As an observer of the animal kingdom, my neighborhood provides plenty of reflective stimulation. Dogs, cat, hawks — even the occasional fox or skunk.
But it is the feral cats along with my house cat that expand my thoughts about hope.
What is it that cats do so well that underscores hope in the time of Covid?
Cats work. No apathy allowed in the world of feral cats. They stay busy hunting for their next meal. Maybe a small bird or a scampering mouse, a grasshopper or a baby bunny (sadly, I have seen this happen).
Survival depends on a reliable food supply. The feral mother teaches her babies how to sneak up on their prey and how to fight their siblings for the next bite.
We all need a sense of purpose. That’s why the unemployment so many are suffering during this pandemic is dangerous.
Besides the obvious lack of finances, despair can grow when we have nothing purposeful to do.
We must find some sort of work or busyness in order to emotionally and physically survive.
Cats play. They are such fun to watch, especially the kittens who have energy to spare. Jumping on a toy, batting a ball around a plastic cylinder or chasing an errant piece of yarn.
Cats play to keep their reflexes sharp and their muscles toned. And cats rarely struggle with stress, unless they are ill.
Play is vital during this time of Covid.
Whether it’s table games with the family or a backyard game of soccer, play forces us to focus on enjoyable activities.
It helps us escape from the harsh realities of our world.
So play often. Read a book, watch a funny movie, pack up a picnic for your local park.
At our house, we often watch YouTube videos of funny animals. Our laughter beats back the gloom carried by the news channels.
Cats rest. A house cat will sleep sixteen or more hours each day. My cat keeps a regular schedule of morning, afternoon and evening naps as well as at least eight hours after we both climb into my bed.
Rest for humans means we turn off any mental noise, breathe deeply and let the world continue without us.
Rest equals peace — that sense of wholeness that avoids confronting the fears which knock at our mind’s door.
Rest is also a spiritual discipline that requires trust and the assurance that no matter what happens, God will take care of us.
Cats require nurture. Even the feral cats come up to me, sniff cautiously, then rub against my leg. They know I can be trusted for a morning snack. And if they let me, I know the right spot to rub on their ears. Their purr confirms it.
My housecat is a needy shorthair. Peppernut requires several lap sessions each day and a vigorous belly rub before bedtime. If I ignore her, she will tap on my hand until I respond. She has trained me well.
During the time of Covid, I have often told my son, “I need a hug.” My signal for nurturing.
He’s a great bear-hugger. For a few moments, we hold each other close. A reminder that someone cares during this crazy time.
The warmth of another body. A physical symbol that echoes the phrase, “I love you.”
It’s also important to nurture ourselves:
- A mani/pedi, while wearing a mask, of course
- A long soak in the bath while reading a spell-binding novel
- A fresh trim to get rid of the Covid split hair
- Vitamins and healthy nutrition, but also an occasional treat
So during these waning months of 2020, when all we hear is bad news — take a cue from cats. Follow some of the feline regimen.
I promise — you’ll be purring in no time.
©2020 RJ Thesman – All Rights Reserved
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