Animals as Teachers

Yochabel’s Wisdom: Securing the Bond

woman-cat-bond

Guest post by Casey Hersch

This is the second in a series of posts by Casey Hersch. Casey discusses the many lessons she learned about caring for Yochabel during her illness, including her quest to stop Yochabel’s cancer from growing/spreading, barriers present with senior cats, variations in diet including supplements and herbs, and how to focus on the individual cat’s needs. Yochabel was not only Casey’s feline companion. She left Casey with ways to cope with her own illness, and with a greater sense of acceptance and gratitude.Continue Reading

Review: Choosing to Be

choosing-to-be-kat-tansey

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The benefits of meditation are endless: from helping us handle stress better to getting in touch with our true spiritual nature, meditation has been proven to make our lives better. And if you need more inspiration to get started, look to your cats! Cats are natural meditators. What else could they possibly be doing when they’re sitting with their paws curled under, their gazes soft, and not a care in the world? In Choosing to Be: Lessons in Living from a Feline Zen Master, Kat Tansey shares a deeply personal account of how a wise Maine Coon cat and his kitten sidekick helped her heal from deep depression.Continue Reading

Now Available for Pre-Order: Purrs of Wisdom: Enlightenment, Feline Style

purrs-of-wisdom

I’m delighted to announce that Purrs of Wisdom: Enlightenment, Feline Style is now available for pre-order. This second volume in the popular Purrs of Wisdom series will be published by Passionfruit Press on June 5.

In Purrs of Wisdom: Enlightenment, Feline Style, I explore our relationships with cats by offering insights into how cats can inspire, soothe and even help heal us. Based on the Conscious Cat Sunday column on this site, Purrs of Wisdom celebrates all our relationships, feline, human or otherwise. This beautifully designed book will also feature lots of gorgeous cat photos.Continue Reading

Therapy Cats: Sharing the Gift of Purring

Oreo Therapy Cat

Research has shown that cats have healing powers. Not only does petting a cat lower your blood pressure and reduce your risk of heart attack, the cat’s purr can actually heal muscles, tendons and bones. Those of us who share our lives with cats don’t need research studies to prove that a purring cat in our lap or by our side can make all the world’s problems seem a little bit less daunting.

Therapy cats share these healing powers with a wider audience than just their human family members. They bring comfort and joy to nursing home residents and others who are unable to keep their own pets. They provide a much needed break in the daily routine for facility residents and staff alike, along with the special kind of love that can only come from a cat.Continue Reading

Review: Crazy Critter Lady by Kelly Meister

Crazy_Critter_Lady

I love stories by writers whose life has been saved by the love of an animal, or two or three. In Crazy Critter Lady, Kelly Meister shares her stories of the animals who share her life: cats, horses, ducks, even birds, chipmunks and helpless mice.

From the publisher:

In a world where animals are often seen as impediments to progress or expendable pests, Crazy Critter Lady is the story of one woman’s determination to do the right thing for the animals around her. Kelly Meister goes out on a limb – and sometimes a half-frozen pond – to help injured birds, mice and chipmunks, homeless “Aflac” ducks, cranky horses, lost frogs and a host of others. When she’s not chasing squirrels out of the road, the author waits on her five demanding cats hand and foot. Crazy Critter Lady, a memoir, is the story of a love affair with animals. Continue Reading

Review: The Dalai Lama’s Cat by David Michie

The_Dalai_Lama's_Cat

If I had to summarize The Dalai Lama’s Cat in just a few words, they would be “Buddhism 101, brought to you by an adorable cat.” But these few words wouldn’t do this charming book justice. While this warm-hearted story of a small kitten rescued from the slums of New Delhi through fortuitous circumstances may be a little contrived, it’s also utterly delightful.

When the Dalai Lama, who is on his way home in a limo, having just returned from a trip to America, sees a kitten being thrown into the gutter, he dispatches a staff member to rescue the kitten. If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like living with the Dalai Lama, now you’ll be able to find out. Through the cat’s eyes, and narrated in her voice, the reader gets a close up view of the Dalai Lama’s inner sanctum and household. Much loved and spoiled by the Dalai Lama and his entire staff, Mousie-Tung, also known as HHC (His Holiness’ Cat), and dubbed “Little Snow Lion” by the Dalai Lama himself, encounters Hollywood stars, Buddhist masters, famous self-help authors and many others who come to visit His Holiness. The little cat soaks up the Dalai Lama’s teachings simply by being in close proximity to his light.Continue Reading

Animals can teach us the value of vulnerability

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Today’s post resonated deeply with me when I first read it on the New England Pet Hospice Blog. It reflects much of what I experienced with Buckley toward the end of her life. She, like no other cat  in my life (or human, for that matter), taught me about opening my heart. As a result, my life expanded in ways I never could have imagined. I am honored to share this very special guest post with you today.

Guest post by Heather Merrill

Sharing our lives with animals is a huge lesson in vulnerability. We know from the outset that we will almost certainly outlive them. That they will become sick, old, challenged, and that it will be us who must care for them and advocate for their welfare making excruciatingly difficult choices along the way.

