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How cats can show us the way to mindfulness

Oct 23, 2019

We’re all very good at rushing around and juggling lots of things at once so it’s easy to forget the present moment. Good news is, you can recapture it. Here to show you the way is the ultimate zen master – your cat. After all, when was the last time you noticed your cat lying awake worrying about tomorrow?

Here are 6 lessons in mindfulness we can learn from our furry gurus.

1. Breathe

Cats naturally breathe deeply, with slow, equal breaths. A change in their breathing pattern is a good indication we need to check in to make sure everything’s ok. We can do the same with ourselves. Try this: Next time you’re stressed out and can feel your breath shortening, take a moment to check in and notice what’s going on. Take long, slow breaths, letting each inhale invigorate you and each exhale calm you. Doing a little yoga helps too – you can even get your cat involved.

2. Savour every bite

  Give your cat their favourite Fancy Feast® treat and watch them enjoy it. Do they eat it while running out the door? Do they eat it while playing with a toy? Of course not, because they want to enjoy their food. Try this: Next time you eat, do so mindfully and without distraction. Notice the appearance, smell, texture and flavour of your food. Savour each bite and chew slowly – it’ll relax you and help with digestion.

3. Don’t dwell on the future

  Cats don’t sit around worrying about the big, scary dog they might encounter on the footpath. They simply focus on the present moment. Try this: Catch yourself out the next time your mind is occupied by tomorrow’s schedule. Then, practice bringing yourself back to the present. Focus on your breath and take each moment as it comes.

4. Do one thing at a time

You’ll notice your cat rarely does two things at once. They don’t eat while playing, nor wash while napping. They simply focus on the task at hand. By doing this, they are completely engaged in the experience, making it all the more pleasurable. Try this: Next time you’re doing something, focus 100% on that task. Eliminate any distractions such as your phone by turning off your phone. See if you notice how different your experience is.

5. Make time to do nothing

Sometimes, it’s important to simply do nothing – an art our cats have mastered. They can lie in the sun for hours and think about nothing but how nice and warm it is on their fur. Try this: For five minutes a day, sit in silence and just be. Become aware of your thoughts, letting each one come and go. Notice the world around you, without judgement. Breathe deeply and accept the moment for what it is

6. Be present when you’re with someone

How many times has your cat had to head-boop you to continue their chin scratch? While cats give us their undivided attention, we tend to get easily distracted. Try this: When you’re next with someone, take conscious breaths to bring you into the moment. Really listen to what they’re saying, rather than thinking about your response (or your to-do list). You’ll enjoy your time together just that much more.

While our cats purr more than they om, they can still teach us a lot about mindfulness. So, the next time you’re rushing around, take a look at your cat. Chances are, they’ll simply be enjoying the moment. Maybe now, you can enjoy it with them.

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