How to Think Like a Cat - Stephane Garnier 2018
Your Cat Knows How to Take the Time to Live
Your Cat’s Day
8.45: SOFTLY, SOFTLY IN THE MORNING
· Who really knows what a cat does with its day? What we do know is that, in the same way you head off to work in the morning, your cat needs to go out and roam.
· Does your cat rush out of the house at full pelt? No. Your cat shimmies delicately over to the doorway and sticks its nose out to sniff the air — straddling the threshold — which both amuses and annoys you because you can’t close the door.
· Why is it that you’re in such a hurry when you leave, often having to dash back indoors to pick up your keys or that file you left on the kitchen table? If you were to be a bit more organised, there’d be no need to rush. Look at your cat, strolling tranquilly down the path. Running about like a headless chicken only ends up wasting time and getting you stressed.
· The key to wellbeing is staying calm. Remain cool and collected all day, proceed in a pragmatic, organised manner, and you’ll get just as much done, just as quickly, as you would by dashing about in a state of heightened anxiety.
· Follow your cat’s lead and start your day with a sure, steady step, and take a few moments to look up to the sky, catch the first rays of sun, and smile.
’Of all animals, the cat alone attains to the contemplative life’
Judging by the way cats simply lie there, or sit, staring at the world, scrutinising the tiniest detail, you might think they’re a bunch of lazybones who do nothing all day long. And you wouldn’t be wrong . . . at least when viewed from a human perspective.
There is a marked difference between doing nothing and taking the time to live.
In our current system, doing nothing, being contemplative, breathing, observing, taking the time to live is almost considered suspect. We are told it is imperative to be constantly moving, that we must exploit and fill every minute, accumulate tasks and activities, and never ’waste time’. It has become the norm for our society, a golden rule.
Observing this ceaseless, almost nervous agitation on the part of some of my contemporaries, I cannot help but empathise with cats, who seem to find it amusing to see us pedalling up a sweat on the exercise bike as we answer the phone while watching the TV news . . . They must think we’re insane to exhaust ourselves in this way.
Taking the time to live doesn’t mean filling every single moment of our lives, urged on by an ever-present fear of death and the need to have seen and done everything before its inevitable arrival.
On the contrary, taking the time to live means becoming aware of each passing moment, of taking it into consideration, of appropriating it in order to better enjoy it, down to the smallest fraction of a second.
This is what your cat does. For your cat has no notion of time (at least not in the way that we have), nor any notion of eventual death until it occurs — leaving aside the hypothesis that cats do in fact have innate knowledge of there being another side to the mirror, which might also explain their placid attitude in the world of the living, but that’s another story.
Taking the time to live means knowing how to fully take advantage of life, and not seeking to accumulate everything you ’should’ do/see/visit in a minute-by-minute schedule. For some people, even holidays have become exhausting sprints of sights and activities, until they become more tiring than a week at work.
Sit back, relax, and observe the world around you. Imitate your cat and you’ll feel a little serenity return to your life.
There’s an adage that goes: ’You took a long time to be born, so take the time to die.’ In order to do that, just copy your cat and take the time to live.