10 Things My Cats Taught Me

In the past on Mother’s Day I’ve written about my own Mom, Mom archtypes, and even featured feline Mothers.

This this year I’d like to share many of the ways my three fur kids have impacted my life – resulting in actual change on my part, or just providing me with food for thought and something to aspire to. I’d love to hear about what you’ve learned from your fur kids, so be sure to share in the comments section!

awkward family photo

Awkward family photo (photo credit Jim Tews)


1. Think about what you consume. It’s because of my cats that I’m a Pescatarian (no it’s not a religion. It means I eat fish – preferably line caught and not farmed) but not meat. I can specifically attribute this to Petie and his similarity to a rabbit (which are often consumed in the finest of restaurants). It was this likeness that made me question the animals we keep as pets and those we eat, and the treatment of those we eat (which is beyond cruel for the most part). To read more about how this change took place in my life check out my post, “Feline Mignon.”

2. The importance of resilience and trust. It’s nearly impossible to escape the stories and videos of neglected cats (and dogs) who were dumped because they were too old, specially abled – or sometimes for no reason at all. And yet incredulously these beautiful creatures continue to trust humans and are often able to make the transition from the depths of grief to the heights of joy.

3. Life’s too short to settle.  Don’t like the cat bed? Don’t use it. Don’t like the food? Don’t eat it. Eventually you will get what you want. Most of the time.

4. Love comes in many forms. We need to learn to accept the love we have in our lives in its varied forms even if it’s not in the way we’d like to or expect to receive it. Once again, it’s Petie, my most formidable (in size) yet timid feline who has taught me this lesson, along with the importance of being patient (something I struggle with continually). You can read more about my experience with him in my post titled, “A Fur Son’s Gift.”

5. Enjoy the little things. Anyone who’s watched their cat play endlessly with the ring from a milk jug or sit happily in a plain cardboard box knows what I’m talking about. This is a lesson that makes sense to me intellectually but is the hardest for me to hold onto. I’ve tried having a gratitude journal in the past (do any of you keep one?), but it always seems to fall to the wayside. But it is so true that it’s the little moments that make up the majority of our lives, and we need to learn to notice and make the most of them.

6. Appreciating all creatures. As I mentioned, it’s because of my cats that I no longer eat meat (yes, ironic in a way given they are obligate carnivores). But having never had pets growing up, my cats along with those I fostered taught me how different they each are. How they each have a unique little soul, distinct personalities with habits, quirks, likes and dislikes their very own. This inspired me to write a post titled “Cats, The Gateway Animal.

7. Don’t be clingy. Cats don’t like it. Neither do most humans.

8. Where there’s a will there’s a way. When I come home to see Kip atop my tallest bookcase with nothing around it that I am able to identify as a launching pad, or see that Petie has managed to open the refrigerator (where I keep the dry food and why I now have toddler locks all over my kitchen!), I’m reminded of power of determination.

9. Be direct in asking for what you want. This can be demonstrated in cats particularly when it comes to being fed, being let into a room with a closed door, or in some cases being picked up. It’s ironic that the word “pussyfooting” has “pussy” in it given it’s not what felines are known for.

10. Do first – ask for forgiveness later. Or if you’re a cat, don’t bother with the forgiveness part. This is something that, as a pleaser, I’m not very good at. But has a cat ever asked if they can sit on your laptop or make biscuits on your bare skin at 3am? Nope! Just do what they please and hope to charm you into forgiving or forgetting.

What have your cats taught you? Be sure to share with us in the comments section!

Happy Mother’s Day to all Fur Moms!





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23 Responses to 10 Things My Cats Taught Me

  1. Deb Barnes - Zee and Zoey says:

    Great thoughts – I embrace all of them as well and you articulated them with such simple beauty. I’m actually a vegetarian – I used to eat meat, but after living with my feline gang and fully grasping the range of feelings animals have, I just couldn’t do it anymore. But as a responsible cat mom, I do my very best to insure my cats eat the highest of protein ingredients, as it is necessary to their health and well-being.

    • I HAVE CAT says:

      Deb, great point – I should have mentioned their range of feelings….sentient beings….and thank you for the lovely compliment on the piece. Happy Mother’s Day to you!

  2. Ingrid King says:

    Happy Mother’s Day, Tamar! The family picture is wonderful!

  3. pilch92 . says:

    Excellent post! Happy Mother’s Day!

  4. jmuhj says:

    Beautiful pic, Tamar! And wonderful articles — I read them all with appreciation. Cats have SO MUCH to teach us and to give us — aren’t we privileged to be aware of that fact, and to appreciate it?!

  5. Janet/TheCatOnMyHead says:

    They have taught me to love unconditionally. Growing up in a home where you had to earn and be worthy of being loved, this was a big thing for me.

  6. dmricciardi says:

    Tamar, hope you had a blessed, pawsome Mother’s Day!! I am a poker dealer in a casino, so I see quite a range of personalities — especially working all evenings. There is absolutely nothing better than getting home to where I am truly loved and appreciated (by my 12 adopted/rescued cats and son Tyler). There are so many things the anipals teach us — unconditional love — regardless of species, genuine trust, feeling needed, being non-judgmental — to name a few. I have had kitties in my life for 50+ years, and could not imagine ANYTHING better than the love of my son and my *kids*. . . ♥♥♥

  7. Mom Paula says she’s trying to learn how to relax from us.

    Happy Mother’s Day from Truffle, Brulee, and Mom Paula

  8. annameow says:

    Very sweet and insightful! I too have no human kids but have had many fur babies who have made my life richer and filled with love and laughter. Thank you for this beautiful post and happy Cat Mom day to you!

  9. Aimee Raucher says:

    I just finished writing a blog post about becoming a cat-mom to my youngest fur-baby, and I think it’s so great that we share common qualities in being cat parents! The most important lesson I’ve learned from my cats is this: they certainly can be loving, but it has to be on their own terms. For years, growing up, I would always try and force my cats to snuggle with me, which just made them resent me.
    I hope you had a fantastic Mother’s Day with your fur babes <3

    • I HAVE CAT says:

      You will have to remind me how to find your blog! I am so bad about NOT being patient and pushing myself on my fur babies – you’d think I’d know by now! slow learner!

  10. jmuhj says:

    Happy Mother’s Day, Tamar!
    Because *10*, I can, will, and do snorgle my cats up one side and down the other at any given opportunity. I feel it’s the price they pay for being fed the best haute cuisine feline 3 times a day, being given the best spots on the beds and anywhere else they choose, and being loved and cared for by someone who would make the ultimate sacrifice for them if required. 😉

  11. Kristen Gregerson says:

    My foster kitties have shown me that there is a match for everyone. I had one girl who I nicknamed Deathclaw, because when I tried to pick her up, she became a “whirling ball of deathclaw”. After a couple of weeks, she was calm enough to go to our adoption fair, but still no fan of being held. As I showed her to a young couple, the husband took her from me, and she just melted into him. He held her for a good ten minutes while we talked, and she just snuggled against him. She had found her human, and she was content. (And yes, they did take her home with them.) I know we humans think that we choose our pets, but it’s the other way around. They choose us.