Patience and the Cat

Patience and the Cat

by Michael
(London UK)

So you wanted to work on the computer? Patience please - photo by Yuxuan.fishy.Wang (Flickr).

So you wanted to work on the computer? Patience please - photo by Yuxuan.fishy.Wang (Flickr).

I am prompted into writing this by Phil who commented on the article about how long it takes for a cat to get used to another cat. The overriding principle is our patience. Having considered this for a while I feel that it is very true in relation to a lot of what happens between us and our cat. And it is good for us. In fact it is one of the reasons, the main reason, why a cat companion is beneficial to our health. If we go at our cat's pace, at least sometimes even for a relatively short time, it will be better for the cat and us.

I also feel that humans tend in the modern world to do things at an unnaturally fast pace. We expect or given to expect instant results. We are under pressure to achieve and do things that are out of sync with nature. Cats are in tune with nature and do things at a more natural pace. If we slow our activities to the pace of our cat we become more in tune with nature and that is a good thing. Although many millions will disagree with me, I am sure!

There are numerous examples of how pacing ourselves to that of our cat is beneficial to us. The first is one already mentioned. Here are some other obvious ones:

1. Cat grooming - Going slowly is "de rigger" I am sure. There are at least two reasons. The first is to avoid pulling on fur, particularly the undercoat, the down fur. The second is to make the whole experience gentle and pleasurable for our cat. A major part of one cat grooming another is as an expression of friendship and companionship. When we groom our cat we are stepping into the shoes of another cat. We need to behave at a cat's pace. The modern human pace tends to be overly fast in the modern world - sometimes.

2. Training I am not talking about full on cat training but gentle encouragement to lead our cat to do things that we would like him or her to do. I recently had such an opportunity. My lady cat has taken to going through the cat flap. This sounds normal but she was overweight and couldn't mange to get through! She has lost weight because she is older. She goes through the cat flap but can't get back! She knocks on the cat flap instead as if she was knocking on the front door. Well, to avoid having to let her in at four in the morning I encouraged her to use the cat flap in the reverse direction - getting in. This took a bit of patience but well rewarded. I opened the cat flap when she was outside and held it open a good time. She poked her head through and sniffed and sniffed and thought and thought and jumped through it - job done with patience.

Another example of where patience might be needed in training is in the use of a cat scratching post. In depends on the cat but sometimes a bit of patience is required. This is a nice page on the common question of whether a cat will use a scratching post.

3. Play Play is important to our cat as it is a substitute for hunting. It is an activity that our cat needs to express if he or she is to be content. I don't do enough of it with my cats. Patience comes into play for us as we need to stick around and play for longer than we feel we want to.

4. Supervising our cat outside Some of us let our cats out. We need to supervise them sometimes. We need to be with them. This is also good for us but it can all seem very slow. We need to slow down. I am thinking of that excellent article about Monty in the garden written by Ruth called Monty's Paradise. The power of patience is written all over this sweet essay.

These are just a few examples of patience and the cat. Just sitting with our cat on our lap and deciding to stay sitting to please our cat even when we might like to get up is a form of patience that is encouraged by our cat and which is good for us.

Michael Avatar

From Patience and the Cat to Cat Health Problems

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Patience and the Cat

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Nov 12, 2010 Absolutely right!
by: Phil (London)

Thanks for the reference, Michael! I think another example of where patience is essential is when you have a nervous and skittish cat that is wary of humans.

I have had my two lovely Maus for over two years now, and whilst Sinbad has always been affectionate and appreciative of being stroked and picked up (albeit not for very long), Napoleon has always been much more stand-offish. In fact, the only time that he would allow me to stroke him was when he was sleeping, or lying down and very relaxed - but not always! I have never tried to grab him or pick him up since he clearly didn't like it. Fast forward to a few months ago, and little by little he has allowed me closer to him. He has certain zones where he will allow me to stroke him - on top of the wall in my garden, especially, and when we go for walks outside the front of my flat, he is super affectionate, rubbing up against my legs, pushing his nose up against my hand when I rub his head, and even lets me pick him up (sometimes!).

It has all taken time, and by allowing him to take thing at his own pace I believe that I have built up his trust in me and I hope and believe that this will continue to grow. I don't think that he will ever be a lapcat, but he's only two and a half, so these are early days - and when contented he has started to purr a very loud and deep purr, very surprising for such a tiny cat (he's only 3Kg/6½lbs)!

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