Your Cat Is In-de-pen-dent

How to Think Like a Cat - Stephane Garnier 2018

Your Cat Is In-de-pen-dent

’Once a cat agrees to live with you, you and the cat spend the rest of your lives together deciding whether or not the arrangement is working out’

MICHAEL CUNNINGHAM

Independence is one of your cat’s main characteristics. Cats are not subject to any hierarchy, they don’t need to build any kind of communal life, or live in a tribe, like other animals.

Your cat’s independence is inalienable. Cats live according to their desires, they don’t require the approval of their kind, and of humans even less.

Why do cats have such an independent existence?

It means they don’t have to justify themselves, and can act purely according to their own wishes, with no outside pressure, social obligation or accusatory gaze. This non-negotiable independence is the very foundation of your cat’s freedom.

Dependence upon others, be it personal or professional, only subjects us to constraints, which don’t always fit with our desires.

Yet, by nature, we cannot be totally independent, as cats are. People have always tended towards living in groups. Despite everything, we all have an interest in regularly measuring the degree of dependence and independence in our lives, in asking ourselves certain questions from time to time:

· How financially independent am I?

· Am I capable of putting up with a few months of celibacy without having a compulsive need to feel loved and desired at each moment, without needing to have one short-term relationship after another to fill the emotional void?

· Do I alone decide the major directions of my life or are they determined by the needs of my partner, parents or children?

· To what extent am I dependent on my work for the money it brings in? Am I so much in debt that I have no other choice than to rack up overtime, spending weekends and holidays working?

· Am I so dependent on my partner that I am capable of accepting everything, enduring everything, even suffering their humiliations in silence?

· Do my friends and family have such importance in my life that I cannot allow myself to contradict them through my actions and opinions, for fear that I will offend them and risk losing them?

· Am I obliged to put up with my boss’s moods in order to keep my job, even though there’s a better position waiting for me elsewhere if only I were to allow myself to apply for it?

· What place do my addictions — be they to tobacco, alcohol, drugs, food or sport — have in my life? And consequently, to what extent do they influence my actions and desires?

· To what extent am I trapped within these dependencies?

· To what extent do they dictate my life?

· To what extent do I still control my own existence?

These are all questions we should ask ourselves regularly, starting today, in order to become aware of our level of dependence.

All of us have greater or lesser dependencies in our personal and professional lives — that’s a given. What’s important is to question these dependencies and assess whether they play major or minor roles in our lives.

In the end, how much weight do I have in my own existence? What are the ingredients of my wellbeing?

We cannot live completely independently, like a cat, but we owe it to ourselves to correct certain tendencies that can evolve, often without us realising.

Work to reconquer a portion of independence in all areas, and you will win your freedom.