For a woman, a life lesson from two cats

Some of us are open to the possibility of learning life lessons from observing and interacting with our cats. In this instance, a lady in America moved to a new home in the country. She was quite a mild-mannered person who, perhaps, lacked a bit of confidence. She felt that she had been too subservient to assertive male cohabitees throughout her life. By “cohabitee” I mean a live-in boyfriend or husband. This subservience of giving way may have niggled her a bit but it was not in her nature to be assertive.

Soon after moving in to her new home, which I can visualise as being quite large and very pleasant, a female cat wandered into her life. It was the usual gradual process of a stray cat coming up to the house and eventually being fed. Then your new cat friend comes into the home and…voilà you have a cat companion. She named her charming new companion, “Alpha”. This was her first cat at her new home. Over time she added plenty of other animals.

Times were good. Then a male cat turned up. He was one of those alpha-type cats that have the confidence to march into a strange home go straight to the kitchen where the feeding bowls are and start eating. If someone turns up they just defend their “right” to be there.

And so it happened that this newcomer, whom she named “Mac” routinely ate Alpha’s food. What annoyed this lady was that Alpha cowered away in a corner and let him do as he pleased within her newly established cat territory.

It grated on her psyche. Subconsciously, she saw herself in her much loved female cat companion. She became annoyed and shouted at Mac to go, scram, get out of the house. This was her visceral, gut reaction and it come from her own weakness.

Then fairly soon afterwards a neighbour turned up asking for help. Her cat was ill and she didn’t know what to do. The cat was Mac and he was gravely ill. The lady falsely connected her shouting at him to Mac’s illness and this brought back sore memories of the last moments of her mother’s life when she had had an argument with her mother and those were the last words she had spoken to her before her mother died.

Alpha and Mac were tweaking the sore spots in her brain and it hurt. She cried bitterly when Mac died despite her untiring efforts to save him.

After Mac’s burial, she sat at home mournfully. Throughout the forthcoming days she was comforted by Alphas close presence. Alpha looked at her and jumped on her lap and in doing so calmed her and gently eased away the unhappiness she felt.

The lady looked at Alpha and said, “Both you and Mac have taught me a deep spiritual lesson. I will never direct anger at any creature, human or otherwise again. It is destructive and it can injure. Also, you have taught me to let others always choose their own actions and responses.”

Over the following days, Alpha’s presence gradually healed her tormented mind. Alpha’s acceptance of her reminded her that she was judging herself too harshly. She forgave herself for shouting at Mac.

She also learned from these cats that she must always be true to herself and her feelings. If that meant being more assertive with her human companion then so be it.


Have you learnt something about life from your cat or cats? For my part, my cats remind me to live in the present, as cats do. Don’t look back too much or forward with anxiety. Just live in the moment and make it as good as you can and don’t be too dominant with women…. 😉

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For a woman, a life lesson from two cats — 23 Comments

  1. This is a story with a lesson in it and I think that lesson is called a moral. That lady learned that she shouldn’t have taken out her anger on Mac who was only doing what cats do because cats don’t bully other cats to be bad, it’s what we call ‘cats politics’
    Then she suffered from guilt. How well we all know that feeling!
    Yes cats teach us to live in the present, Jozef has a vets appointment next Tuesday to check on his allergy and already I’m feeling sick inside thinking about it and how traumatic it always is for him and for us. But all my worrying is wasted emotion, he’s happily going about his usual life, living for the day.
    I wish I could do that too.

  2. This kind of thing happens to me all the time. Having so many cats it could hardly be otherwise. It’s just a matter of devising a solution to each problem as it arises. It’s usually only necessary to feed the cats in places of their own selection. For example two of my intact males are not exactly friends but so long as Karan stays on the counter-top or some such high place, Kadir will peacefully lord it over his territory on the floor or on a chair. In this way mealtimes are perfectly peaceful. Kadir and his brother Haydar goes everywhere including outside where the other toms just completely ignore them. Of my outside toms only Khufu is a bit of a bully but he soon tires of that and the situation never gets out of control. There are often hilarious antics at mealtimes when 3 toms will squabble over one food bowl whilst ignoring 3 full ones not more than 50 cm away, but soon they get the hang of it and everyone gets enough to eat. Khufu, like that Apha male Mac dashes into the kitchen from outside and gobbles up whatever is available like a Hoover vacuum cleaner on high speed.

    • You are a damn good “cat manager”. That is the difference between you and this lady. Although she wouldn’t have learnt a life lesson if she had managed things better.

      I agree that all these cat relationship problems can be resolved with some common sense and good cat behavior knowledge.

  3. I feel sorry for this woman. It’s “a little too late” thing.
    But, we all have to learn.
    Anger is wasted on cats. They don’t get it. And, I would feel like a monster lower it on them.
    There is always some sort of solution to a frustrating situation that doesn’t involve a negative reaction.
    When I have to go out, and I have NOTHING to tie back my hair, I sigh and just go to one of Damon’s piles and get what I need. It’s senseless to react with anger. He is who he is, and I always know where to go for lost items.

