Want to be a boss cat guardian? It’s not something you will luck into. You need to put the work in to get your “boss badge.” It all comes down to taking yourself to school and learning everything you can, and I mean on both sides of the coin; learn about all cats, and learn about your cat.
Let’s start with understanding the wild and instinctual motives of cats as a species. Cats are connected to their ancestors in a very direct way, and a truly healthy cat is in touch with that ancestor, or who I call the raw cat. Yes, even if your house cat is a docile, easy-goer, they're still motivated by instincts that evolved over tens of thousands of years ago. In that sense, I still consider today’s cat closer to the wild side than the domestic one.
Now, if you understand and appreciate Cat with a capital “C,” you’ll clear a path to understanding your cat better. The process will open your eyes to a whole new way of thinking – and feeling. You’ll be able to see the world through cat-colored glasses, and this is the key to giving them the most life you can, because at that point you can have a relationship built not only on love & trust, but empathy as well.
Here are some great ways to learn about all cats…and your cat:
I’ve now written four books and all of them cover some aspect of cat behavior. But to help take the guesswork out of things, if you want to choose just one, get Total Cat Mojo. It summarizes what I delve into more completely in the other books; it is as close as you can get to having everything I know about cats in one place. Plus, it has tons of pictures – which is always a huge plus when I pick up a book!
Past that, you have a distinct learning advantage than I did when I started getting into all things cat almost 25 years ago – the internet. Whatever topic, from when cat litter was invented to how your cat’s eyesight works can be found with the click of a mouse. Just make sure to double-check all the things you discover – due diligence is pretty easy nowadays, also!
2)Be A Cat Detective!
Watching your cat is not just for when you’re trying to catch her doing something “bad;” watching, gathering information, is how you get to know someone, whether they have four legs or two. One thing we humans tend to do, however, when getting that information, is to project emotions and motives onto our cats like there’s no tomorrow. “She’s doing this, so that means she hates my boyfriend,” or “she’s doing that because she’s jealous of the dog.”
This is why it’s crucial to watch like you’re a detective. Think of how a detective works: meticulous observations, divorced from emotions or attachment to outcomes. From that list of observations comes well-informed conclusions. Like Detective Friday in the old TV show Dragnet would say, “Just the facts, Ma’am.” Pay attention to the intricacies of body language, how they respond to different stimuli, where they sleep, how they play…all of these things add up to true knowledge, which will not just help you solve problems, but will help them from cropping up in the first place.
3)It’s Not What You Own, but Who You Love!
In my eyes, and key to my approach, appreciation and love for animals is context. What I’m saying is that words carry weight. Saying you own a cat gives them the weight of any other piece of property in your home. That’s one of the reasons I use the word “guardian” instead of owner. It’s just a small reminder that they’re fellow sentient beings, and (here’s the big piece of the puzzle), you’re in a relationship with your cat. They’re family members. If you relate to them that way, it does wonders to help address behavioral issues. The reason is that it automatically prompts you to see things from their perspective, and therefore to introduce possible solutions that speak to them on their level. Beyond that, of course, the most important aspect to the success of any relationship is empathy. You don’t just want to solve “behavior,” but you are emotionally invested in the outcome. The source of our most fulfilling experiences are relationships, whether those relationships are with fellow humans, or, if we allow it, other animal species. See your cats in the spirit of relationship, not ownership, and the results will change everyone involved.
You know, I don’t take the fact that you’ve trusted me for so long to teach you things about your cats lightly. I am deeply humbled and honored by that trust. That’s why I’ve spent as much energy as I have in providing you with as much as I can – from this blog, to my books, from My Cat From Hell to all the videos I record for my YouTube channel . Even my social media seeks to educate – and of course, entertain! My hope is not only to make your relationship with your cats stronger, but that you will pass the learning on. Team Cat Mojo is all about spreading the love and the word, because those things combined will help make a world that is better for all cats. So for the sake of all cats…Pay it forward!
Light, Love & Mojo!