Conscious Cat

August 12, 2012 17 Comments

Conscious Cat Sunday: restlessness

Posted by Ingrid

cat_on_window_seat 

You get peace of mind not by thinking about it or imagining it,
but by quietening and relaxing the restless mind. – Unknown

Have you ever met a restless cat? I didn’t think so. Cats do everything they do mindfully. Whether they’re eating, grooming or sleeping, they’re fully present. We could learn a lot from them.

Even though a certain amount of restlessness can propel you out of a rut and toward personal growth, constantly feeling anxious, nervous, agitated or on edge is not good for your mental, spiritual and physical health. I know that whenever I feel restless, it’s usually either because I’m trying to do too much, or because there’s something going on in my life that I’m not willing to deal with.

Regardless of what causes restlessness, the only way to deal with it is to calm your mind. Here are some tips on how to do that:

Spend quiet time alone. You can’t be everything to everybody. Carve out some time for yourself every day, even if it’s only a few minutes.

Change your thought patterns. When you feel restless, the thoughts and images that go through your mind are usually pretty chaotic, jumping from one thing to the next. Try to short-circuit these negative thought patterns by taking a deep breath, and reframing the thoughts into something more positive.

Spend time in nature. Walking in an open field, spending time by a stream or by the ocean, enjoying a gorgeous view, even just looking out a a tree in your backyard, can bring serenity to your mind.

Spend time with your cats. There is nothing more peaceful to me than watching a sleeping cat. An interesting thing that has been happening to me is that during the times when I feel the most restless, Ruby will jump up on my lap and, after taking a thorough bath, will settle in for a nice long nap. I’m effectively forced to relax, because, of course, I wouldn’t think of interrupting and displacing her!

Do you often feel restless? Do you have any tips on how to cope?

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17 Responses to “Conscious Cat Sunday: restlessness”

  1. Carine says:

    Thanks for this article :-)
    I find your fourth point to be a good mix of all your points, for me. Spending time with my cats allow me to change my mind, enjoy the moment, sometimes we do that outside too, and take advantage of some fresh air. Sometimes it’s quiet, sometimes it’s playful. But the cats always have a way to keep our mind in the moment and feeling better.
    That’s my experience anyway!
    Not to mention that Texas would come sit on the keyboard of my laptop if I spend to much time on it ;-)

  2. I never feel restless myself – I always can find something to do at ANY given time of the day or night but Sammy generally has a bit of a restless period in the evenings for about the last couple of years or so. Playing with him doesn’t relieve the restlessness nor does getting a treat (!) he just seems to be at loose ends. It only lasts for about an hour and he settles down but when you mention the word “restless” that’s precisely what he seems to be! Other than that, he’s calm, cool and collected.

    Pam (with Sam on my lap)

  3. Tami Amburn says:

    Great thoughts….I can have a stressful day but always relax when I am around my 4 cats……they just are so at ease with themselves…of course I have all the worries, not them. I also liked the point about killing the negative thoughts when everything is racing thru your head……good one.

    LOVE THE BLOG and your kitties.

  4. Jeanne says:

    Actually. . . I DO have a restless cat in Fred. I had intended to keep my cats as indoor only but after several years, Fred broke my resolve. We got him at about three months of age, and from the start he was a high energy cat, always on the move. Vigorous play sessions didn’t help, and after I took in a mother cat and her kittens, Fred would refuse to join in the play session if any other cats were around. Trying to sequester Fred so we could play didn’t work as Fred became obsessed with the closed door. Fred also learned what buttons to push to break my will to keep him in: attacking the other cats. He didn’t hurt anyone, but his favorite target was my little deaf cat. She was totally cowed.

    So I have relented and Fred now spends most of his time outside; I think he’d spend more time in, but the two years of attacking the other cats means that there are two who dislike him and one who will attack Fred when he comes inside: Melon now feels that the house is his and he doesn’t like Fred’s disruptions.

    When I say restless, I mean Fred trotted around the house constantly. He would stop to see what I was doing but if he didn’t think laundry was interesting he’d run another lap around the house, jump on another cat, circle back and repeat. I think Fred is requires a great deal of stimulation, all his senses engaged, to be content. He’s a very athletic little cat and frequently leaps on my shoulders and rides while I walk around the yard. He usually enters the house by leaping on my shoulders and I walk up the stairs with him balanced more or less comfortably, with the occasional claw to steady himself. He’s a very affectionate little boy, and I think he misses some of the contact. He was much calmer when Rupert was alive: Rupert was my adult red tabby who treated Fred as a mother cat would, playing, disciplining, grooming. He kept Fred in check from jumping on the other cats. He passed away from cancer three years ago; before that Fred had both Rupert and my mother to help entertain him during the day, but Mom passed away five years ago.

