Bondi, my 10-year-old tortoiseshell fluffy rescue cat, is snuggled up next to me on the lounge. We found her about seven years ago at the local animal rescue centre, fell in love with her, and brought her home. It took a few years for her to settle in, but she is now well and truly comfortable as a member of the household. In fact, she thinks she is the head of it. And rightly so – she’s a typical cat!
She is not my first cat and may not be my last, but because she came to us in our retirement years, I have been able to spend a lot more time with her and she has taught me quite a few life lessons along the way. Some of the most important include:
Grooming seems to be on the top of Bondi’s to-do list everyday. She keeps herself spick and span and I think this is a lesson for us all. You don’t need to face a face full of make-up, just a nice hot shower, some moisturiser and a clean,fresh face to start to each day. It’s important to remember that you come first.
Bondi doesn’t need to go to meditation classes, yoga or mindfulness training; she just lives delightfully in the now. Every moment seems precious to her, whether it is just sunning herself on a chair on the balcony, snuggling up next to me or enjoying a snack. And she takes everything in her stride. I watch her and learn. It’s a hard one, but I try.
Life is definitely more fun when you keep your mind open and stay curious. There is so much wonder in the world, and cats seem to know this instinctively. No matter how many times she asks to go looking into my wardrobe she seems to be endlessly curious about what might be in there. This is a life lesson definitely worth considering.
The key to creativity is play (not that a cat is creative as we humans know it). Play is also just plain fun and Bondi knows how to have fun with a piece of string, a small ball or a toy mouse. What she really loves is to chase a laser light around the room or up a wall (which is also a good workout for her, being such a lazy house cat).
We can get much too tied up with all the complexities of life, perhaps searching for never-ending sources of excitement and entertainment, often overlooking simple pleasures like just sitting quietly in the sun or taking a walk out onto the balcony on a cool crisp moon-lit night. Bondi can spend over 10 minutes just staring at a bird perched on the balcony rail. She knows all about simple pleasures and sometimes we need to discover them too.
Is there a better way of spending an hour or so on a cold, miserable winter’s afternoon than a light nap, snuggled up under a doona? Well ask a cat. Bondi hasn’t found any and neither have I. Sometimes we snuggle up together. Sometimes we find our own space.
Bondi make sit very clear to us whenever she wants her fool bowl refilled, a tasty morsel of cheese or her litter tray cleaned. She has taught me that there is nothing wrong with asking for what you want. Noisily, if is necessary. If others don’t know what you want how can they help you?
Bondi is an integral part of our little family but she is still her own cat. We can leave her for a day or two and she’ll be fine. We get a warm greeting when we return but she’s independent enough to find her own feet when necessary; she knows who she is and where she belongs in the world. Simple. We all need to know those things too.