  4. At one point I had 3 feeding stations around the house. It avoided the need for conflict. Over the months or years, the cats decided if they wanted to eat near each other or maintain their own feeding station. I fell in with the changes in their relationships.

    • Sounds like a neat arrangement. I remember reading a page on your website written in memory of your cats. Very nice page. You couldn’t tell us what your current situation is regarding your cat’s could you? I’d be interested. In fact I’d like to do a page on that. If you can find the time to write a slightly extended comment with and uploaded photo I’ll convert it to a post. We’d like to know more about you 😉

  5. When I get the opportunity I will take a photo of all my outside toms feeding peacefully together after the initial squabbles. Khufu is the most comical. He is the first one to dash to the bowl as I go round filling them, then to the 2nd bowl and so on until he gets to the last bowl without eating from any of them Then he looks mystified ” What? Are you not going to fill any more bowls? It seems the act of filling the bowls is more attractive to him than actually eating from them. His behaviour when he raids the kitchen is much more practical . Then he demolishes any left-over food in milliseconds.

    • I’d like to see a little video if that is possible. We could have fun analysing cat behavior. You have such great cats all living together in a foreign country (for Westerners). That has some interest to people like me! You could just email the video if it is not too large and I’ll make and publish it. Or save the material to a flash stick (USB flash drive – abut £5 each these days) and send it to me. No obligation of course. Just an idea.

  6. Observing the sudden change in my tomcat Matata’s behaviour has also made me realize that we humans can learn by observing animals, especially our pet.Tomcat “Matata” had this bad habit of “Yowling” loudly in the night when the whole of Mumbai was asleep, luckily the neighbours never ever complaining of hearing loud strange sounds. This habit continued for almost a month, disturbing our sleep and making me a sad and worried man. I was thinking of giving him away to a “Cat shelter” in Mumbai where they don’t kill cats but accept your cat on payment of a monthly maintenance.This was better than keeping him at home. One day we happened to give him his night meals late, after 2100 hrs rather than the usual 1800 hrs and i observed that he didn’t “YOWL” that night. A idea struck me and decided to give him his dinner at 2100 hrs or after, just before we ourselves went to bed. Overnight the habit of “NIGHT YOWLING” BY TOMCAT MATATA WAS SOLVED AND NOW HE IS THE BEST BEHAVED CAT AMONGST MY TWO CATS.Remember the cats are active at night, especially male cats.Food makes them lazy and they go to sleep after a large dinner.Many of the bad habits of pour pet cats can be corrected if we are observant of their habits.

    • That is a really neat story Rudolph. Interesting solution to what could have been a tricky and worrying problem. You are right, cats mainly hunt at dawn and dusk. The half-light. The also hunt at night. So feeding at the times when he would ideally be hunting probably satisfied him and as you say put him to sleep as he had in effect hunted for his dinner. Cats invariably snooze after eating. Well done. My elderly cat Binnie yowled at night when she was very old but that was due to a bit of dementia. She was confused and wanted reassurance. I gave it to her.

  7. Hi Michael I see that POC doesn’t permit the uploading of videos so I will have to post it to you by E-mail. The difficulty will be to take an interesting one showing cats inter-reacting or doing something interesting. In the meantime I can send you an older video of two of my rescues Balkar and Feliz playing together and obviously very happy. The outstanding thing is to see that Balkar a nearly fully-grown male does not harm this small kitten in any way, whereas it is common knowledge that mature males can kill unrelated kittens. Perhaps that applies only to newborns but Feliz arrived when she was barely 6 weeks old and Balkar accepted her as family right away.

    • Great. I agree that it is difficult to catch good moments. It can actually be almost impossible! But just day to day scenes are OK and you may get lucky in catching something that is a bit more interesting.

    • I am more open to learning from cats than i am from humans.

      The things I learn from humans is (a) to steer clear of them and (b) how to behave badly 😉 Just joking.

      • This is a great quote Michael – I am going to remember it.

        …there is no (c) becasuse if you followed (a) correctly you’d be gone in time to avoid anything further than (b) – lol 🙂

          • For me it is the same and the reason is that you can only know so many people and it be satisfying. Otherwise you spread yourself thin. In London when I was younger I had too many friends. Now I prefer quality time with one, maybe two occasionally, people. It goes further. It’s more meaningful – for me anyway.

  8. this story is so true. I remember when i first starting having major depression my Tammy really helped me live though those first days. She was a female Alpha cat and she interacted with me all the time to remind me to feed her and it helped so much and i learn’ t alot. I can only handle a few friends at much only becomes overwhelming, my cats are my best friends and family.

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