My Kitten Teachers

I’ve wanted a kitten for a long time. Or two, actually. But because my husband and I were always traveling, it never seemed like a good idea. Enter the pandemic. We suddenly found ourselves home all the time. And it doesn’t look like we are going anywhere any time soon. So this seemed the perfect time to get a kitten! Now the only question was: where do we get one?

The Universe provided, as always. This time in the form of a tag on Facebook. A friend mentioned to me that Friends of Squan Cats had a litter with small kittens for adoption. I looked at the picture of the mom cat with her four babies and without thinking I sent the owner of FSC a message: “How can I adopt?”

The next day my husband and I went to see the kittens. They were only 3 ½ weeks old and so tiny we didn’t dare touch them.  Instantly we knew which two were our kittens though: the only girl and the striped boy. Over the next few weeks when we visited the kittens, we knew we had made the right choice. They seemed to be playing together all the time. I even already had a name come to me for the girl: Luna.

The name for the boy wasn’t clear until after we had them home for a few days. We tried a couple of names, but none of them seemed to be quite right. It is said your cats will “tell you” their names. Eventually he did: Nemo.

Besides the fact that these two fury creatures are utterly adorable, too cute for words, and very funny, they are also incredible teachers.

They teach me patience; they will not do things at the time I want them to.

They teach me to be in the moment; they want to sleep in my lap now, not later. I let them, as this is a welcome pause in my day. And what is not to like about having a little warm creature purring in my lap?

They teach me to see the world through the eyes of wonder; everything is new and magical. Everything needs to be explored in order to fully understand what it is. This reminds me of the ancient practice of Samyama: the practice of fully absorbing yourself in an object or person to experience its essence.

They remind me how important it is to stretch after you get up, to not eat more than you need, to sleep when you are tired, and to play when you want to.

I know that we cannot all spend our days simply eating, playing and napping. Having said that, we can all benefit from being a little more like a cat. When we listen to what we really need instead of what we should be doing, we will probably be a lot happier. Just like a cat telling us their name, our body will tell us what it needs. I’ve written about that before here and here. We do not always have to say “yes” just because we are afraid we may offend otherwise someone. I’ve never felt offended when the kittens didn’t want to be picked up or play with me when I wanted to (ok, maybe slightly disappointed). So I think that other beings with reason (i.e. humans) should be fine too when they are being told a gracious “no” now and then. We will feel so much better when we don’t eat out of boredom but only when we are actually hungry. We will be so much more productive when we take a short nap when we are tired during the day, instead of pushing through and having another cup of coffee (ever wondered where the word “catnap” came from?!).

Having two kittens made me look at my priorities; in the morning I want to feed them and take care of their litter box before I do my practice. They make me think about what is actually important and what is not; some cat hair on my sweater is not a big deal if I can have a kitten nestle onto my chest for a while. When one of the kittens got really sick after their first vaccination I was reminded of the ephemeral nature of life. I am not taking anything for granted and I am thankful for every moment. Even my relationship with my husband is deepening as we navigate new “parenthood” together.

I finally have my kittens. And I got so much more. I am forever grateful for these two.


Want to practice being like a cat? Join me at studio BE here for a 14-day free trial and find my Be Like a Cat practice under the Mindful Flow recorded Live classes.