Or “How My Cat Helps Me Take Care of Me”
Cats. They’re awesome, aren’t they?
So independent. So aloof. So cuddly when they want to be.
It’s easy to think that cats only love us humans because we have opposable thumbs for opening cans of food and bags of treats. And sometimes, and with some cats, I’m pretty sure that’s right.
As aloof as they may be, cats actually do care about their owners more than you would think. If you have a cat that you’re bonded with, then you and your cat have your own special language. You understand intimately which meow means, “Feed me,” which meow means, “Pay attention to me,” and which meow means, “Follow me.” When your cat talks to you, you have a pretty good idea what they’re trying to say.
Miss Artemis Grumpers
This is my cat, Miss Artemis Grumpers. We call her Artie for short. Artie is gentle and has a super sweet temperment. She’s 11 years old. I got her when she was 10 weeks old back in the spring of 2007. She and I, we’ve seen some shit.
That’s cool and all, but what does your cat have to do with self care?
Hang on, I’m getting there.
I tend to be a night owl, however, I live in a morning bird world. During the work week I try to keep to a regular bedtime routine. Around 10 P.M. I head back to my room to wash my face and do my skincare routine, then settle into bed so I can try to get to sleep around 11:30 P.M. Anyone who is trying to get by in this 9-to-5 world knows sleep is an important part of self care.
Cats LOVE routine
Artie knows this is my weeknight routine. So, if I’m hanging out doing stuff in the living room and it gets to be around 10 P.M., Artie will come sit in front of me and meow to get my attention. Once she has my attention she will head back to my room, checking to see if I’m following. If I don’t follow her, she will come back and meow again more urgently, or even sit on the arm of the couch or my lap while meowing and pawing at me. That is Artie’s way of telling me, “Mom, it’s time to come back to the room and settle in.”
Her imploring meows tell me it’s time to get ready for bed
She’s not wrong.
If I ignore Artie’s plea to come get ready for bed, I almost always stay up too late and end up hating life at the office the next day. If I actually follow her back to the bedroom and do my bedtime routine when she tells me to, I usually end up having time to do my full skincare regimen and a sheet mask, and I can still get to sleep on time. Taking care of my skin AND actually getting enough sleep during the week? That’s kind of a big thing for me on the self care front. My cat, Artie, helps with that.
Fuzzy little alarm clock
My cat can also double as a backup alarm. I have had more than a few days when I forgot to set, or slept through, my alarm. On many of those days, I would have been late if Artie hadn’t made sure I was up. It’s really only because, as I wrote above, cats love routine.
Artie knows that most days I get up around 7 A.M. If I’m not up around 7A.M., she will start meowing and pawing at my face. Granted, Artie isn’t great at telling time, but she has a good sense for it. Sometimes she lets me sleep until 8 or 8:30, but she usually will get me up. Not being super late to work is also a form of self care.
Unfortunately, Artie also gets me up around 8 A.M. on weekends. While she may be good at knowing when bedtime and wake up time are, she still doesn’t know weekdays from weekends.
Furry internet blocker
My cat also helps me to break away from the internet. (GASP! You don’t ALWAYS want to be on the internet?!? How dare you call yourself a blogger!)
Artie is a cat who demands that I pet her with both hands. That makes it really hard to use my iDevices or a TV remote. And if she decides that she wants to be on my lap even though my iPad is already occupying that space… She doesn’t knock it off my lap, but she can make reading on iPad quite difficult.
I think it’s her way of telling me I’ve been looking at little screens for far too long.
Again, she’s not wrong.
I happily submit to my Kitten Overlord!
Now, I’m not one of those crazy cat ladies who thinks my cat actually tells me things, but Artie certainly has me trained.
She lets me know when her food bowl is empty. She demands my attention as soon as I come home from work. She lets me know when she needs fresh water in her bowl. She patiently waits for me to offer her a taste of whatever I am eating.
My cat is an important part of my self care. Artie really does help me to take care of me. That’s how I know she really does care.