20 Things My Kitten Taught Me About Life | The BridgeMaker

20 Things My Kitten Taught Me About Life

By on Jun 25, 2013


kitten taught me about life

If man could be crossed with the cat it would improve the man, but it would deteriorate the cat. – Mark Twain

It’s amazing how much joy these small fluffy creatures can bring into our lives. Just looking at a kitten playing with a string can light up any puzzled soul.

But as a matter of fact, they do not only bring joy into our lives. They bring lessons too – lessons about life.

This is exactly what my little kitten has brought to me. By observing her behavior while thinking about my own life, I have been able to extract some very useful pieces of “wisdom.”

She would have never told me these if I just asked. So instead I entered her map of the world and started to play. This is what I found.

The 20 Life Lessons

  1. Don’t be afraid of saying no.
    If someone is bothering you, then you can say so. It’s okay to be firm. Others will respect you more. My kitten doesn’t hesitate a second before she gives me a small bite if I’m playing too hard.
  2. When you like someone, go for it.
    Don’t let fear or the limitations of your own mind get in the way from showing how you really feel. Whenever my kitten wants some gentle cuddling, she just heads straight towards me and starts to cuddle. Nothing will stop her.
  3. Be curious.
    It’s all about attitude. If you manage to never take life for granted and stay interested in new things, you will go far. You can see the amazing life spirit through the eyes of any kitten. They will investigate something fully before making up their opinion of it.
  4. Don’t dwell on the past.
    There’s no point spending time going over past events in your head. You can’t change it, so accept it. Have you ever seen a cat get depressed over something that happened a long time ago? Probably not. Instead, they simply…
  5. … Live in the moment.
    Why project the future or think about the past? Life is right here, right now. Now is the only time for action. I am so amazed by my kitten’s intense presence in the moment. She experiences every second and is always aware of what’s around her. That’s living.
  6. Focus outwards.
    This is actually called “the tiger mindset” and means to stop focusing on your own performance (how to act, how to talk, what to say, etc.) and instead just give all attention to the other party. Let me tell you, it’s a really liberating change. I have learned things about my friends, colleagues and surroundings just by stop being in my own head all the time. Cats don’t even have the skill to think about how they are doing. They are always looking outwards.
  7. Go your own way.
    Deep inside of us, we all have a feeling for what we want. Listen to that and do what you want to do in life. Every single day. My kitten always takes the most surprising actions. It doesn’t matter what I say, if she wants to go sit under the couch, that’s what she will do.
  8. If you want something, say so.
    “Ask and you shall receive,” said Jesus. “Mjau and you get attention,” say I. Whatever my kitten wants, whether it’s petting, food or play, she always just says so. She’s not afraid of being turned down, but keeps asking until she gets her way. Of course, she isn’t very clear about what exactly she wants from me so on that part I think you’ll be able to do better.
  9. Don’t be afraid of looking silly.
    So what if someone else thinks you look stupid? How can what they think affect your state anyway? When it comes to kittens, they are so free. Being themselves and doing their thing is much more important than having to change behavior just because someone else might judge.
  10. Give out emotion.
    Show the world how you feel. What do you have to lose? You will just make the world a more joyful for place. Instead of holding in her feelings until she explodes, it’s always possible to read the emotional state of my kitten. If she’s happy, she will run around. If she’s tired, she will relax. If she’s angry, she will surely let me know.
  11. It’s okay to go a bit crazy.
    The world isn’t going to end just because you flip out once. If you are consistent with who you are, then it will just strengthen you. My kitten would never apologize for having been a bit ecstatic or crazy. This is who she is so I’d better just accept it.
  12. Persevere.
    So someone told you can’t do it? Well, why should they stop you from going for what you want? You’ve got to keep going. It doesn’t matter how many times I throw my kitten off the bed, she will always come back, usually within just a few minutes. She knows what she wants and will continue to strive for it.
  13. Be cute.
    The most obvious aspect of kittens are of course how amazingly cure they are. It doesn’t matter what they do, they’re just always cute. And this means that they are likeable. So the question is, what can we learn from this? Well, I think the best way for you to be cute is to be open, be yourself and be silly once in a while. But actually, all the lessons here today combined are what makes kitten so very cute. And also their fluffiness of course, but that one is pretty hard to imitate.
  14. Relaxing is good.
    A well-rested soul can accomplish anything. You don’t have to feel that you are wasting time if you have to take a nap. Listen to your body. If you have to rest a little bit to have energy later, do like kittens and just do it. No need to explain yourself, it’s in our nature to have to sleep.
  15. Behind every behavior there is a positive intention.
    If you can incorporate this mindset, you will go far. It’s just a matter of being flexible enough to see things from the other person’s perspective. When my little kitten turns angry, I know that she’s doing this for a reason. From her perspective, it could be to simply protect herself. Seeing this stops me from becoming angry at her unpredictability.
  16. Everyone’s doing the best they can given the resources they have.
    This is a strong lesson that has really made me develop my empathy and compassion for other people. Even when I think someone is acting in a negative way, or could do better, I know that they are doing the best they can with the tools they have available at the time. Regarding my kitten, this one is pretty obvious. So let’s say she’s got a tough time picking up a ball. Since paws are the only tools she has available, no wonder! But she sure does her best anyway. And so do people.
  17. Life is play.
    We shouldn’t take ourselves too seriously. We all have an inner child that just wants to come out and play, we just have to let it break through all our mental barriers. Just like the kitten, let’s find the fun in our lives.
  18. Stick to those you like.
    Spend as much time as possible with the people you love and care about. And avoid people that drag your energy down. Whatever room me and my fiancée is in, our kitten will be there too, trust me. She likes us, so she will be there. And if we have a friend over that she doesn’t like, she will just walk away, no need to waste time being political.
  19. Accept change.
    Whenever something new comes along that turns your life upside down, don’t stall it if there’s no point. Be quick to accept the new situation and use your curiousness to make yourself comfortable again. When we have taken our kitten to a friend’s house for a couple of days, she just accepts it instantly and starts looking around this new place to see what it has to offer. After a short while, she has already found her new favorite spot.
  20. Be yourself.
    The most important life lesson my kitten has taught me is about who I am. Pretending to be someone else (in whatever situation) will never lead to anything good. Kittens don’t even know how to pretend and so should I. I am who I am and that’s all.

