Do you have cat best friends at home? Or, do you see a few cats on your way to work or the grocery store everyday? A lot of us do believe that cats are emotionless or don’t express love much. Some of us might even be scared of them or might not find them as interesting as dogs or other animals. But here’s the thing: cats teach us a lot about mental health!
During the day you would find cats looking like this. Almost looks like they are sunbathing, or just…well, chilling. While cats love human interaction (and express love in different ways), they also like to have time with their thoughts. From dropping your favourite trinket, scratching your pretty bag, or throwing up in your shoe, maybe they need this space to connect with their catness! Taking the space to connect with the human in you may not be such a bad idea either, who knows what could come of it?
Routines: Cats have a fixed routine – even if that’s just sleeping, waking up, pooping and their nightly zoomies. They like to have everything at a scheduled time – (and sometimes they get us into the habit of giving them what they want at their preferred time!) Routines are important for self-care even for humans (even if that’s just a nightly skin care routine). Structure helps have everything in place and helps us be more productive and focused. If not an extremely timely routine, it might be a good idea to start with a few activities to do each day! Sleep: We all know cats sleep – a lot! They are almost always asleep. They love sleep and there’s a reason for that. Sleep can have some great benefits on our mental health. From emotional regulation to what we think, feel, memorise and how we motivate ourselves the next day – all of it depends on our sleep patterns. While cats sleep for almost 12-16 hours in a day, we humans can make do with a good 8 hours of sleep!
Play: While we find it entertaining, play is a very important part of a cat’s routine and growth. It is seen that movement in play tends to keep cats agile and physically healthy and playing also serves to form and maintain social relationships among cats. Biting, pouncing, chasing and tumbling may be the common ways our feline friends entertain themselves, we can take a leaf out of the “Guide book to Cat” and introduce a playful disposition to our work and relationships.
Grooming: Cats groom themselves – if that’s licking their tiny paws or making sure they are clean and not-so-smelly. Grooming in cats is a sign of affection and care – towards themselves. They put a lot of time and their effort into feeling their best. (Before, of course, just going back to sleep). Taking this lesson from cats, grooming doesn’t always have to be about looking your best – it’s about feeling your best. Even if that’s just wearing eyeliner on the days you say ‘meh’, or wearing the chill pants you feel most comfy in – do it!
Me time: Whether it’s grooming, playing, sleeping or following a routine – cats love me-time! If there’s anyone we can learn the art of building boundaries from – it’s cats. When it’s me-time, playing, touching, petting them is out of bounds. This might be one of the few reasons that they are seen as not expressive or as mean creatures, but they’re just taking care of themselves. Cats say no assertively when they have to. Disturb them and you’d know how not all scratching is playful, give them space and they’d come out of their space looking for you to cuddle up. They like their own time, to regulate, feel, think or do what cats do best, just be, which is very essential for self-care even for humans. Give yourself time and build boundaries in those times. Say “no” when it’s necessary. Let people know you’re in your shell, so that when you’re out of that space of caring for yourself – you can give time and energy to others.
You might think cats are unpredictable, funny, cuddly and weird, but we could learn a thing or two from them. It may do us well to connect with our inner cat-ness from time to time – even if that means some people think of us as bossy or reserved. Make yourself a priority – just like your cat!