Watching my two cats fighting in the backyard makes me realise that we really aren’t that different from them. This may sound weird, and perhaps it is. But we have been slowly introducing our five-month-old kitten to our 7-year-old cat, and it’s not been the smoothest of rides. When Buckley (kitten) sees Missy (cat) in the backyard, no matter what else is around, he makes a beeline straight for her. She will sniff or watch him quietly, and then… HISSSS! He then jumps away, before coming right back for more. It’s very entertaining, to say the least!
But he pushed it too far just before, and after playing with her tail he pounced on her had. That did it. Another big HISSSS and I had to remove him from the situation.
So how does this remind me of humans, you may ask? Well, the intentions are good. Buckley only wants to play with Missy, he is a curious kitten and is exploring the world. She is part of this world, and definitely the most interesting part to him. She doesn’t mind too much that he exists: she often ignores him, but has realised he is here to stay. She doesn’t chase him or hiss at him unnecessarily. She shows tolerance.
However, the miscommunication is there. They are just not on the same wavelength. But the thing is, it is not intentional. Okay, maybe Missy gets a little grumpy that some other cat is moving in on her turf, and maybe Buckley takes it a bit too far by jumping on her tail when she is eating, but it is not malicious. I think we all too often experience the same clash of cultures and take it too personally. We quickly jump to the conclusion that the other person (or cat) is deliberately trying to aggravate us or get on our nerves, when really they just have a different way of seeing the world.
I know that whenever I feel really mad or upset, I benefit from stopping and taking a breath. By waiting about 10 seconds to think about the situation and whether it deserves me upsetting myself (because you can only get upset if you choose to be), the feelings usually subside. Logic takes over when we refuse to take things personally.
I am an incredibly emotional person, so my definition of ‘logic’ may be different to others’, and I believe that emotions are the backbone of all relationships and ways of thinking, despite what the individual may think. What is ‘rational’ when every viewpoint is subjective? But when we refuse to let our emotions cloud our judgement, we then experience a kind of emotional logic wherein we do not lose our emotional sensibility, but instead channel it through a constructive point of view. We can use our emotions for good, to help us understand the world in a positive way.
This way of thinking is especially useful in high stress situations, such as when stuck in heavy traffic. People can be incredibly rude and dangerous in the cars, more so than they would ever be in person. It is frustrating to see some of the horrendous driving that goes on. But it is even more dangerous to respond. By taking check of our emotions and realising that someone else intimidating you on the road is not a personal attack but the result of their own feelings and situations, we can step back and avoid responding. This way, you protect yourself and do not allow someone else’s actions to upset your equilibrium.
The funny thing about my cats is that although they have these little scuffles, they can relax like no one else. Both of them are such chillers, and enjoy the little things in life, like a good pat under the chin or a tin of tuna. They are slowly getting used to one another, and although it may take a little while, they do not let it ruin their days. They forget about it, Missy goes somewhere else and Buckley continues to frolic. And then they bask in the sun, without a care in the world.
There certainly is a lot to be learned from a cat (or two). I hope this helps you to breathe, step back and relax.