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Home / Articles / Columnists / Life 101 /  My Cat: A Life in Purrfect Balance
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Tuesday, March 5,2019

My Cat: A Life in Purrfect Balance

By Cary Bayer  

In our terribly overworked workaday world, much is made by those in the medical, psychological, religious and spiritual communities of the importance of living a life in balance. Despite such warnings and injunctions, however, far too many Americans still have no clue how to find a balance of work and play, and socializing and alone time in their lives. If they are among the many blessed millions of people who have one or more of the 95.6 million pet cats (as of 2017) in the U.S., they have, right in front of their noses, a living, loving example of a life in balance. Let me explain.

My cat Ananda (Sanskrit for bliss), named for the extraordinary speed with which she can go into purring mode (zero to 60 in a second), lives a healthy balance of her time indoors and out. As a result, she lives her life with a balance of the basic life groups needed for happiness and balance in life: love, spirituality, physical exercise, sport, and time with Nature. I’ll expand on each of these.

As for exercise, Ananda chases my laser pointer light whenever I get a moment to shine it in her direction. She also gets to chase her fellow cat for calorie burning. Fortunately, no one gets hurt; it’s all in fun, so there’s no harm, no foul. I’m also fortunate she doesn’t get any of the fowl next door, as she hasn’t hunted down any of the chickens that live there. Sometimes, Ananda will also chase invisible things – invisible to us at least, but maybe not to her heightened perception.

My little feline also gets in a healthy dose of work, although you might not see it as that on surface inspection. I’m referring to what you might think of as her sport – hunting. While she gets her three squares a day as my housemate, there’s enough instinct left in her to hunt for food – the work life of an animal in the wild. And she gets plenty of that too, chasing down field mice, chipmunks, squirrels and birds. Fortunately for the latter two, she almost never succeeds in catching them. As for the first two, well, Nature takes over, and my huntress pet manages to capture her share of prey.

She loves to relax in Nature also, often resting in my garden, while soaking in the vitamin D of the warm sunshine. Other times, she’ll sunbathe on our deck, right beneath our St. Francis bird feeder, just in case some robin or blue jay happens not to notice her there while they dive down for a snack.

When she wants to deepen her spirituality, she’ll sidle up next to me when I meditate. She seems to enjoy the effects of what might be referred to as secondhand mantra, as she purrs her little tush off. Her bliss is quite audible and tactile, as well. I’d go so far as to say that she enjoys the taste of bliss far more than almost every two-legged being I’ve ever met.

Other times during the day when she wants to chill out after a workout of chipmunk-chasing, she might take a catnap to catch some zzzs. And she never sets an alarm, content to get up when she gets up. While she leads an active life, she has no schedule. This also adds to her profound peace of mind and balanced lifestyle.

Love is hugely important to Ananda as well; without any warning, she’ll often come up to my wife and nuzzle her nose against my wife’s finger. Or maybe she’ll just snuggle. Perhaps she’ll hop into my lap while I’m watching TV. This cat cuddling gives her emotional warmth and companionship, to say nothing of physical warmth if winter temps have plummeted, or summer air conditioning has gotten too chilly for her.

No agenda for Ananda, she just wants to deepen her experience of loving and being loved.

And if she wants to change her consciousness she’ll find one of the catnip toys that I have laying around the house and bite into it to release its consciousness-changing herb. Like wine in the days of Jesus, like mushrooms and plants to indigenous peoples of the American Southwest, she’ll partake in this, her herb of choice. It seems to have a healing effect on her. Just think of it as a kind of medi-cat marijuana.


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