Sunday Purrs

Sunday Purrs: The Heat Is On

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If you saw a heat wave, would you wave back? – Steven Wright

Much of the United States has been sweltering in a heat wave for the past few days, with temperatures and heat indices into the triple digits. I hope you and your kitties are keeping cool in the shade or under an umbrella, like Ruby in the photo above.

I come down squarely in the “some like it hot” category, but the last couple of days have been a bit much even for me. Allegra and Ruby are air conditoned kitties, so their only complaint has been that open windows are only happening for a few minutes at a time to give them a chance to sniff some fresh air, something they both enjoy. One thing they absolutely won’t allow me is to close any of the blinds to block out the sun and conserve some energy. My two little sun worshippers are still seeking out the sun puddles in the house. Like mother, like daughters!

Please keep your pets safe in this relentless heat.How are you and your cats coping?

Sunday Purrs: Make Time for Play

Make Time for Play

Play keeps us vital and alive. It gives us an enthusiasm for life that is irreplaceable.
Without it, life just doesn’t taste good. –  Lucia Capocchione

Cats need to play to thrive. This is especially important for indoor cats. Playing allows them to indulge their natural instinct to hunt. Feline play mimics stalking and chasing prey in the wild, and toys that will encourage this are the best kinds of toys.

Play is important for humans, too. The National Institute of Play (who knew there was such a thing!) believes that play can dramatically transform our personal health, our relationships, the education we provide our children and the capacity of our corporations to innovate.  Play is a vital ingredient for a happy life.

What better way to get play into your life than playing with your cat? Even just one 15 minute play session a day will keep your cat happy and healthy. Interactive toys are a great way for both of you to get in on the fun. Toys such as the Da Bird feather teaser or any number of fishing pole type toys can provide hours of fun for you and for kitty. Playing with your cat is not only fun, it also increases the bond between the two of you.

Odin doesn’t have to be told that he should be playing more – the only decision he has to make is which toy to pick out of the basket.

Do you make time for play – for yourself, and your cat? What is your cat’s favorite game?

You may also enjoy reading:

Keeping your single cat happy

Safe toys for your cat

How to keep your indoor cat happy

Sunday Purrs: Creating Balance

Creating Balance

Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance,
order, rhythm and harmony. – Thomas Merton

Do you struggle to find balance in your life?  Many of us lead lives that are anything but balanced. In fact, at times, we often feel like a cat trying to balance on a tree branch, ready to tumble off at any moment. Some of us will manage to right ourselves, others will try to balance by flailing about, and the rest of us will fall off and try to get back on again. But eventually, no matter how hard we try, we’ll all fall off if we don’t create balance in our lives.

Balance is an essential ingredient for a happy life. When your life is in balance, your body, mind and spirit are in harmony. Everything just feels right.

But how do you achieve that balance in these hectic times we live in?

The definition of balance will vary from person to person, but the following tips can help create balance in anyone’s life:

  • Make time for yourself. You can’t be there for everyone else unless you take care of yourself.
  • Exercise regularly and eat healthy. This goes right along with taking care of yourself.
  • Integrate your passion with your work. Most of us spend up to a third of our lives at work. Doing work you’re passionate about rather than work that’s “just a job” will go a long way toward creating balance in your life. If you haven’t found a way yet to combine the two, leave your work at the office. Nobody ever looks back on their life and wishes they had spent more time at the office!
  • Spend time with family and friends.
  • Live within your means. Stress over finances is one of the biggest obstacles to creating balance in your life.
  • Don’t multi-task. You may think you’re getting more done that way, but you’re really not. By putting your full focus and energy on one task at a time, you will work more efficiently and you won’t feel like you’re just spinning your wheels.
  • Spend time with your cats! Spending time with cats is one of the best ways I know to come back into balance instantly.

What one thing will you do this week to create more balance in your life?

