The Year of Aida

This past year was an exceptionally challenging year, around the world. Between unsettling economic situations, the GDPR frenzy, and displays of erratic political behavior, it is no wonder many have been searching out various sources of comfort.

Having the good fortune of sharing my life with a Moravian country cat for the past few years, I can’t help but notice how unruffled she is, most of the time, and how calm and poised she manages to remain amid the hysteria around the world.

In 2019, to improve my abilities to remain centered and focused, I decided to learn how to think and behave like my cat, Aida.

Knowing what she wants

Anyone who has ever spent time with a cat has experienced the relentlessness of our furry companions when they want either food or some kind of attention. Ignore them at your peril. Aida has mastered the art of sound pressure, starting with a soft meow when she wants to draw my attention away from the computer to a full vocal falsetto when I try to dismiss her. After a few minutes, unless I am willing to listen to her full vocal repertoire, I have no choice but give her what she wants.

Living in the present

Aida doesn’t know what worrying means. She enjoys sitting in the sun, fresh salmon from my sushi dish, or a nap on my lap. She immerses herself in what is happening in the now. When she is having fun, she keeps having fun until she is tired. Then she lies down and sleeps. If she is scared of the storm, she seeks safety under the bed. Aida doesn’t spend time worrying about the past or the future. She makes the best of the present and trusts that the rest will sorts itself out.

Being content

Purring is almost always a sign of contentment. Being around a content cat rubs off on us. Research has shown that petting a purring cat lowers blood pressure. It also raises feelings of wellbeing. Aida doesn’t get up in the morning wondering if she is happy or if I am going to make her happy. While she is alert to danger, she doesn’t anticipate disaster or even death with worry. Provided that she is fed and that I give her a large dose of my company, she is content and at peace with her world and herself.

Knowing what I want, living in the present, and being content, are just a few common-sense basics Aida has allowed me to reflect upon since she has come into my life. While I don’t pretend that everything about life can be learned by watching our cats, I am convinced that the next few months will bring many opportunities to experience and practice my cat’s teachings.

May this New Year bring you many happy and meaningful experiences.

Karin Genton-L’Epée