From Chicken Soup for the Soul: What I Learned from the Cat
BY: By Jane M. Choate
Cats seem to go on the principle that it never does any harm to ask for what you want.
~Joseph Wood Krutch
Our housecat, a pretty calico, has a sweet nature. Patient with our human foibles, she nonetheless lets us know what she wants.
Hers is not a demanding nature. However, when we fail to attend to her needs in a timely manner, she gently steers us in the proper direction.
One of her favorite activities is to look out the patio doors. Blinds incased between double-paned doors prevent her from simply pushing them aside. Instead, she scratches at the doors to inform me of her wishes.
I take my cue and open the blinds.
When I've neglected to fill her water bowl early in the morning, she nips at my leg, then nudges me in the direction of her bowl.
She doesn't pout or sulk; rather, she states her wishes in the best way she can. Rarely do I misunderstand what she is telling me.
One day I found myself envying her simple, uncomplicated existence.
How many times had I expected my husband or my children to anticipate my wants without my ever giving voice to them? How many times had I been disappointed that they couldn't understand when I needed a hug, a compliment, a chocolate bar?
After a pleasant afternoon with my husband, I wanted to stop somewhere nice (translation: somewhere where crayons weren't served alongside the meal) and have dinner.
He ignored my hints.
"Couldn't you see that I wanted to go out to dinner?" I asked when he pulled into our driveway.
To my horror, I noticed a whiny note had crept into my voice.
"Why didn't you say so? I can't read your mind," he answered in exasperation.
His admonition gave me pause. Had I expected him to read my mind? Why hadn't I expressed my desire more clearly? I realized I had fallen into the female trap of "If you loved me, you could read my mind."
Now, I emulate my feline friend. No longer do I "pussyfoot" around my needs. I state them with clarity and directness.
I look at my cat and know she approves.