Commentary: Slices of life by Jill Pertler – Taking life lessons from my cat

This morning, I woke up late. I’d planned on an earlier day, but sleep had other plans. As I got up and got ready for the rest of my day, my cat lounged comfortably under the covers. She made a snoozy sound and curled into herself for some more and much-needed even-later morning sleep. It was at that moment I realized something important.

I want to be more like my cat.

I want to sleep in late, when I feel like it and take a nap later because that feels good, too.

But that’s only the beginning.
I want to bask in the sunshine. My kitty can find a spot of sunshine in any room at any time any day. When she does, she puts herself smack dab in the middle of it and sets out to do what she does best: relax and soak it all in.
I want to live in the moment. My kitty gets a special treat every day at 4 pm, but she doesn’t worry about this at 11 am or even 3 pm at 11, she is most likely sleeping and at 3, most likely napping. She isn’t worried about the treats in her future. She just lives (or sleeps as the case may be) in the moment. When it is treat time, she enters the kitchen with tail held high and happy – a sign of confidence – because that is all that living in the moment requires.
I want to eat the good treats first — at least sometimes. These days my diet focuses on two things: health and hydration. My kitty hardly ever ponders health. I do that for her. She has heathy cat food and then slightly less healthy treats. She always eats the treats first because they taste better. I get that. I also get health. It’s a balance. Between the two of us, we are working on it.
I want to strut my stuff. My kitty walks with her tail held high, clearly proud of her new collar, and especially its bell. It announces her presence in a room and she seems to revel in this power.
I want to purr from deep within, without even knowing why or how this occurs. I want others to know I’m happy because my joy resonates so loudly that it can’t be ignored.
I want to land on my feet. Cats have an uncanny ability to jump from high places and consistently and conveniently land on all fours. I want to conquer any adversity in my path and come out on the other end still standing.
I want to keep it neat, complete and inside the litter box.
Cats know and recognize some of the basic tenets of life. They don’t get all messy with their needs. We all have messiness in our lives. Cats understand this and keep it contained — in a box. I’d love to take all of the messy aspects of my life and box them up.
On the flip side, my cat thinks outside the litter box. She loves to look out the windows to the outside world. Her inside world is only enhanced by the world outside — even if it is safer for her to view it from behind a pane of glass.

This doesn’t deter her. Not in the least. She still quivers at the sight of a squirrel or bird. She hunts them without hunting, but at the same time with the wildness of a lioness. It’s a sight to see. Her imagination and resourcefulness are to be admired.
When given the chance, she embraces the chance to be outdoors, beyond the glass, in the truest sense. She’s been known to track mice, snakes, birds, squirrels and any critters worth crittering with near reckless abandon. I appreciate her passion and love of adventure.
I want to think outside the box and pursue adventure whenever the door is open — or whenever given the chance.
I want to be honest and unapologetic in all that I do. My cat doesn’t fake it. If she loves you, she lets you know — wholeheartedly. If she harbors distain for you, well, ditto. She is either all-in or all-out and there is no guessing about where she stands. She isn’t a people-pleaser, yet she pleases me all the time. She walks the line without ever walking the line, and I love her for her honesty.
That, and her gorgeous collar.

Jill Pertler is an award-winning columnist, published playwright and author.