Guest post by Siena Lee-Tajiri
Clients often ask me, “why is self love so hard?” and my response is always something like, “I know, right?!” Loving ourselves is a big part of our spiritual journey and as a journey, we’ll never get there and be done with it. But we can absolutely get better at it in leaps and bounds!…I promise you. For right now, just take in the fact that you already know how to love. Really take it in, say it out loud, let all the cells in your body hear it: “I already know how to love.”
And this, my fellow feline-loving friends, is more than half the battle.
Being that you are a cat guardian and an avid reader of The Conscious Cat, I know this is absolutely true, despite the fact that you might not have had the ideal childhood or, like me, you might have suffered from trauma in your early formative years. So many of us that have not had secure role models of love growing up crave connection with humans, but find ourselves unable to find it, or we keep most at arms length with a guard up, then joke (sort of) that we love animals more than people.
And yet even without secure role models, we’re all still here and we’re okay. We’ve managed to learn how to love and even cultivate a love as close to unconditional as maybe we’ll ever get! How? Our cats. Cats are incredibly powerful and healing! We all remember and have stories about our first beloved cat, and I imagine all of our stories are the same: meet cat, guard down, heart open (although we might’ve tried to keep it shut), full love flooding forth!
Every part of my being remembers the day my heart burst open for the love of cats. This was a time before TNR, before we knew dry food and fish weren’t ideal staples for our cats. This was when I was only 4.
Standing on the stool in my great-grandmother’s house, I’d watch my aunt pour Purina Cat Chow from a big bag into a giant stainless steel bowl. Next came one can of Figaro Cat Tuna and just a quick sprinkling of warm water. As my aunt carefully mixed the little x’s to coat each one with tuna, she said, “And don’t forget the most important ingredient…love! Don’t forget the love!” …as she continued mixing with her bare hands.
My job was to get the trays ready. My aunt put equal portions of the cat food mix on each one. I could only hold two trays, trying to keep them steady and being sure not to trip as I made my way to the back door. I crouched and placed my two trays down, my aunt placed her four, and then went back into the house to get more.
And then came my favorite part…I hunkered down, smiling ear to ear, in my yellow and white checkered summer dress. Amidst a sea of cats eating their dinner, I stayed quiet, trying to keep my joy inside to not scare them.
This was love.
That was the day my heart cracked open. By age 4 I had already learned to protect my heart but as the years went on, I’d meet cats that would crack my heart wide open again and again: harden heart, meet cat, heart open…repeat. And I’m so grateful for this! In order to love, you need to keep your heart open, and our cats do this for us every single day. They help us keep an open heart so that we can continue to love in all ways, whether it’s loving ourselves or loving each other.
Next month I’ll be sharing practical tools to turn this cat love towards ourselves to help us cultivate greater self-love and self-care. But for now, continue taking this in: you already know how to love. Any time you doubt this, take a look at how you love your cat. By really integrating this knowing, you’ll start awakening parts of you and creating more space, a container, for self-love.
Please know that I appreciate you and I’m already looking forward to our next visit!
With Love and Above,
Siena Lee-Tajiri is the founder of the Love and Above Cat Club. Please visit, sign up for their mailing list, and browse their shop.
FTC Disclosure: The Conscious Cat is an affiliate partner of the Love and Above Cat Club. This means that if you decide to purchase through any of our links, we get a small commission. We only spread the word about products and services we’ve either used or would use ourselves.
Image at top: Unsplash.com stock photo