Conscious Cat Sunday: Solitude

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We live in a crazy busy world, and without finding ways to counteract the stress caused by the fast pace of life and constant stimulation coming at us from everywhere, we end up stressed, depressed and anxious. For me, one of the best ways to decompress is seeking and enjoying solitude.

Solitude is not the same as loneliness. Even though they look alike from the outside, there’s a big difference between solitude, which is a positive state of being alone with yourself. Loneliness, on the other hand, is defined by a sense of isolation and a feeling that something is missing. Loneliness is about lack, solitude about feeling whole.

Solitude is a choice. Loneliness is something that is imposed on you by the absence of others. We all have different needs for alone time and time spent with others, but if you’re unable to be alone with yourself, then it’s probably time to ask yourself why.

I believe solitude is crucial for one’s mental health. The benefits to making solitude a regular part of your life are plentiful:

  • Solitude replenishes depleted resources.
  • Solitude can be a time of inner searching, personal growth, and ultimately, inner peace.
  • Solitude can actually improve the quality of your relationships. By getting to know yourself better, you’ll make better choices when it comes to choosing the people you want to spend time with.
  • Solitude helps with problem solving and decision making.
  • Solitude forces you to unplug. Sitting by yourself with your phone or tablet does not count!

Experts disagree on whether cats are social or solitary animals. I think as with so many things, it depends on each individual cat. While some cats prefer to be the one and only, others thrive with the company of one or more of their species. But I do think cats can teach us a thing or two about the benefits of solitude: even cats who live in a multicat household tend to have their “own” space they like to go off to to be alone.

Do you make time for solitude in your life?

16 Comments on Conscious Cat Sunday: Solitude

  1. monica ackerman
    June 10, 2014 at 8:35 pm (5 years ago)

    I absolutely LOVE my Sundays alone in the house with Chelsea and Charlie, my middleaged kittie companions. Frankly, I just join them in their practiced solitude since I work during the week and we only have evenings together. But we truly enjoy each other Sunday. Well, I enjoy them and they go along with it. My weeks are so crazy and my Saturdays full of chores and errands so when Sunday rolls around, I’m done. That’s when I tell them how lucky we all are to have this life together. They agree, I’m pretty sure.
    Ingrid, I love your posts and often want to comment but don’t always get to the computer when inspiration strikes. Today was one of those lucky coincidences. Thanks for all your ideas.
    Monica

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      June 11, 2014 at 6:30 am (5 years ago)

      I’m so glad you love my posts, Monica. Your Sundays sound like bliss to me. 🙂

      Reply
  2. Sheila O
    June 9, 2014 at 9:57 am (5 years ago)

    I have 3 cats, one 12 yrs, the other 3 and 4 yrs old. Bella, my 12 yr old was a solitary cat before i got her, and she did not socialize with other cats. However, when I got a female kitten, and some medical help for the older cat, she suddenly bloomed and the two have been best friends ever since.

    However, when I introduced the next cat, a male kitten, Bella absolutely put her paw down! How dare I bring MALE into the mix? It took her close to 2 years before she allowed the boy within her sphere. And every time I take the boy out of the house (vet visit or the like) she acts like he’s a new cat in her space.

    Bella was lonely as a solitary cat, but she likes her Solitude!

    Reply
  3. Sue Brandes
    June 8, 2014 at 6:03 pm (5 years ago)

    My kitties do like their own space but; every once in awhile I catch them near each other sleeping. I also get lots of solitude. Nice just to think by yourself once in awhile. Great post.

    Reply
  4. Jenny | Floppycats.com
    June 8, 2014 at 5:14 pm (5 years ago)

    Hey Ingrid,

    It’s funny because I usually read your posts when I am laying in bed in the morning and then forget to comment when I actually get on a computer where I can type at a normal rate.

    Yes, amen to solitude.

    I recently wrote a post on another site of mine about mindless busyness. I see that happening in so many people’s lives – almost a fear of being by themselves. I thrive on my solitude and find I am a happier person when I have a good dose of solitude.

    I believe solitude allows for reflection and self understanding, which as you mentioned, leads you to knowing yourself better as well.

    Love your posts, Ingrid. Keep ’em coming!

    Love,
    Jenny

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      June 8, 2014 at 5:34 pm (5 years ago)

      I’m so glad you enjoy my posts, Jenny! You are so right about so many people being afraid of being alone.

      Reply
  5. Angela Gosselin
    June 8, 2014 at 1:15 pm (5 years ago)

    Love..LOVE this Article!

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      June 8, 2014 at 2:10 pm (5 years ago)

      I’m so glad!

      Reply
  6. Alice
    June 8, 2014 at 12:12 pm (5 years ago)

    Since I live alone with just my 2 rescue kitties, solitude is no problem to achieve. When I want a more reinforcing type of solitude, which is frequently, I get out and walk or hike. Living near a popular bicycling trail and the Mount Rogers National Recreation Area, I have lots of choices. I find communing with nature to be exceptionally therapeutic.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      June 8, 2014 at 2:10 pm (5 years ago)

      I like the phrase “a more reinforcing type f solitude,” Alice!

      Reply
  7. Sometimes, Cats Herd You
    June 8, 2014 at 10:29 am (5 years ago)

    As an introvert, solitude is how I recharge, so I totally relate to this! Cats are quiet, contemplative creatures (well, mostly quiet), and they, too, seem to enjoy the down time without sensory overload. It’s a good example to follow!

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      June 8, 2014 at 2:09 pm (5 years ago)

      I, too, am an introvert, and without my daily dose of solitude, I’d go crazy!

      Reply
  8. Lexie
    June 8, 2014 at 3:31 am (5 years ago)

    I was taught by my Mom that solitude is growth and self discovery. As well as a time of great enjoyment. I cultivate solitude in my life. I demand quiet and solitude on the weekends so I can have quality time of rest, reflection and growth. I believe we must recharge ourselves by being in solitude to truly know ourselves and how we proceed in this crazy busy world. It is equally important to recognize as a cat parent that they need quiet and solitude with us as their caretakers and enjoy just being with us without having us focused on outside forces, noise or activities.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      June 8, 2014 at 2:09 pm (5 years ago)

      “It is equally important to recognize as a cat parent that they need quiet and solitude with us as their caretakers and enjoy just being with us without having us focused on outside forces, noise or activities” – beautifully said, Lexie!

      Reply
  9. Rudolph.A.Furtado
    June 8, 2014 at 2:47 am (5 years ago)

    Honestly, i am a loner happy in my solitude with my two pet traditional Persian cats and my human house care-taker companion at home in Mumbai.We all have numerous friends and acquaintances but ultimately it is solitude that helps us understand ourselves. As you mentioned there is a difference in being “LONELY” and living in “SOLITUDE”.A human can feel lonely in the company of friends as well as in a crowd for various reasons.”Solitude” is enjoying your own company and to various people it could be various hobbies or style of living. Isn’t the hermit living all alone with minimum bare necessities happy in solitude ?.Cats define solitude as they are happy just being by themselves as long as they get food and a shelter.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      June 8, 2014 at 2:08 pm (5 years ago)

      You are so right that cats define solitude, and in the best possible way.

      Reply

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