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 My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness. – The Dalai Lama 

Have you ever been the recipient of a random act of kindness? Maybe someone let you go ahead in the grocery store line because you only had one item. The driver in the car ahead of you at the toll booth paid your toll. A friend you haven’t talked to in a while called for no reason at all. If you’ve been on the receiving end of such an act of kindess, you know how wonderful it feels.

Research suggests that positive emotions help contribute to better physical and emotional health. Kindness is a beautiful way to supercharge your health. Kindness is a quality that I look for in almost every person I form any kind of relationship with – it matters that much to me. Kindness to cats, and all animals, is the most important to me, but kindness to other human beings is a close second. One of my pet peeves: people who are unkind to waiters or other service personnel.

I found myself thinking a lot about kindness this past week, as I was watching all the coverage about Hurricane Sandy. Despite the devastation and the almost unbelievable hardships people in the areas hardest hit by the storm were enduring, kindness to others seemed to be everywhere. You would think that perhaps losing everything would lead to a me first, survival of the fittest mentality, but instead, we’ve been seeing pictures of people helping others. Whether it’s people checking in on neighbors, taking in homeless families, or providing freezer space and a warm shower, stories of altruistic acts of caring abounded. I remember seeing one photo make the rounds on Facebook that seemed to embody this spirit: a tangle of extension cords and plugs was draped over a New York City sidewalk stair rail, with a sign that said “We have power. Please recharge your cell phone.”

Small random acts of kindness can brighten anyone’s day – and the nice thing is, they make both the giver and the recipient feel good. Here are some suggestions:

  • Hold the door open for someone.
  • Give up your seat on the subway.
  • Smile at someone, just because.
  • Leave a larger than normal tip.
  • Look a homeless person in the eye when you offer them food or money.
  • Send a greeting card to a friend for no reason at all.

Do cats perform random acts of kindness? Sometimes, I think they do. Allegra is not much of a lap cat, but there are times when, out of the blue, she’ll jump up on my lap and settle in for a short nap. Unlike Ruby, my little velcro cat who is in my lap all the time, these moments are so random, and special, that they could quite possibly be Allegra’s way of a random act of kindness toward me.

17 Comments on Conscious Cat Sunday: random acts of kindness

  1. It’s very important to be aware of the world around us rather than caught up in our own thoughts or our own electronic devices. When we interact with the world, smiling at another, holding a door, doing a favor, all kinds of acts of kindness come naturally.

  2. Growing up, my parents taught me that a random act of kindness (RAK) was done ‘just because’. I was a brownie and a girl guide and was taught to ‘do a good turn to someone everyday’. I have tried to teach my kids the same mindset. Do unto others . . .

    The best compliment a person can pay me about my kids is that they are kind.

    I think cats perform their acts of kindness by just being there with their purrs and headbuts.

  3. Cats definitely practice random acts of kindness. A few weeks ago I had some worries and no motivation to do anything. I just sat in my comfy chair staring at nothing and suddenly realized both Wart and Scooter were nestled at me feet. Very quiet, but very comforting.

  4. I am a huge believer in random acts of kindness.

    I try to do them daily.

    I have done things such as giving a book to someone who commented on a review (without it being a give-away)

    I ALWAYS let people go ahead of me in all kinds of lines.
    I have bought items for people standing behind me in line.
    Even writing a simple thank you email to a company when you have been given wonderful customer service (without the letter being solicited) is a random act of kindness.

    What goes around comes around!

  5. This is a pretty important reminder Ingrid, not only how it makes you feel when you receive them but also as Kste said when you perform the kindness.
    I think cats do express kindness
    When my old boy (he is 12 and the oldest of the three that live with me) feels that my skin is wet, can be when I’m just out of the shower or coming in from the rain or any event that makes me wet, he licks me carefully until everything he can reach is reasonably dry.

  6. It is the best feeling ever to do an act of kindness. I love smiling at strangers. It is so important in this world. Take care.

  7. I found your post making me smile. I love random acts of kindness, and try to do at least one (even if its small) a day. And the question about kitties, I too believe that they do. I share a similar story about my kitty Smidget Von Kittles. She’s not much of a snuggles, but almost every morning she comes up to snuggle. I love starting my day off this way, it makes my heart smile.

    Nicole

  8. This is so so true-if everyone did a random act of kindness the world would be a better place-like right now the pumpkin is snuggled up with me in bed.

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