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4 Self-Care Lessons Learned From Cats

Diana Devi Images July 2022

Healthy Living Thought Leader: Diana Devi

I recently watched the movie My Octopus Teacher.

In case you have not seen the movie, it is about what this man learned by observing and interacting with an octopus every day. He said it made him a better person. It opened up his eyes to a whole new world.

“All acts of mischief. He is an unusual cat to say the least, but he is a good role model for self care.”

I started thinking about what animals have to teach us. I watch what my cats do on a daily basis. What could I learn from them about how to take care of me? Let me introduce you to my feline instructors: CleoCatra and D’Artagnan. 

CleoCatra and D’Artagnan:

It’s 6am, and summer in Minnesota. The sun is up. I’m sound asleep, thanks to my black out shades. I hear bellowing from downstairs. D’Artagnan my twenty-two pound Savannah cat saying “it’s time to get up! Take me for my walk, NOW.” His meow actually sounds like he is saying “now.” This is part of his daily routine; walking on a leash – twice daily.

He has to move twice a day, if he does not, he definitely lets me know that he is out of sorts. My water glass may mysteriously end up tipped over, my keyboard becomes a bed, or you will catch a glimpse of a tail or hear a loud meow on one of my live videos. All acts of mischief. He is an unusual cat to say the least, but he is a good role model for self care. 

Self-Care Guidance:

CleoCatra is much different in her own way. She communicates when she wants to play by dragging her toy around and dropping it on my foot. She sleeps deeply when she sleeps and she is active when she needs to be. 

Both of them have a job. They do this job all day. They are in charge of perimeter checks, watching for possible invaders. This they do without fail; but never to the extent that they go hungry, are sleep deprived or don’t move their bodies. They are not concerned about getting old or that they won’t be able to chase their mousey toy or anything else. 

Strange to think about self care guidance from a cat but it’s not so far fetched. Animals are much smarter when it comes to understanding what their bodies need.

“It is your body and you need to know how to care for it. Too bad our bodies don’t come with an instruction manual!”

Cats Take Care Of Themselves:

Cats have not spent decades taking care of others and ignoring what their bodies need. They have not had a full time job, raised children, nor managed a household on less than six hours of sleep. They have not spent a lifetime ignoring what they need – telling their body that it is not important, it can wait. Most importantly, yhey did not grow up thinking that self care is selfish. They were not modeled that behavior. Cats take care of themselves.

They are not hoping that a pill will come along so they don’t have to change the way that they eat or to help them sleep. They’re self sufficient. They need people; after all who is going to open that can of tuna, or pet them? Cats provide support for each other and their humans. They groom each other, sleep together, and play together. 

Take Care Of Yourself:

The most obvious behaviors of my cats are common sense things that we know we need to do. But somehow, we don’t do them. We forget that we need to. Or, we decide that doing something for someone else is more important.

If you don’t take care of yourself no one else will. Really, no one else can take care of you except you. It is your body and you need to know how to care for it. Too bad our bodies don’t come with an instruction manual! 

“The good news is that it is never too late to start.”

4 Self-Care Lessons Learned From Cats: 

  1. Sleep – Despite the fact that I have the squirrel channel playing  (open window looking onto my front deck where squirrels constantly explore,) when it is time to sleep they sleep. They do not binge-watch their version of Netflix (the squirrels.) 
  2. Morning ritual –  Every morning it is the same routine: wake up stretch, downward dog, cat and cow stretch and slowly moving about. No hitting the snooze alarm three times, then jumping out of bed with their hearts racing because they are running late, while pouring high doses of caffeine into their bodies.
  3. Eating what feeds their bodies. – D’Artagnan is a grass eater. Every morning on our walk he eats grass. It aids his digestion. Ms Cleo eats fresh thyme before she eats her food. I have a potted thyme that I keep in the kitchen for her to munch on.  Since they have started eating their greens; no more upset stomach, and no hairballs. 
  4. Play/movement – Regardless of how old your cat is it is still up for a good game of mouse or insect chase. My cats get what I call the zoomies; when they run up and down the stairs alone or play chasing.

On A Daily Basis:

I have been training my cats to sit, walk on a leash, and jump through a hula hoop. I am being reminded on a daily basis of the importance of self-care. 

As we get older we start to feel the impact of the years of not taking care of ourselves. The good news is that it is never too late to start. You can start with the four simple self-care lessons learned from cats.

The world needs us – especially now! We need to be strong, healthy, and looking and feeling great about ourselves.

Want more? Feel free to join my facebook group An Ageless Life Private Group to find out more about what you can start doing now..and it starts with just 5 minutes a day! 

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Diana Devi Headshot

About the Author:

Diana is an empowerment coach for women over 50, building on her 30 years of experience as a clinical pharmacist and as an Argentine tango dancer. Diana’s goal is to help her clients become a W.H.I.P.  “A Woman, who is Hot, Intelligent and in her Prime at EVERY age. When Diana is not working with clients or on the dance floor she is training her cats, CleoCatra ( an Egyptian Mau) and D’Artagnan (a Savannah) while patiently waiting for the day she can travel around the world to dance tango again. You can checkout Diana on her website: An Ageless Life.