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Sunday Purrs: Make Time for Contemplation

contemplation

Could the purr be anything but contemplative? – Irving Townsend

It’s hard to find time for quiet contemplation in these busy lives we lead, but without making time for it, we end up stressed, depressed and anxious. Cats are masters not just at purring, but also at quiet contemplation, as Amber demonstrates in the photo above. We’d be wise to take our cue from them.

Contemplation can take many forms: it can be something as structured as a meditation practice, or something as simple as taking a walk in the park. For me, even watching my sleeping cats can be a contemplative experience.

Most people use the excuse that they’re too busy to make time for just being quiet. I think you can’t afford not to make the time, or your mental and physical health will suffer. And it’s really not that hard to carve out a little extra time each day. If you’re a planner, you may need to schedule quiet time into your day, just like you schedule any other activities.

To help you along, here are some tips on how to create extra time for quiet contemplation and solitude. Whether it’s an hour, or even just ten minutes, I promise you, you will find that your life will improve. Solitude is not the same as spending time alone watching tv, surfing the internet, or reading. There’s nothing wrong with any of these activities, but they won’t result in the quiet space you need for contemplation and reflection.

  • Cut back on your TV time. Americans spend an average of seven hours a day watching tv – how hard could it be to cut back on what, let’s face it, is often wasted time? Stick to watching only shows that you truly enjoy, don’t just sit in front of the TV because it’s there.
  • Get up a little earlier. Spending quiet time first thing in the morning (after you feed the cats, of course!) assures that it won’t fall by the wayside as you get busy later on.
  • Cut back on your e-mail and internet activities. (Just don’t cut back on reading The Conscious Cat!)
  • Plan your errands ahead of time. By organizing your route and sequence of errands, and grouping them together, you can save time, and, as a nice additional benefit, gas money.
  • Minimize housework. Relax your standards a little bit if you can. Do some basic cleaning once a week, and a more thorough cleaning once a month.

Do you make time for contemplation? How do you do it? If not, why not?

Sunday Purrs: A Different Point of View

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Being willing to change allows you to move from a point of view
to a viewing point — a higher, more expansive place, from
which you can see both sides. – Thomas Crum

Sometimes, we get so mired in our day to day lives that we can’t see the forest for the trees. We find ourselves stuck in our routine, entrenched in our point of view of things, and unable to move forward.

While I’m not suggesting that you climb up on top of your dining room cabinet like Allegra in the picture above, what better way to change your view than to see life through the eyes of your cats? In their lives, every little thing is a cause for delight, whether it’s a speck of dust on a sunlit floor, a special treat in the food bowl, or a nap in the sun.

Spend some time this holiday weekend and look at life from your cat’s point of view. What are you seeing?

Sunday Purrs: Moments of Magic

Moments of Magic

That’s the thing with magic: you’ve got to know it’s still here,
all around us, or it just stays invisible for us. – Charles de Lint

Moments of magic happen every day if we allow ourselves to let them become visible. And they don’t have to be big, splashy moments, either. A perfect cup of coffee, first thing in the morning, can be magic. A walk in the park at sunset. An unexpected meeting with a friend. There’s a quiet joy in these moments of magic.

I had a very special moment of magic last week. The fact that it happened on my birthday made it even more special. I was reading, and Ruby was sleeping on my lap. All of a sudden, Allegra decided to join us. Now mind you, the two girls get along beautifully, but so far, there had been a limit as to how close to each other they were willing to get. But in that moment, Allegra jumped up on my lap, and settled down right next to Ruby. Ruby barely opened her eyes. Allegra started grooming herself, and gave one of Ruby’s paws a quick lick before curling up for a nap of her own. There they were, my two girls, on my lap, right next to each other! It only lasted a few moments, a noise outside distracted Allegra and she got up to check it out. But while it lasted, it was pure magic.

I didn’t have my camera nearby to capture my magic moment, but I thought you’d enjoy this shot of the two girls together from the other day. It, too, qualifies as a magic moment: a photo with both of them looking at the camera at the same time!

What magic moments have you experienced lately?