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SO I was drinking wine and thinking about self-care tonight. I’d had a good day, I got some work done, my students were well behaved… but I was still feeling kind of crummy.

I made Mac and Cheese for dinner and had a glass of rosé.

#adulting.

Maybe it was the weather, maybe it’s my period making me grumpy, who knows. 

Either way,  when I looked over on the chair next to me, my cat was looking at me with such loving eyes, I had to smile.

Well… they were either loving eyes, or you-haven’t-fed-me-yet-so-I’m-going-to-freak-you-out-by-staring-at-you-without-blinking-for-ten-mintues-with-a-death-glare-eyes.

Same thing, really. She is a cat.

ANYWAY, with all the glaring and the gazing combined, after petting her and getting bit on the hand, I realized she is a real role model for me to practice some serious self-care.

I thought about it only for about a minute and came up with all these reasons that we should all have a pet that we care about to help us remember to care for ourselves.

She gets up in the morning when I’m supposed to get up

I have a lovely real-life friend call me every morning at the ungodly hour of 5:15 so I get up and get some things done before I have to leave for work at 6:15.

If she didn’t call me, I wouldn’t wake up. If my cat didn’t wake up, I wouldn’t GET up.

As soon as my phone rings, my cat is up, by my hands/scratching devices, to help me wake up. Then, when I turn on the light she is shortly thereafter on the floor, ready to lead me to my yoga mat. Meowing annoyingly.

She knows the routine, now, and expects it.  That helps me internalize it as well so my mind and body are just used to getting up and getting going.  I go to my yoga mat and stretch to take care of my body before I even get ready.

My cat sits and watches. A little creepy, but useful, honestly. Because the yoga always feels good once I just DO it.

 

She reminds me when it’s time to eat

I sometimes have a hard time remembering to eat. Not that I don’t LOVE food, I really do. I just sometimes get too busy or too stressed to really pay attention to the time.  Actually, I stink at timing in general so that’s not super surprising. 

But, having a cat that is extremely food motivated is good for my meal scheduling. She will let me know the minute her food is overdue and that reminds me to check the status of my own stomach as well.  Eating is healthy and remembering to do often so is a good cat quality.

Check out my FAVORITE healthy meal delivery system that makes it even easier: Daily Harvest. (Get three meals free using this link!)

 

She stresses the importance of boundaries

Ever start petting a cat and it’s going so well and they’re purring and so cute, and then all of a sudden it’s CLAWS AND JAWS ALL OVER YOUR HAND?  Well, that is what we call boundaries, my friend.  Maybe not the politest way to set them, but my cat sure does know how to communicate what she wants and needs.

If she’s not into the petting, she’s gonna let me know real quick.  Is she needing some space? She’ll climb way up high.  Feeling needy and snuggly? She’ll be right on my lap. 

Again, maybe some proper verbal communication would be necessary for us humans, but the message is still there. We all need to be able to practice saying NO. And also we need to be able to ask for what we want and need.

Boundaries are essential to properly functioning relationships.  Learn how to set them!

 

She has designated play-time, and sleep time

My cat sleeps a lot. For hours on end. She may get up and move to a new location and then curl up again to sleep for a few more hours.

But when she’s awake and playing, she really goes for it. Chasing the other cat up and down the stairs. Batting at dust bunnies in her way. She’ll be wild-eyed and crouching in the corner, just waiting to pounce upon the closest moving subject and bat at it until it’s still.

Work hard, play hard.

That’s the motto around here!  When you are working, (or sleeping) really go all in. No distractions, power through, keep your nose to the grindstone as they say. 

Then when it’s play time, be the same way! No distractions.  Keep playing and don’t let work creep back in.  Have fun and really let loose. Or really fall asleep. (Your choice, honestly.)

 

She knows that the bedroom is for sleeping, and when it’s time for sleep, it’s time for sleep

Perhaps my favorite thing about my cat lately is that when I go to my bedroom around bedtime she follows me in and starts meowing right away. She only does this at bedtime, and I recently realized that she’s waiting for me to get into the gosh darn bed so she can perch on my belly and I can pet her.

This is SO useful that I know this information now because once it’s time for bed, I actually go to bed. No more putzing around, putting things away at the last minute, rearranging things or whatever.  Bedtime means you get into to bed, you relax, and you go to sleep.

Sleep health is so crucial.

Having this routine of my cat meowing at me until I get into bed is awesome. I am getting myself into bed and calming down earlier. This really helps me fall asleep sooner, and stay asleep the whole night through.

 

So, how do I show my cat I care for her in return?

Well, lot of ways. 

First and foremost I make sure to keep tabs on her health.

I use Pretty Litter to do this every day! 

Pretty Litter is an amazing litter that helps monitor your cat’s health. It changes color based on the PH of their urine and if something is a little off, you’ll know right away based on the color change! It still means you’d need to take kitty to the vet if it continues, but it’s a good indicator.

I’m grateful for Pretty Litter because it helped me figure out she was allergic to chicken.  

Pretty Litter is also my favorite because it is SO low odor! I barely smell it, and I live in a smaller apartment so the litter is always close by. But I can barely smell anything.  When I do, its very little, and gets absorbed quickly. I also use a litter genie to scoop the poop right away which also helps a ton. It’s just like a diaper genie, and it works fantastic.

I also make sure she eats right.

My little fluff is allergic to chicken so I’ve had to find alternate, single source, limited ingredient foods for my feline. 

These are her favorites:

I love my cat. Some people say she’s like a dog, but she’s really just a cat that knows to ask for what she wants, and likes to hang out with her human. I really appreciate all that she has taught me about self-care, no matter what kind of animal she acts like.

She helps me act like a human, in caring for her, and also in remembering to care for myself. We all need a little more of caring for each other these days. Especially, we need to be able to recognize what we want and need as well. And ask for it. Or do it.

So, the moral of the story is, make sure you take care of yourself, just as much you take care of your pets, and sometimes even more!

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