And yet they bring us the most pure form of joy, contentment, and happiness. They inspire us and our creativity in countless ways.Continue Reading

Book review and giveaway: The Chronicles of Zee & Zoey by Deborah Barnes

The Chronicles of Zee & Zoey

The Chronicles of Zee & Zoey: A Journey of the Extraordinarily Ordinary is a love story. It’s the unlikely love story of Zee, a lovable Maine Coon cat, and Zoey, a high-spirited Bengal. It’s also a story of love’s consequences and human fallibility, when the author, a strong proponent of spaying and neutering pets, gets sidetracked by a busy holiday season and misses the window of opportunity to get Zoey spayed in time. The subsequent birth of Zee and Zoey’s kittens is a truly extraodinary journey for the human and feline members of the author’s household.

Most people who adopt kittens aren’t able to bring them home until they’re at least 10 or 12 weeks old, because ideally, kittens shouldn’t be separated from their mothers any sooner than that. In The Chronicles of Zee & Zoey, the reader gets a rare glimpse into what a kitten’s life is like during the first eight weeks of its life. And what an adventure it is!Continue Reading

I rescued a human today

Buckley's Story: Lessons from a Feline Master Teacher cat on sofa

I’ve always believed that animals come into our lives for a reason. They teach us about unconditional love. They help up open our hearts. And sometimes, they even save our lives.

The beautiful poem below makes the rounds on the web periodically, and every time I read it, it moves me to tears. I recently came across this version, slightly altered and adapted for cats, on Romeo the Cat’s blog, and wanted to share it with you today. 

Her eyes met mine as she walked down the corridor
peering apprehensively into the cages.

I felt her need instantly and knew I had to help her.

I meowed, not too exuberantly, so she wouldn’t be afraid.

As she read the sign on my cage I hoped that she
wouldn’t feel sad about my past.

I only have the future to look forward to
and want to make a difference in someone’s life.

She got down on her knees and made little kissy sounds at me.

I shoved my shoulder and side of my head up
against the bars to comfort her.

Gentle fingertips caressed my neck;
she was desperate for companionship.

A tear fell down her cheek and
I raised my paw to assure her that all would be well.

Soon my cage door opened and
her smile was so bright that I instantly jumped into her arms.

I would promise to keep her safe.

I would promise to always be by her side.

I would promise to do everything I could
to see that radiant smile and sparkle in her eyes.

I was so fortunate that she came down my corridor.

So many more are out there who haven’t walked the corridors.

So many more to be saved. At least I could save one.

I rescued a human today.

Did your cat rescue you? Please share your stories!

Photo of Buckley, taken after she rescued me in 2006.

This poem was originally written by Janine Allen CPDT, Rescue Me Dog’s professional dog trainer. Janine’s passion is working with people and their dogs. She provides demonstrations for those who have adopted shelter dogs, lends email support to adopted dog owners that need information beyond our Training Support Pages, and aids shelter staff and volunteers in understanding dog behavior to increase their adoptability. Copyright 2011 Rescue Me Dog; http://www.rescuemedog.org/.

Wise beyond their whiskers

Guest post by Angie Bailey

Feeling stressed? Lacking confidence? Aren’t getting enough rest? Put down that latest self-help book and behold the stealthy swami that is the cat. These sleek sages know how to expertly embrace a peaceful, present, and playful existence. When I observe my three fuzzy felines and the manner in which they “are,” I cannot help but pick up a few tips.

  • Ask for what you want. Load your life (or nine) with all of your desires and meow for more! The world is your toy basket – fill it full of your very own equivalent of catnip mice and feathers-on-a-stick.
  • Watching birds is an entertaining and relaxing way to spend a slice of time. Talking to the birds creates an even kickier encounter!
  • Strech out in a spot of sunlight. Cats are the ultimate yoga masters, mastering such poses as Downward Licking Leg, Restful Reclining Reach, and Bending Bum-Bathe. I recommend the first two.
  • Bask in your own personal style – cats don’t worry if a tuft of fur is out of place or if an ear is turned inside out for several hours. Flaunt your fantastic flair!
  • Raucous play can be excellent exercise. Go ahead, burn a few calories by enthusiastically batting an aluminum foil ball around on the kitchen floor…you know you want to!
  • Be sure to eat lots of greens and protein, but indulge in a tempting treat now and again.
  • Create time for naps – curling up with someone else for a serene snooze is even better.
  • If someone flicks his tail in your face, don’t take it personally – find that spot of sun and stretch again. And then nap.
  • Detachment is key to happiness. If your food bowl is moved, adjust and find something positive about the new location.
  • Always trust your intuition. If a situation causes you to pause, for purr’s sake, jump in with all paws!
  • Practice presence. Offer the gift of your full attention to the friend who’s extended her paw in play and when you’ve moved on to patio-door-bird watching, enjoy every morsel of those moments. Look – a sparrow!
  • Unconditional love is what it’s all about. Cats love us when we feel great and adore us just as equally when we wear our cranky pants.

Cats are quite wise beyond their whiskers. Gratefully welcome the profundity of their purrs and their flair for frisky frolicking. Share a sunny spot with a cat for a few minutes and see if you don’t feel a little more centered. Looking to learn the secret to leading a happy and fulfilling life? The cat’s out of the bag – look no further than your four-legged feline.

Copyright © 2009 Angie Bailey. All Rights Reserved.

Angie Bailey writes humorous essays and musings about cats, family, and glimpses into the quirky, delicious, and oftentimes thought-provoking experiences of life for her blog Catladyland.