I have had the pleasure of a sweet black kitty in my life for almost two years now. Salem came to me a short while after the pandemic struck in 2020, and while my father struggled against colon cancer (from which, I am happy to report, he has made a full recovery). With life so hectic and the world so crazy, Salem was little a furry blessing in disguise–not only because she was warm and affectionate, but also because of the lessons she has taught or reminded me of during our time together.
Here are three of the most poignant examples:
1) The Benefits of a Regular Morning Routine:
When life gets stressful, or downright depressing, it is so easy to cast regular schedules to the wind, curl up in a little ball somewhere, and throw everything else out of whack as a result. Cats, as it turns out, find great comfort in their established routines, and Salem always chooses to bounce on my bed around 6:00 a.m. each morning. If I turn over or refuse to stir–even with the purring hum of a fluffy motor inches away–she starts to yank off my bedcovers. Because cats, as it also turns out, are adept at gripping things as well.
Strangely enough, though, I can never get angry with her for waking me up at such an early hour, and as time has passed, I’ve been grateful for her acting as an alarm clock. We often watch the sunrise while eating our respective breakfasts, and in the dim silence its peaceful and therapeutic. It is always a great start to the day, and I hadn’t realized until then just how comforting it could be to have a steady routine each morning.
2) The Need to Enjoy Simple Wonders
The simplest things can fascinate or intrigue cats. A string pulled invitingly across a floor, ideally slowly around a corner and just out of sight, can lead to hours of entertainment possibilities for them. Certain tasks around the household have become so mundane for me, from doing the laundry to reaching into kitchen cabinets for pans, that I almost never really think about them. But Salem loves to follow me around from place to place, gazing intently at each action as if wondering what marvels might happen next. She likes to sniff pots and pans, and to slip under sheets that I smooth out before folding.
She also gets bored easily, and it has become something of a happy tweak to my usual chores to find little ways to entertain her as well. Like letting the water faucet in the bathroom drip for a few moments, so she can stare at the droplets of water and investigate this strange phenomenon. Such things may sound odd to do; however, Salem’s constant childlike wonder at the world around her is just . . . inspiring. I search for something that might excite her next and have fun myself.
3) The Importance of Taking Things Slow
I get very anxious about issues like trying to find steady employment or prepare for the future in a wide variety of other ways. The pressure is constantly there, urging me to rush, rush, rush. Yet Salem is the kind of kitty who seems to sense when I am too stressed out, and she gets even more affectionate and insistent at such moments that I give her extra TLC. There is nothing to do except slow down for a moment to stroke her under the chin or engage in at least a brief play session–and it works. I always feel much better afterwards, with my focus having been shifted somewhere else.
Taking occasional breaks has made all the difference in keeping a level head and having the energy to move ahead on countless projects. It is like a healing spell–something that we must never forgot to do for the sake of staying healthy.
Having a furry companion like a cat really changes the life of anyone lucky enough to have them around. Their affection, childish wonder, and easygoing ways are valuable lessons to hold close, especially amid rough moments in our lives.