This is just one of those small moments in the day-to-day life of a woman and her cat. However, for me, it is a little bit more than that. It is the middle of the winter and the woman in question has just left her home and is walking down some steps. They are icy but she doesn’t realise it. She is holding her cat and she slips.
It is the kind of slip that can really harm you badly. It’s the kind of slip that could break bones very easily because these are hard steps. And she’s holding her cat which appears to be a Siamese cat by the way.
When we fall like this, we normally release our hands to allow them to help break the fall. We like to place our hands on the ground as we fall to protect ourselves. But she resolutely continues to hang onto her cat to protect him. It appears, to me, to have been a conscious decision to break her instinctive response to free up her arms. She protected her cat rather than protected herself.
She falls heavily on her bottom. She appears to be all right. But it could have been so much worse. It is a nasty fall which she overcame. It is a rather mundane little event in the life of a woman and her cat but I see something better underneath the ordinariness of this accident. An attitude which is very nicely attuned to being an excellent cat caregiver. It is an attitude which put the welfare of her cat above hers. An act of true altruism and unconditional giving.
In past articles I have questioned whether domestic cats can take an altruistic attitude in their behaviour (see links below). Altruism as I’m sure you know means giving unconditionally. A lot of people believe that their cat gives them love unconditionally in contrast to people who often expect something in return. And of course, good cat caregivers always behave altruistically towards that cat companion. They do get something in return; a lot actually but it is incidental to the relationship.
Definition of altruism: selfless concern for the well-being of others.
Altruism is perhaps best expressed by mothers in their relationship with their babies and offspring. The mother gives unconditionally to protect her vulnerable child as she must. It’s instinctive. The relationship between a woman and her cat companion is somewhat similar and sometimes her behaviour reflects it. But this woman overcame a strong instinct to free up her hands which I find impressive. To me, she deliberately hangs on to her cat to protect him.
Here are some pages which I have tagged with altruism:
Please search using the search box at the top of the site. You are bound to find what you are looking for.