Friday, October 6, 2017

Life lessons from a kitty

For this #FelineFriday, I look back on what Musetta (and Cyrus before her) have taught me. Here – and on the Pulpwood Queens' Beauty & the Book Blog – I share that wisdom with you!

There is no longer a Musetta here at Chez Musetta. The round tuxedo longhair who used to supervise my daily writing is gone But even though my beloved pet left us two weeks ago – after a long life and a blessedly brief illness at the age of 16 ½ – the lessons she taught me about how to live my own best life remain. In her memory – and in anticipation of the next feline who will come to share our home – I share these feline secrets with you.

Find the sunny spot: Cats are masters at finding the sunny spot on the rug, to the point where we called Musetta our solar-powered kitty. Now, maybe we can’t all lie around, warming our fur, as the morning turns to lazy afternoon, but the message is the same: Find the warmth and the light in your life – in the people around you, in your work, in your home – and take it all in. You’ll find you too are recharged, and then you can share that warmth with others.

Share the purr: Once you have found your sun, share that light with others. What is cheerier than a purring cat? When you have a vibrating kitty beside you on the sofa or on your lap, you can’t help but be cheered. So when you feel good – about anything – don’t hold back. Express yourself. Purr – and spread the joy.

Set your boundaries: On the other hand, don’t fake it when you don’t feel it. Too often we women, in particular, bend ourselves into all kinds of shapes trying to please others or squirming to fit ourselves into roles that simply aren’t us. That’s something cats never do. They are who they are, and they aren’t afraid to show it. Kitty doesn’t want to be pet? She walks away. Pull her tail? She hisses. Some people put cats down for this, saying they should be more dog-like and obedient. But the real message here is that we should all be more like that kitty. She demands respect, and as a result, she gets it.

You are beautiful, just as you are: Sure, we may make fun of fats cats, but they don’t care. A plump puss is a lovely puss, and those of us who really love cats know that it’s fine to have more of that feline to snuggle. And cats don’t fuss about their weight either – do you ever see a feline trying to fit into a too-tight fur? No! So whether you’re fluffy or svelte, take a cue from your cat and understand that you are perfect.

Take the time for self-care: Cats can groom for hours, working from nose-tip to tail tip, with breaks to individually manicure each claw. They don’t worry about being late for a play date or missing dinner. They know self-care is vital for our inner well-being. We may not follow exactly their beauty regimen – I prefer a comb to using my tongue – but the basic rule remains the same. Give yourself the time you need. Take care of yourself. Then you can take care of – and take on – the world.

Stay wild: Not all cats are hunters, and that’s fine. My kitties have all been indoor-only cats, whose “prey” are toy mice (and the occasional confused moth). That’s safer for them, and the birds in my yard are grateful, too! But even the most pampered pussycat becomes a tiger when she plays. Just watch a kitten stalk and pounce, and you’ll have a window onto the rich interior life that keeps cats from getting bored with their lot. These games reveal the importance of imagination and instinct – and of the inspiration and creativity we can draw from the wild side of our nature.

Relax! Life goes on whether you’re at the window supervising the squirrels or napping on the couch. Take time out, when you need it, whether that means dozing or just spending some time staring at the sunbeams. You’ll be better for it.

Clea Simon is pleased as punch that her new rock ‘n’ roll noir World Enough is a Pulpwood Queens October alternate read. But before this new darker book, she wrote 22 cat mysteries – from Mew is for Murder to As Dark As My Fur – as well as the nonfiction The Feline Mystique: On the Mysterious Connection Between Women and Cats. The winner of multiple Muse Medallions from the international Cat Writers Association for her writing about felines and about the human-animal bond, she will be bringing her best feline spirit to Pulpwood Queens Girlfriend Weekend in January.

No comments: