Wow. What an interesting world we live in! There's so much to see, so much to do, and so much joy and happiness to be found even in the simplest moments. From watching our mama and other people, we know that you human types often forget that it's important to take the time to relax and enjoy the world for what it is. We gather that there's a lot you worry about, and sometimes you worry about things you can't do anything about. Since it's been a lovely, lazy week for us, we used our time of contemplation to think about how we can advise Mama and other people about how to be as happy as a well-loved cat.
Sinéad: The first thing that you can do is to remember that you need that empty time in your lives so that you can observe everything around you. Even the things that seem to be the same every day are just slightly different. You may see the same tree outside your back door every day, but every day, there's a change. Maybe one day a squirrel is sitting in it. And then the next day, there's a raven or three crows singing a chorus.
Siouxsie: And maybe one day it's gray and foggy, and it's gray and foggy the next day, too. But the fog smells different the next day, or its quality and movement are different. I think fog is magical and lovely, and it teaches you to see the world in a whole different way.
JaneA: Especially when there are people playing bagpipes on a foggy day, and the music just seems to be everywhere. It's haunting and beautiful.
Sinéad: I'm glad you took the time to see that, Mama. Sometimes you're so busy running around and doing things that you forget to take the time to sit down some place quiet and just watch and listen. I love watching and listening. Taking the time to do that is the first step to being as happy as a cat.
Siouxsie: The next thing is that you must have a comfortable and safe place to sleep, and sleep as much as you need to. I like to sleep.
Sinéad: So do I, and so do lots of other cats. But actually, most of the time we're snoozing rather than sleeping. Snoozing puts us in a different state of mind and we see connections we'd never seen before. Mama says that some people meditate, which I suppose is similar, but Mama's had some of her best insights while snoozing. We know; we were there!
Siouxsie: And it's always nice to have someone to cuddle up with while you're snoozing. We recommend a soft and friendly cat. There's nothing like a good cuddle-purr-snooze time to make you feel good.
Sinéad: I wish you'd cuddle up with me sometimes, Siouxsie. You haven't cuddled with me since we were kittens.
Siouxsie: Well, if you wouldn't run away every time I got close to you . . .
Sinéad: Well, if you wouldn't groom me into complacency and then scare me . . .
JaneA: Ladies, I'm sure we can resolve this another time. Right now we're talking about how to be as happy as a cat.
Siouxsie: Well, Mama . . . Part of being happy is to know that even when you love someone, you might have a spat with them, but it doesn't mean that it's the end of the world. Of course Sinéad and I wrestle and fight. It's part of how we relate, and we've made an agreement that we wouldn't hurt one another too much.
Sinéad: Yes, that's true. I love Siouxsie, and she knows that. So even when we wrestle, we don't get scared that we're going to hate each other forever afterwards.
Siouxsie: We find that people let angry-making things pile up until they can't help but fight, and then when they do fight, it does seem like the end of the world, because the people in the fight aren't even really fighting about what they seem to be fighting about! That sounds crazy to me.
Sinéad: Me too. I mean, when Siouxsie and I get angry and wrestle, it's not about something that happened a long time ago. It's because, for example, Siouxsie stole my favorite sleeping place a minute ago. When the fight is over, the bad feelings are gone, because we resolved it in a proper cat way. Nobody got hurt, but we made a lot of noise and cuffed each other with our paws and stuff.
Siouxsie: So, to be as happy as a cat, make sure you tend to your disagreements with your family or friends when they happen, and fight fair. If I were fighting with Sinéad and suddenly scratched her with my claws when we agreed that wouldn't do that in our fights, that wouldn't be fair.
Sinéad: Another thing you can do to be as happy as a cat is to make sure that you get and give plenty of loving petties. I love being touched and petted and stroked by someone I love and feel safe with--like Mama, for instance!
JaneA: Mama loves to pet and stroke you and Siouxsie, too.
Siouxsie: It seems to me that people get confused about the meaning of touch. They either think touch is only supposed to be a prelude to sex, or that it's a way of claiming power over someone else. Touch is just touch. It's a way to express love for another creature. And people need touch as much as dogs and cats and other animal friends.
Sinéad: That's right. And sometimes we groom people back or hug them or lean against them, because we know that they need touch and love, too. I like to hug Mama's arm with my tail or curl up next to her when she's reading.
Siouxsie: I like to sit on Mama's lap or let her pick me up and hug me. If she's eaten something that tastes yummy, I may clean her fingers for her. But not just for the food, of course.
Sinéad: And Grammy's dog, Aki, likes to lean against her people. That's the way big dogs hug--they lean. And the dogs we've met like to be hugged, too. Especially Aki. She loves to be hugged!
Siouxsie: But the most important element to being as happy as a cat is to just be. That's why you're called human beings, not human doings. It's really okay to just stop once in a while and take in the world.
Sinéad: Now that we've shared our thoughts with you on how you can be as happy as a cat, we hope that you will take our advice and use our techniques--which, by the way, are totally free of charge and aren't veiled in secrecy and mystical mumbo-jumbo. This is knowledge you humans came into the world with, but you forgot because other people told you to forget. They told you it was wrong to stop and enjoy the moment, they told you it was wrong to feel your feelings, and they insinuated yucky meanings into simple gestures of love and kindness.
Siouxsie: Reclaim your birthright! Don't accept the message that you have to be a slave to some demented machine-person's idea of what is "proper."
Sinéad: You want to know what's proper behavior? Here they are, our 12 tips for being as happy as a cat:
If you live by these simple guidelines, I'm sure you'll find that you will eventually be as happy as a cat.
JaneA: And you didn't even have to attend a $800 weekend seminar at a luxury resort or watch some endless PBS Beg-a-thon to find out how! How's that for a bargain? Thanks, ladies, for sharing your tips on happiness. I've learned a lot just typing this column for you, and I hope I'll be able to take this advice to heart.
Got a question? Need some advice? E-mail Sinéad and Siouxsie at email@example.com. None of the advice in this column is meant to be a substitute for regular veterinary care.