

In the point I last talked about how I worked my butt off to gain Stanley’s trust and affection, but once he was in, he was 110% in. There is nothing better than looking over at him and hearing an instant purr, him pushing my phone away to snuggle in, or headbutting me in that sweet cat way. It might take a bit to get my dude to warm up to you, but once you’re in—you’re not going anywhere. You’re his buddy for life.


About the author

Emily Christyson

Oh hey! I'm Emily, I constantly have thoughts flowing through my head ready for whoever would like to listen. I hope some thoughts resonate with you!

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