Some of my best lessons in life were learned by watching how my cat Getzger approaches life. Though arguably, he’s not a very wise animal, he lives in such a way that makes me see my own life in a new way. Don’t worry, this isn’t going to be one of those cute “everything is fixed by a bath, a cuddle, and sunshine” posts. Well. Um. Actually. Okay, read on and see for yourself.
Live in the Moment
Getzger spends a lot of time patrolling the house, lying in the windows watching squirrels, and sleeping in sunbeams on the bed. He doesn’t think about where his next bowl of food comes from. He doesn’t worry that he might get run over by a car if he gets outside. And it’s never crossed his mind that people are mean and might say bad things about him. Getzger just skips through the daisies of life, enjoying each moment to the fullest.
Humans don’t typically live in the moment. We worry about what we should have done. We worry about what will happen next year. We worry about paying the rent and if the car breaks down and what our co-worker might think if we wear that sweater. Humans, thankfully, have the ability to think and plan ahead, insuring our safety, shelter, and food supply. But maybe we should take a lesson from Getzger and spend less time worrying and more time living.
Anger and Grudges are Pointless
Getzger doesn’t get angry. Oh sure, he defends his territory if a strange cat comes to the window. He growls when a strange car pulls up in the drive. And he will gladly take a swipe at Blue Kitty when she gets too close for comfort. But those are completely reasonable defenses and once he’s asserted himself he’s back to enjoying the sunbeams. If someone were to be mean to him, I’m sure that Getzger would learn to avoid that person, just as he avoids the vacuum cleaner and the spray bottle. But he doesn’t try to manipulate the situation or retaliate against people who have come into the yard.
You see, getting angry and holding grudges serves no purpose. Obviously, it’s okay to defend yourself or avoid bad people and situations. But stewing on it, getting ourselves worked up in knots, and getting upset doesn’t help us defend our position. It just keeps us from enjoying the sunbeams.
Appearance Doesn’t Really Matter
Getzger doesn’t care that he’s beautiful. Or that he’s fat. Or how ridiculous he looks when he runs full speed down the kitchen counter, belly flapping, on his way to catch water drops from the faucet. Or that he looks ridiculous with water splashed over his face. He is completely loved by everyone who has ever met him and nobody ever looks at him and says, “I’d like you more if your fur was a bit darker or your hips a bit narrower.” We all love him for who he is. Hilarious, soft, gentle, affectionate, sweet Getzger.
My husband loves me for who I am. Every middle-aged inch of me. He loves that I am his best friend and because we can talk and giggle into the wee hours of the morning and still want to share our lives together. I don’t look at my friends and see anything but their beautiful radiant smiles, their precious tender hearts, and our wonderful relationships! I wish someone had told me this when I was a teenager because I wasted so many years letting other, petty people determine my value based on my appearance. It doesn’t matter to the people who matter!
Find More Joy
Cats are the ultimate hedonists and spend their days seeking pleasure. They go from happy warm spots in the sun, to the food bowl, to finding willing humans to pet them. But there is nothing like the pure joy that Getzger has when someone asks him to go outside to get the mail. Or when someone turns on the kitchen faucet and lets him catch drips.
There is nothing in my human life that gives me as much joy as that silly cat gets from dripping water! And honestly that’s rather sad. Why don’t I let myself go and get that all-encompassing, full body giggle of pleasure that I felt as a toddler splashing in a puddle or as a teenager screaming my way down a roller coaster? I’m far too dignified now. Silly human. I should listen to Getzger. I need to catch water droplets with my paw. Er…or maybe I need to dance in the next rainstorm.
We Enjoy Beauty
Cats have a lot of great qualities, but they’re also severely lacking in some really great things that we humans take for granted. Getzger can enjoy experience but he can’t enjoy beauty. Beauty is an abstract concept that he can’t appreciate. It takes a human brain to appreciate beautiful things.
You have to be human to feel the delight in your body when you see certain color combinations or pleasing compositions. You have to be human to feel emotion when you look at art.
To Create is Human
Getzger can’t create. He can’t build anything. He can’t formulate an idea, gather materials, and craft something into existence. (Piles of hairballs don’t count.)
I’ve met lots of people who think they’re not creative. That’s just not true, because humans can build, create, craft. All of us can. What people really mean when they say that is that they don’t think they can create well enough. They’re judging the outcome before they even get started. And that’s a waste of the innate human talent that we all have.
Who determines what is good enough? You are human and you have every right to express your human ability to create. Even creating a batch of cookies is still creating. We create something from raw materials and if we allow ourselves to put individual expression into that creation, it’s called art. We can all do it. It’s human. And it’s human to experience joy while we create!
It doesn’t matter if art is good or bad. Or if I’m talented or not. The fact that I can create and enjoy the process and revel in the beauty of it is a precious gift that only humans can experience. Are you making the most of your gift?
Getzger is an 11-year-old male Abyssinian cat (edit: he’s now 14) who lives with his family and three other cats named Tubby, Blue Kitty, and Sprinky. He’s a very insistent and friendly fellow who loves visitors, getting the mail each day, and drinking water from the kitchen tap. You can read 25 Things About Getzger and follow him on Facebook.
Note: We lost our beloved Getzger due to kidney failure earlier this month. He kept his wonderful attitude and bold spirit til the end, asking to go on car rides the day before he died. He is very, very missed.
Getzger Cat – August 20, 2002 – December 6, 2016