    I’m not happy with my solution but I don’t think getting rid of the other cats would make Fred any happier and content to stay in. Even at 7 years old, he still has more energy and curiosity than any other cat I have. Cats, like people, come in all temperaments.

    As for tips for humans, I’ve found that a good long walk, preferably outdoors, helps me. Like Fred, I suspect part of my restlessness is sometimes due to too much adrenaline. The walk helps burn some of that off, and as I walk I set my mind to some abstract problem. I analyze the latest book I read or dissect the last movie I saw for what I liked and what I didn’t, could it have been rewritten to correct some plot hole– that sort of thing. The whole idea is to have a sense of doing something when in reality there may not be anything I can do to change a particular situation (work schedule, for instance). Afterward, I can settle down and read, groom kitties, or whatever.

    • Ingrid says:

      Fred sounds like quite the character, Jeanne. It sounds to me like you found the best possible solution, given that he’s such a high energy cat.

      I like your solution of a long walk and focusing your mind on something abstract.

  5. Bernadette says:

    Now here is where the bike ride comes in–physical exercise is one of my methods for curing restlessness, and bicycling is one of my favorites because I enjoy the feeling of physical movement along with physical exertion, and leaving things behind, literally. I am also in the outdoors, whether in my neighborhood or town, or on a trail or in the woods, and even walking in the woods or on the trail just turns my restless mind to other things, as does spending time in the garden. But I can also quiet my mind with focus, a crochet or craft project, even washing dishes, an easy, non-challenging task that gives me a sense of accomplishment while redirecting my thoughts.

  6. Sue says:

    My husband and I rescued a 6 yr. old grey stripe tom I named Huck Finn. He is a sweet natured gentle cat who is extremely restless and needy. After neutering and doctoring him he now has his first official forever home. However my hubby and I are both disabled and home bound much of our time. I to have anxiety issues and day to day stressors I have had to learn to live/cope with and since Huck and his restlessness moved in my anxiety and stress level is thru the roof. I am not going to give up on the little guy but there has to be a solution and trust me I’ve tried them all. Huck acts as if he is trying to communicate and as we all know there is a definite language barrier. I am at my wits end! Any suggestions would be much appreciated.

  7. Sue says:

    Jeanne about summed it up. I to have some of Fred in Huck although he has never attacked he plays aggressively with our olden Calli girl cat. There is a constant turf war going on 1 being the litter box. They are like 2 kids fighting over the sand box. And Huck doesn’t even use a litter box unless Calli makes her move.
    Thank you for your suggestions Ingrid. I do follow up on all the above as far as anxiety/stress relief but I have my good and bad days. I won’t bother going into all of that on this Blog. Suffice it to say, “Tis the Season”
    Huck and I both meditate fairly well together when we do connect. He loves to have his feet massaged and his arm pits scratched. And his soothing purr soon puts us both into a relaxing lullaby. Although our catnaps are brief Huck is soon back to speed dial.

  8. Jeanne says:

    Hi, Sue,
    I didn’t really mean to malign Fred in saying he attacks. I think your description of “aggressive play” is better, but Bonnie’s reaction is so fearful that I think she believes she is being attacked even though he’s never seriously hurt her. Flora has started a preemptive offense, growling and yowling every time Fred walks into the room– and she’s started doing it at most of the other cats as well.

    I’ve tried both Spirit Essences and Rescue Remedy with little success; I quit when I realized that Melon was refusing to drink from any bowl with the additives. (I opened the door to the fenced in back yard and Melon rushed out and drank out of a grungy dish. I realized that the water bowls hadn’t been nearly as empty of late when I’d refill. Now Melon will only drink from outside water, even though I’ve discontinued the additives. I also tried putting them in one bowl and leaving the other plain water, so care to guess which was the most popular bowl?)

    Fred turned eight this year and has mellowed to some extent, though how much of that is due to his outside exertions I don’t know. He’s such a sweet, loving boy at heart– just very boistrous. Like your Huck, he loves to be close at tmes, nuzzling and headbutting and kneading (ouchouchouchcoud!) so I love him dearly. I just don’t know how to make him happy, short of getting rid of all the other cats and staying home with him all day to keep him amused.

  9. Ingrid says:

    For those of using the essences, or wanting to try them: I actually don’t recommend adding them to food or water, for the very reason that you mentioned, Jeanne. I recommend rubbing the essences into the fur. These essences are considered “energy medicine,” and the only thing that really matters is that they get into the cat’s energy field. How this is accomplished is secondary.

    Sue, how many litter boxes do you have?

    I’ve found Peacemaker to be a very effective remedy for any type of interact aggression – either rubbed into the fur, or even just sprayed in the areas where aggression tends to take place.

  10. Peggy says:

    Great article! WHere did you get that kitty hammock? I need that for my kitty!

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