What I’ve Learned From Cats

Isn’t it funny how people project onto their pets? I always tend to take notice of the emotions that people give to their animals, because they can be very telling about the person’s inner psyche.

Projection. These are the feelings we don’t want to face or feel. Its hard to acknowledge what we have kept hidden deep within ourselves, but we can externalise these feelings onto other people, or animals, as the case may be. I guess our pets are easy targets because they can’t speak up and call us out on it. But if we are aware that we are doing it, we can actually learn a lot about ourselves.

I’ve always been a cat person myself. I like their independent aloofness. And how pretty they are.

I like their cuddly cute softness, and how they love affection and pats. Their ability to unashamedly receive and enjoy pleasure. The look of happy contentment on their face as they sit in the sunshine, just enjoying the warmth of the day. Exuding love. Just being. Cats are unapologetically lazy and live only for the moment. And I respect them for that.

My cat has a habit of sleeping practically on my head at night, purring deep contented purrs into my brain. Feels good. I’m sure those healing vibrations are doing amazing work. Curing cancer and staving off brain degenerative disorders. Thank you puss puss. So much love.

Last year a stray black kitten with a crooked tail came into our lives. There are a lot of stray cats in our area, way too many unfortunately. But this one seemed to be sticking by very close to us. Sitting under the cars in the driveway, coming to the back door for food, sunning herself on the porch and in the garden. As she grew into a pretty black cat we were able to get closer and closer to her. But never quite close enough to touch.

Then I noticed her looking a bit plump and before we knew it we discovered three little kittens under the trailer on the driveway. I happened to know a lady who runs a cat rescue operation, so I got in touch and she was bundled off with her litter to a foster home. The kittens were homed, but our stray was speyed and returned back to us after 6 weeks. We called her Queenie.

She was so beautiful with her big yellow eyes and sleek black fur. How I wanted to reach out and touch her. But her fear kept her from being able to receive that touch. How interesting, I thought. Does my fear keep me from being able to receive love?

She knew we loved her, because we fed her and talked to her in comforting tones. But how I wished she could come to experience the joy and affection of human touch. But her deep-seeded, instinctual weariness of humans, would never allow it.

It strikes me how completely different in nature and demeanor stray cats are from domesticated cats. Their fear and distrust is all-consuming. They don’t play and seem to have little joy. They slink in the shadows and yowl and hiss. Hell hath no fury like a wild-cat caged. Yet the only difference between them is that they did not grow up socialised with humans.

It’s a striking illustration of the polarity of love and fear. They are opposites. The absence of human love equals fear. And feral cats prove it.

One day I noticed I hadn’t seen Queenie sitting in the sun on the back deck where she normally sits. Days went by and her absence began to be more keenly felt. Ever since she had turned up on our doorstep she had never strayed far from the house. Where could she be? She didn’t have a big territory like the other cats. She always stayed close. Was she trapped somewhere? Had she been hit by a car?

We never did find out what happened to Queenie, but we recovered her body from under the house and buried her under the plum tree. I hope she knew we loved her. She taught me a lot about myself.

Queenie in a box under the trailer with her kittens.

There’s a new stray cat on the block now. A stocky wee tom called Buster. It’s been a bit if a process to aclimatise him to humans, but he’s making great progress. We can pat him now and he really loves it. After the heartbreak of Queenie it’s really nice to have helped buster to overcome his fear, and allow us to love him.

They say there are just two emotions in the entire universe; love and fear. More accurately – love or fear, as it’s impossible for both to exist at the same time. It’s good to stop an examine on a regular basis – am I acting out of love? Or fear?

Meow 🙂

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