Your Cat Is Calm (Most of the Time)

How to Think Like a Cat - Stephane Garnier 2018

Your Cat Is Calm (Most of the Time)

Your Cat’s Day

· Follow your cat step by step as they proceed with their daily routine: you’ll feel better for it.


· For many people, waking up in the morning is not always easy. So clear the grogginess away by following what your cat does.

· Your cat doesn’t leap out of its basket like a jack-in-the-box: that’s bad for both body and mood.

· Cats stretch, relax, slowly open their eyes and take the time they need to wake up.

· Stretch, yawn. There’s no point in jolting yourself. Your cat stretches while it’s still lying down, then stands, arches its back, stretches again and yawns to fully expose its canines, then sits, blinking.

· I tried this. I began to imitate Ziggy. And it really is much pleasanter than leaping out of bed like a pancake being flipped before dragging yourself to the kitchen to make a cup of tea.

· This phenomenon — practised by most animals — is called ’pandiculation’, a reflex action that we humans too often tend to overlook. But it is so vital to a proper wake-up and to get the day off to a good start.

’The idea of calm is a sitting cat’


Stress is the bane of our modern societies. How can we fight it? How can we channel it?

There have been many relaxation practices and techniques developed over the last few decades. It’s not a very good sign, since it means that we are increasingly stressed, and that more of us are getting stressed.

Always hard at it, always on edge; anxiety builds, insomnia too, leading to physiological effects, such as high blood pressure, then burnout.

Do we really have to live so badly? How can we change things?

Observe your cat: is it ever stressed? Rarely. Your cat oozes calm and tranquillity. Your cat sits quietly, muscles relaxed, presenting no physical signs of agitation, its gaze devoid of tension.

What we sometimes call ’stress’ in a cat is in fact a heightened vigilance, an alertness to potential danger, to an event that might have disturbed the calm, restful continuum of its everyday existence. A cat pricks up its ears, focuses its gaze, observes and waits. But once the cause of concern has been identified, the cat becomes calm again and lays its head back down after a few seconds.

Your cat does not cultivate stress once a situation, or danger, has passed, been avoided or dealt with. Your cat seems to let go of whatever was bothering it — disposing of any residual intellectual traces — as if the event had never occurred. That is perhaps your cat’s greatest strength, and one of the keys to its majestic calm.

Your cat’s life is a structured and contemplative one — with an emphasis on comfort and wellbeing — which nothing must disturb. Cats dislike major changes to their daily routine.

The only (rare) moments of stress to enter a cat’s life derive from a change to this state. If an interloper enters your cat’s territory, they must be swiftly chased off. If your cat’s kibble is switched for a different, cheaper, less flavoursome variety, then a firm demonstration of displeasure must be made. Likewise, cats will let you know in no uncertain terms that any long and repeated absences on your part do not meet their need for love and attention.

To maintain your inner calm and peace, identify the source of your stress, deal with the issue thoroughly, then let go of it for good — don’t ruminate or brood — and calm will return.

Another phenomenon observed in cats, and also noted by veterinarians, is that if a cat is often stressed, the reason frequently lies with their owner.

Cats are like sponges, they feel everything. They absorb moods, but once a certain level of tension, noise and yelling has been exceeded, they can’t digest it all with their usual total calm.

If the domestic atmosphere becomes so unbearable that your cat’s wellbeing is at stake, it may well leave the house (if it is able). But whose fault is that? If the price of their tranquillity is to leave, cats will do it. Take note.