Our furry feline friends can sometimes seem utterly non-understandable. They sleep all day, and they'll suddenly run from one room to another without warning. They scream for food, even if we've just fed them. They know exactly when we're about to get up, and climb into our laps. They love our dirty laundry. They love our clean laundry. They like shoving their noses into the soles of our dirty socks, and inside our worn, stinky shoes. They like the smell of trash. They like herbs from the mint family, but can't stand the smell of toothpaste or mouthwash. They are utterly confusing little creatures, and many of us have given up trying to understand them.
However, there are things they can teach us. In watching them live their own little lives, and how they behave towards us, we can discern behaviors and apply them to our own lives. Studying their biology can help us understand our own. Some of these things might be absolutely critical to improving your life, or to better understanding human issues. Here are four things our feline friends can teach us.
Cats can teach us about sleep
Psychologist and sleep specialist Rubin Naiman, Ph.D., says that cats, in their infinite capacity to sleep all the time, can actually teach us about the importance of sleep in our own lives. He speculates that one of the reasons cats can sleep so much is because they feel safe. Our inability to even get enough sleep may be due, in part, to not feeling safe psychologically, to feeling like we need to be aware all of the time "just in case."
He also says that cats have a certain continuity between sleep and wakefulness, whereas we see them as two distinct and separate parts of our daily lives. Dr. Naiman's article is quite enlightening about these aspects of sleep. To read it in full, click here.
Cats can teach us about our behavior on social media
Cats are clean creatures. They play well with others (as long as those "others" are friendly people). They're curious. And more. How does all this translate to our behavior on social media? Kacee Erhard, of the website "Websavvy Marketers," says that their cleanliness is analogous to some people's incessant need to correct others' grammar. In fact, according to a survey in the U.K., bad grammar on social media was more irritating than aggressive sales tactics.
In their constant search for things to play with, they can teach us that social media is for fun. Whether you're using it for marketing purposes or personal reasons, have fun! Click "like" on your favorite comments and posts, and make some of your own. Retweet that silly, inspiring, or even grave tweet. Be like your cat, and look for fun everywhere.
Cats' curiosity can translate to our curiosity about how others react to us on social media. To be effective, be curious. Be active on several different platforms, and always look for what others are saying, not just about you, but about everything.
Kacee's entire article about what cats teach us about our behavior on social media can be found here.
Cats can teach us about happiness
Stephanie Henkel writes that cats teach us about a lot of things, but especially happiness. A well-loved, well cared-for cat is almost always a happy cat. Yet happiness eludes most of us humans. Examples of how cats teach us about happiness are learning to play, living in the moment, not holding grudges, getting plenty of sleep (or naps), eating well, listening to your stomach, and being kind to your friends.
Living in the moment is perhaps one of the more important keys to happiness, because if you're constantly re-living past mistakes or wishing to go back to that happier time in your life, or constantly worrying about the future, then you aren't as able to enjoy the present. Cats don't worry about the past or the future very much. They're very grounded in the here and now, and it's a lesson we all can benefit from.
For more on how cats teach us about happiness, click here.
Cats can teach us about human health conditions
Incredibly enough, calico cats might be able to teach us about certain genetic conditions. Researchers at Stanford University are looking at the phenomenon of "gene silencing," which is when a cell prevents a certain gene from expressing itself. In calico cats, which are almost always female, an orange gene on the X chromosome, and a black gene on the other X chromosome, are turned on and off at random throughout the cat's body, which creates the calico pattern.
These researchers are hoping that learning how the calico's genes are expressed can help them learn how human genes are passed on and expressed. That knowledge may help us learn how to better control genetic problems. For more details on this research, go here.