When did I decide that my cat understands the secret truth of existence?
I’m not sure. Dax, a three-and-a-half year old shelter cat, has lived with us for almost two years now.
Well, I say he lives with us. Really he has a quite nice condo which he allows us to share, out of the goodness of his heart, and all we have to do is pay the mortgage and keep him in cat food.
Once he was certain he owned the place – despite a few doors he can’t open yet, thanks to stupid round doorknobs – he has settled into a routine.
It’s pretty straightforward. First, he runs around like a maniac, batting at toys. Random pouncing on scraps of paper, claw sharpening, and purring may also be included.
After an hour or so of activity, it’s time for a lie down.
There’s a couple good spots for this, mostly near windows where he can keep an eye on the dogs being walked through the neighbourhood. You never know with dogs. They might figure out how to come inside, and then Dax will have to do… something. Attack, make friends, pretend they don’t exist? No matter, Dax will be ready.
If the humans are around in the morning, they might need some help. Being helpful is good, Dax would tell you. He helps with cooking (smell anything the humans are making) or putting things away (investigates the inside of the cabinets) or washing dishes (tests the rinse water with a paw).
After all that exercise and helpfulness, a nap is needed. Sunbeams, laps, or a folded blanket may be good spots to take one of these.
Then his humans come home from work, and he starts the whole process over again.
I’ve taken a few lessons from my cat that I think are applicable to everyone.
• Stretch before you exercise. No cat has ever forgotten to stretch.
• Be curious. If he could talk, his most common phrase would be “Whatcha doing?”
• Get adequate sleep. Dax sticks to this one religiously.
• Value your playtime. When it’s time to run, run as fast as you can. When it’s time to jump, jump as high as you can.
• Let the people who are important to you know it. I mean, you don’t have to do that by chewing on them while purring, but it works for Dax.
That’s it. Learn about the world, play in it, love who you love, and then rest. And remember to stretch first.