Conscious Cat Sunday

Conscious Cat Sunday: purging can make you purr

 cat-on-desk

No, not that kind of purging! What I’m talking about is purging your space of things that no longer serve you. While the picture above shows my desk as cluttered as it ever gets (and no, I do not consider Ruby part of the clutter!), I’m not as good with other spaces in my home, especially the inside of closets. And just because you can close the door on it doesn’t mean it’s not clutter.

I recently went through a couple of weeks of clearing out clutter – everything from books that I know I won’t ever read again to trinkets that no longer have sentimental value and are just gathering dust. In the process, I realized how good it felt to purge. Why, if I was a cat, I just might have been purring.

I was talking to a friend about this, and she pointed out to me that the word “purging” and the word “purr” share the same root. Continue Reading

Conscious Cat Sunday: the value of sleep

cat0sleeping-tortoiseshell-cute

We are a sleep deprived society. According to the National Sleep Foundation, we’ve managed to squeeze almost a month of additional work and commuting time into each year. Meanwhile, we’ve sacrificed 2 hours of sleep every night in order to keep up with the increased demands of our fast paced lives. On average, adults are  now sleeping only 7 hours per night as opposed to the 8 hours sleep specialists recommend.

I’m all about learning from our cats, and they are no slouches when it comes to sleeping. The average cat sleeps between 12 and 16 hours a day. And since you don’t see cats stressing out over their to do lists, they must know something we don’t.

While I’m not suggesting that you should strive to sleep 12 to 16 hours a day, I’m betting that many of you don’t even get the recommended 8 hours most nights. Here are some tips that can help you sleep better:Continue Reading

Conscious Cat Sunday: healthy cats, healthy human

cats-on-cat-tree

My cats’ health and happiness is more important to me than just about anything else in my life. I spend a lot of time researching cat health topics, not just for Allegra and Ruby, but also to be able to bring you the latest information on how to keep your feline family members happy and healthy.

As a result of my strong interest in cat health, I also do a lot of research into human health and nutrition. The two go hand in hand for me. I’ve always eaten a reasonably healthy diet. I believe in moderation. While I eat mostly vegetarian, I do eat some fish and seafood, and I’ll even ocassionally indulge myself with some red meat.

My biggest challenge is my wicked sweet tooth. I grew up in Germany, a country with the lovely tradition of the daily afternoon “Kaffee and Kuchen” (coffee and cake) break. It’s a time when Germans take a mid-afternoon break to indulge in a little sweet treat and some conversation with friends or co-workers. When I worked at IBM Germany in the early 80’s, Kaffee and Kuchen break in the company cafeteria was a tradition that was never messed with, no matter how tight a project’s deadlines might have been.Continue Reading

Conscious Cat Sunday: New Year’s resolutions

New Year's Resolutions

Last week, I wrote about New Year’s resolutions to keep your cats happy and healthy. Today, let’s talk about New Year’s resolutions in general. Most people make them. There’s just something irresistible about a new year with its blank slate. The idea of a fresh start has great appeal. Then why is it that year after year, most New Year’s resolutions get broken by the end of January?

I think it’s because there’s an inherent flaw in the term “resolution.” According to Merriam Webster, the definition of resolution is “the act of determining.” There’s nothing there that says we’re actually going to do something. This is why I prefer to set New Year’s intentions. The definition of intention is “a determination to act in a certain way.” The difference is subtle, but one (intention) implies that we are actually determined to do something differently, whereas the other (resolution) simply states that we’ve decided to change something.Continue Reading

Conscious Cat Sunday: miracles and second chances

Cats come to us in many different ways. Sometimes, we go looking for them. Other times, they find us when we may not even have realized that we were lost. And sometimes, a cat comes to us through what can only be called a miracle.

Three years ago today, such a miracle took place for a stray cat and a friend of mine. I shared the story here on The Conscious Cat two years ago, and I’d like to share it again today. It’s a story of how some encounters are just meant to be. It’s a story of the perseverance of the feline spirit. And it’s a story of the miracles that can happen when we open our hearts.

But why don’t I let my friend tell the story.Continue Reading

Conscious Cat Sunday: holiday favorites

cat-christmas-tree-cute

Last week, we talked about holiday traditions. This week, I wanted to talk about some holiday favorites of mine, and hear about yours. I also needed a good excuse to share this photo of Ruby in front of our now fully decorated Christmas tree. Much to my surprise, neither Ruby nor Allegra have shown much interest in the tree, so I got daring and hung the rest of the ornaments. So far so good!

Here are some of my holiday favorites:

Favorite song: Do They Know It’s Christmas by Band Aid (I’m really dating myself with this one!)

Favorite movie: Bill Murray’s Scrooged

Favorite cd: Christmas Eve and Other Stories by Trans-Siberian OrchestraContinue Reading

Conscious Cat Sunday: holiday traditions

cat-christmas-tree-cute

It’s hard to believe Christmas is only three weeks away. Whether you celebrate Christmas, Kwanzaa or Hannukah, are you caught up in pre-holiday stress, or are you taking the time to savor the season? In these stress-filled times, making time for holiday traditions is more important than ever.

Holiday traditions are a way to mark the passage of the season. They give us the comfort of knowing that in this world of constant change, some things don’t have to change.

Most of my holiday traditions date back to my childhood, and I’m sure I’m not alone in this. And of course, a lot of my holiday traditions revolve around my cats. Here are some of my favorites:Continue Reading

Conscious Cat Sunday: feeling overwhelmed?

Feeling Overwhelmed

There is more to life than increasing its speed. – Gandhi

Do you feel that there just aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done? You’re definitely not alone. And now that we’re on the verge of heading into the holiday season, many people go from simply being busy to feeling overwhelmed.

Even though it may not seem that way, you have more control over your to do list than you think. In order to stop feeling overwhelmed, you need to be willing to make a conscious choice to cut back, do less, and simplify. The following tips can help you do that:Continue Reading

Conscious Cat Sunday: Lesson from a Maple Tree (and My Cats)

Ruby cat maple tree fall

You will find something more in woods than in books.
Trees and stones will teach you that which you can never learn from masters. – St. Bernard

I previously introduced you to the maple tree outside my bedroom and explained its significance in my life in My Cats and The Maple Tree.  Each fall, it’s one of the last trees to turn, and when it does, it turns the most incredibly bright, vibrant red. When the light is just right, my entire bedroom is infused with a red glow from the tree. The glory only lasts for a few days, and each year, I look forward to it.Continue Reading

Conscious Cat Sunday: just breathe

Just Breathe

Show me a good mouser, and I’ll show you a cat with bad breath. – Garfield

We take about 20,000 breaths a day. It’s such a natural thing that most of the time, we don’t give much thought to it – we just do it. And yet, many of us don’t know how to breathe properly.

Incorrect breathing can cause tension, exhaustion, and vocal strain. Most people are shallow breathers, using only the top portion of their lungs, thus causing the body to miss out on the full benefits of a deep breath. Deep breathing raises levels of blood oxygen and promotes health in ways ranging from stimulating the digestive process to improving fitness and mental performance.

Cats know naturally how to breathe correctly. Continue Reading

Conscious Cat Sunday: start your day off right

Start Your Day Off Right

Many of us are woken by our cats each day, begging to be fed. I happen to think that’s a great way to start the day, but I’m an early bird. While you may not be able to stop a hungry cat from waking you, you can control other aspects of how you start off your day – after you feed the cats, of course!

What you do first thing in the morning can have a profound influence on the rest of your day. Start things off right by consciously choosing positive rituals. And you don’t have to take a lot of time to do it.

Here are some suggestions for starting the day off right:Continue Reading