Now I am not saying that kittens are the perfect beings of the world. But we can sure learn a lot from them. And that’s what I have tried to do.

It has really provided me with another perspective on life. Especially the insight to not be so focused inwards and to go over everything in my head has proven valuable in real life. I am thankful for that and am willing to learn more every day.

Your Turn

So now it’s your turn. Let me ask you:
– Did any of these life lessons make extra sense for you? Which ones?
– Have you gained any more insights from a pet of your own?

Please share your thoughts in Comments below. Reading by email? Click through to the site to share.

Matthew M. McEwan is the creator and author of Early-Riser.com. His blog is loaded with tips, tricks and strategies for how to sleep well, wake up early, and have an awesome morning. He loves personal development, communication mastery and language study.

  • Sahand

    This is my favorite:

    Whenever something new comes along that turns your life upside down, don’t stall it if there’s no point. Be quick to accept the new situation and use your curiousness to make yourself comfortable again.

    Thanks Matthew

  • Cathy

    I think everyone should have a cat, they are such good companions and more than anything else teach us about unconditional love. That is what we give them and that is what they give to us. I lost my companion of 18 years (Little Boy) on Monday, he was an amazing cat and I will cherish the time we spent together as long as I live. Thank you for making me appreciate him even more!

    • Matthew M. McEwan

      Hi Cathy, I’m so sorry to hear about Little Boy. It’s truly possible to get close to a cat and soon they become like family to us. I bet you have an abundance of joyous memories and I’m glad if I helped in some way to bring them out again.

  • Sheri

    I have learned similar lessons from my puppysitting business. I would add one to your list – nurture and care for others along the way. Let me explain…
    I puppysit for two dogs – one is old and grumpy and female, the other is young , male and happy about everything. They have been sister and brother since the younger one was born and brought into the home. The older one, Cassie, lost her vocal cords from cancer and cannot bark. Even so, she still thinks she can bark, and goes through the motions as if there are barks coming out of her mouth.
    Her younger brother watches for when she goes through these motions, walks himself right up against her body, and barks for her!!! When she stops, he does too, and walks away from her side. It is amazing to see!

    • Matthew M. McEwan

      Wow, what a cool story =) these things just makes me amazed! And that’s a real good lesson. As long as we are open to learn from anyone (animals included) our lives can be enriched in many ways I think.

      Do you have any more interesting lessons from your puppysitting Sheri?

    • Cathy

      So sweet!

  • Lauren

    In reference to #2: Go after WHAT you want, not WHO you want (well, once maybe, but not repeatedly). Heading straight to a person you desire to cuddle with, who may not desire you in return, may result in unpleasantness. Due to a kitten’s lack of self-awareness, a rejection to cuddle will not deeply offend the kitten. This is usually not the same reaction out of humans.

    When you like someone, go for it.

    Don’t let fear or the limitations of your own mind get in the way from
    showing how you really feel. Whenever my kitten wants some gentle
    cuddling, she just heads straight towards me and starts to cuddle.
    Nothing will stop her. – See more at:
    http://www.thebridgemaker.com/20-things-my-kitten-taught-me-about-life/#sthash.M6tBXrTY.dpuf

    When you like someone, go for it.

    Don’t let fear or the limitations of your own mind get in the way from
    showing how you really feel. Whenever my kitten wants some gentle
    cuddling, she just heads straight towards me and starts to cuddle.
    Nothing will stop her. – See more at:
    http://www.thebridgemaker.com/20-things-my-kitten-taught-me-about-life/#sthash.M6tBXrTY.dpuf

    • Lauren

      Oops, was not aware I had copied the #2 snippet twice. Sorry.

    • Matthew M. McEwan

      Yeah you’re definitely right about going up to cuddle is perhaps not the exactly right thing for us 🙂 but the core of the action I still believe is very good. Just that we humans might want to be a little bit smarter about it 😉

      Lack of too much self-awareness is sometimes a good thing. As you say, it will not offend the kitten. So how can we let ourselves be offended and feel low by the actions of someone else? We choose ourselves how to feel, right?

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