9 Cat Lessons on Boundaries, Relaxation, Persistence and Life…

I’d like to introduce you to a friend of mine: Jzumbula Kittae la Kunta.

I call her “Kunta” and she’s a cat.

Cats are interesting creatures and Kunta has taught me a number of lessons I wanted to pass on to you.

Nine of them, in fact…fitting since cats allegedly have 9 lives.

I think Kunta had closer to 49 lives.

Lesson #1: Ask for what you want.

Kunta showed up outside my front window about 15 years ago. She looked in and meowed several times. I believe that was her way of telling me she wanted something: Food.

I gave her some food and, as they say, the rest was history.

Lesson #2: Don’t do what you don’t want to do.

After she showed up, announced her presence and made her request, I figured this cute little cat would let me pet her.

“Not!”

No, she wouldn’t let me get close enough to touch her for almost a month. And then she wouldn’t come inside the house for at least another month.

Good boundaries!

Lesson #3: Have pride.

In her earlier years, Kunta was quite the huntress. I won’t list all the different “critters” that were sacrificed, but I will tell you that Kunta often left their remains outside the front door.

Yes, it’s good to show off your talents, even though the rest of the world may not fully understand nor accept them.

Lesson #4: Relax.

Kunta spent most of the hours of her life doing what I think she liked best: Sleeping.

She’d usually find a nice shady spot in the bushes or under a neighbor’s car…and she’d spend hours curled up or sprawled out, enjoying the fine art of doing absolutely nothing.

Sometimes it’s good to do nothing.

Lesson #5: Go at your own pace.

Up until about 5 years ago, Kunta was never a “lap cat.” She then decided that she wanted to spend some time on my lap. However the amount of time and frequency was based on only one thing: Her.

She definitely marched to the beat of her own drum and made her own decisions.

Yes, it’s best to go at your own pace, not the pace of others.

Lesson #6: Persistence.

Kunta never weighed more than 8 pounds…”Skinny Kitty” is what I called her sometimes.

In spite of her petite size, she knew when she wanted to eat and let me know in no uncertain terms.

She had a meow that was closer to a bark and she would sit right outside my window “talking” until I let her in to get food. If I ignored her too long, she would start pulling on the screen.

She never went away without getting what she wanted.

A good reminder for all of us: Never quit.

Lesson #7: Be picky.

In the summertime, which is about 80% of the time here in Florida, Kunta always wanted to stay outside. But as soon as it got a bit chilly, she was outside the window, making her requests be known, regardless of what time it was.

Of course, she then also wanted to snuggle in my bed to stay warm…followed by early morning wake-ups to go back out again.

It’s good to pick and choose exactly what you want, when you want it.

Lesson #8: Be tough.

At 8 pounds and very skinny, you might think she was easy prey for the other cats in the ‘hood…nope, not even close!

She would climb a tree next to the house and sit on the roof as a way to have the advantage should some other cat want to mess with her.

Pretty smart, I’d say.

Of course, she never backed down either. I saw her run cats twice the size of her out of the yard. I believe she was fearless.

Courage will take you a long way in life.

Lesson #9: Play.

Kunta never played much. Catnip never did anything for her. Toys seemed to bore her. And the old piece of string got some interest, but I think she knew they were all fake.  She like to play with the real thing: Chasing squirrels and birds and snakes.

Every once in a while she’d go running through the house from one side to the other,

…but only when she was in the mood.

Playing occasionally and in your own unique way is good for the soul.

I could go on and on about other lessons and stories, but I think you get the picture: Even cats can be powerful teachers if we are simply open to the lessons.

Kunta decided a couple weeks ago that it was time to become a butterfly, so she made her great transition.

And now I’m learning a whole new set of lessons that I’ll be passing on to you…I hope you enjoy them!

Read more about Ken Donaldson here!

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