Between the horror stories on the news and being unable to leave my home without the protection of a mask, I’ll admit it…I’ve been stressed. I’m sure you’re feeling the same. Over the course of 2020, life has drastically changed for us humans.
But you know who it hasn’t changed for? Our feline friends.
It was during a meltdown of epic proportions that my cat found me, lovingly sniffed at my hand, and likely wondered, “What the heck is wrong with my human?”
Cue the realization: Minerva, my cat, was not stressed at all. At all. And why would she be? Not only does she have no idea what’s going on (ignorance is bliss, so they say), but she’s pretty much been quarantined her entire life. She’s strictly indoors, and yet, she’s happy. Really happy, if I take her loud purring into account.
By now, I’ve had plenty of time to observe her in her natural habitat, also known as...my home. Let’s just say I’ve learned a lot. Here are some of the secrets she’s been kind enough to divulge.
Don’t forget to groom.
Cats are meticulous about hygiene and grooming. My fur-baby spends a lot of time cleaning herself to maintain a fresh appearance and a happy disposition. Fun fact: cats can spend up to 50% of their waking hours grooming!
Now, I’m not suggesting you hop into the bath for up to 50% of your waking hours — unless you really enjoy bubble baths, then okay. No judgment. But recently it’s easy to skip daily tasks that we normally complete without much thought. It’s easy to get out of our routine because our routine’s been absolutely demolished. A lot of us aren’t working at the moment, and some of us are still working from home. But showering and staying clean are important for not only our physical health but also mental health.
Yeah, I know we’re not seeing many people outside our homes right now, and yeah, if you're social distancing properly it can be harder for them to smell you from 6ft away. And sure, people can’t smell you over those Zoom meetings. But trust me. Instead of skipping that shower, enjoy it. Warm up under some hot water. Use your favorite body wash. You’ll smell better, look better, and feel better.
Take a cat nap.
If I can’t find Minerva, it’s because she’s napping somewhere. And boy, does she nap a lot. Cats are notorious for this, and it’s primarily to converse energy. If this pandemic’s left you feeling tired, you’re not lazy for wanting to nap.
Small naps throughout the day are shown to boost brain power, general health, and mood. The key is to not nap all day long but to take a quick "cat nap" (about 30–60 minutes) in the middle of the day.
Since I started working from home, I’ve been taking a nap in my hammock during my lunch. Afterward, I feel refreshed and ready to go — I’m also less stressed. Research shows that naps can reduce stress as well. And who couldn't use that right about now?
During these stressful times, we need all the stress-reduction we can get. Maybe that’s why cats are so chill?
Bask in a sunny spot.
Have you ever noticed how cats like to get right up to the window and watch the outdoors? My cat likes to lay by the back doors once the wood floors are warmed up from the sun and just bask in the light. Cats know the importance of getting a little Vitamin D.
Even though the world may seem to be falling apart, some things are still the same: the sun still rises each day, the sky’s blue, and Vitamin D is super important for overall health and wellbeing. It’s recommended to get a daily 10–30 minutes of midday sun exposure in order to maintain healthy Vitamin D levels.
Say hi to a human.
Cats have a reputation for being loners. Maybe that’s true for most cats, but Minerva usually wants my attention. Even now, she’s sitting against my arm as I write this article.
Just because we’re social distancing and masks are part of our daily ensemble doesn’t mean we can’t interact with our favorite people.
If you’re lucky enough to be living with people during this pandemic, then make it a point to hang out with them in a normal fashion. There are only so many times I can inform my boyfriend of the COVID-19 infection rates. Instead, watch a movie, make dinner together, anything. Just enjoy each other’s company. Or, call up a friend or relative. Talk about something funny you recently watched, or ask them about a hobby, or their pets. I FaceTime my sister daily. She’ll show me her dog acting like a hyper lunatic, and I’ll show her my cat sleeping on my lap. We both smile. Connect with loved ones.
Remember: you are divine.
Ancient Egyptians worshipped cats as gods, and cats seem to instinctively remember this. My fur-baby, Minerva, was named after a Roman goddess and she knows it. Cats know they own the place. They know how freaking amazing they are. They know they are tiny, furry gods and goddesses. And so are you. Minus the fur.
Now more than ever, it’s easy to let negative thoughts take hold. There’s so much pressure to ‘get that book finished’ or ‘get the perfect body’ because all a sudden we have more ‘free time’ than ever. Don’t buy into that. It’s okay to take a nap and know that you’re still valuable, cherished, and worthy of being seen as a divine being. Cats do it all day, every day. So can you.
How can you lead a better life?
So, take some friendly advice from cats around the world.
- Stay clean: remember the importance of grooming!
- Catch some midday Z’s: naps are good for your health.
- Get some sun: load up on Vitamin D.
- Connect with other humans: make a call or two.
- Know that you’re purr-fect the way you are: you are divine.
If you follow these tips inspired by cats, you'll lead a better, happier life.