What You Can Learn From Your Pet – A Guide To ‘Catfulness’

Did you know that people with a cat are happier anyway? The feeling of taking care of someone gives you satisfaction. On top of that, when you’re stroking your cat a cuddle hormone (oxytocine) is released.
As the proud owner of 2 cute hairy felines, I have experienced the added value they give to my life and how much I love them. Let me introduce you to them…

 

cute-pet

 

Our eldest cat Isis (named after the Egyptian Goddess), is a 6-year-old Maine Coone, a spicy female, who can be very affectionate but on her terms. She steals the show with her beautiful coat and enchanting look, and loves to be in the spotlight. She prefers to lie close to me, on our favorite spot in the couch. Besides enjoyng physical contact, she loves to be caressed. She’ll make that clear by expressing purring sounds en putting her paw on my arm.
My partner and I sometimes joke that she is our little dog, because she loves to fetch aluminum wads! 😉

The youngest, a 5-year old long-haired male adopted at a cat shelter, is a real cuddler. He is named Horus (also an Egyptian God and the son of Goddess Isis). Sometimes he could crawl into your belly…
He roams around and loves to eat and sleep 🙂 His favorite spot is at the top of his basket in the scratching post.
In the evening he gets his active hour and at 11 p.m. he stands there with his typical meow. Time for kibble!
He’s a little more shy and wary when we get visitors.

 

high-five-kitty

 

Both my partner and I consider them to be our children. They each have their own character and preferences, and regularly offer us a mirror for our own behavior.

I notice that they both can put me at ease and calm me down when I’m stressed.

It’s fun just to watch them: eat, sit, play, sleep… eat, sit, play, sleep… repeat! Or to observe how they’re sprawling out in the sun and sneaking their paws out to empty your glass.

We definitely can learn something from that with our busy lives.

So, let’s have a look at how to be mindful like a cat…

 

 

 

Mindfulness With Cats: ‘Catfulness’

resting-catThe idea of ‘catfulness’ is that a cat already lives in the now, and that by looking at your cat, you can already live more ‘zen’. A cat’s life is a wonderful lesson in mindfulness!

Cats don’t worry about what another person thinks of them or what needs to be done in their basket: mindfulness is in their nature. Cats purr on a certain sound wave that can be therapeutic and healing for people. They are masters of enjoyment and this relaxed attitude also radiates to their owners. The presence of such a quiet animal in the house can have a positive effect on your heart and stress sensitivity.

Meditating with a cat works so well, because it forces you to completely relax your whole body and head. If your muscles are tense, there’s a good chance your cat won’t stay on your stomach or lap.

Relax and your cat will do the same. If you are stressed and your thoughts fly in all directions – monkey mind alert!! -, your cat will feel less at ease.

You can even take Catfulness courses now. These are mindfulness programs (8 weeks) where cats are present and contribute to stress reduction and relaxation.

 

 

 

Warming-Up Exercise

To start with, if your cat is comfortable on all four legs, you can get your head empty by getting down on your knees in front of your cat, holding your forehead against his/her forehead and closing your eyes.

If necessary, keep your hands on the belly of your cat so that you can feel the warmth and breathing.

Listen carefully to your cat’s breathing, and when he’s relaxed, try to get into the same rhythm with your own breathing.

Headbutt

If your cat starts purring, concentrate on the sound. Already after a minute you will come to rest and all thoughts in your head will seem a lot further away.

If this exercise went well, you can go on to the real thing: meditating with your cat on your lap or on your belly for a longer period.

 

 

 

Lazy Belly Time

Sleeping-catPut your cat on your lap or belly. Preferably, you do this by lying down on the bed or on the floor and letting your cat sit on your belly.

Relax the muscles in your abdomen, shoulders and legs, and wait for your cat to relax and finally lie down.
Keep your body relaxed and concentrate on your cat’s breathing, which you can probably feel through your abdomen.

If your cat starts purring, you can feel it, too.

Concentrate on the sound and the feeling, while continuing to relax your muscles. The more you relax, the calmer your cat will feel!

You can do this body scan exercise by Jon Kabatt Zin or try the 4-7-8 technique I talked about in this post.

 

 

Do And Think Like A Cat

Have you become curious and would you like to know more about Catfulness? Well, the good news is that there are a lot of interesting publications out there!

Chill-catTo help you save time – you can spend on your cat and meditations – ,
here is an overview of the 5 best books on cats & mindfulness:

1. Catfulness: A Cat’s Guide To Achieving Mindfulness – A. Cat aka Paolo Valentino

2. How To Live Like Your Cat – Stéphane Garnier

3. Be More Cat: Life Lessons From Our Feline Friends – Alison Davies

4. Guardians of Being: Spiritual Teachings From Our Dogs And Cats – Eckhart Tolle

5. Choosing to Be. Lessons in Living from a Feline Zen Master – Kat Tansey

 

If you have a cat of your own, try it out and see what happens. It’ ll strengthen the connection with your kitty as well.

If you don’t have a cat, maybe you’re triggered to bring such a beautiful, gentle and spiritual being into your home?

And don’t worry if you’re more into dogs! They, too, can be a great Zen master.

Let me know how you feel about this article and how ‘Catfulness’ is part of your life.

With love ❤,

Catherine.

4 Comments

  1. Ivan

    Thanks for sharing this post. I have two cats back home, actually, my parents do, but I never thought about catfulness (cool phrase). I might use some advice from your post. I like the ideas presented here being a fan of meditation and mindfulness. Thanks again, I learned a lot.

  2. Hi Catherine,

    “Catfulness” – well I never!

    Actually, now that you’ve introduced me to catfulness, it makes a lot of sense.

    Let’s face facts, cats are probably the most relaxed creatures on this earth (I once read that they sleep for 12-16 hours a day – well that will relax you if nothing else will), and therefore practicing relaxation techniques with your cat does seem to be the way forward.

    I am also aware of the 4 7 8 breathing technique that you’ve mentioned, although I suggest this as a sleeping aid to my readers, but once again it is a great way to relax both the mind and body.

    Thank you ever so much for such a fascinating read.
    Partha

  3. Hi Catherine,

    I love this post. I grew up in a family that always has pets at home. Both cats and dogs (and turtles too, they are my Moms).

    My sister is a big cat person. Whereas I, myself, is a dog person but I agree with you that we can actually learn from cats as well. We know dogs are people’s bet friends but with cats, we can learn some other things to like relaxing, etc.

    The way you named your cats is so cool. I love Egyptian names. I think they are sexy. 🙂

    I will certainly share your post with my sister so she can enjoy mindfulness with her cats. She has 5 of them and one of them is always sleeping on the bed with her. Her cats do help her to face loneliness after she broke up with her boyfriend. It was a really bad break up. They were together for over 11 years. So, her cats are one of the things that “saved” her.

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