I’ve been a cat’s human companion for a little over a year. When I think back, I realise there’s so much that I’ve learnt from Eva the Brave. But this is not just about Eva, this is the story of every cat.
This is a big one. Nothing teaches you acceptance as quickly as living with a cat. Eva does her own thing, at her own pace. She is cranky, she is sweet, she is fierce, she is strong-willed, she is opinionated, she is needy, she is aloof. I love that cats do their own thing but learning to accept that is another story.
I commanded, I coaxed. She didn’t budge an inch. I surrendered, I changed, I accepted.
This is also teaching me to accept that I am who I am, with my own quirks, idiosyncrasies, and whatnot.
I have never been a touchy feely person. I like my personal space, which is three times the prescribed personal space requirement. Since I got Eva, I am more comfortable with hugs and touching others – within reason, of course. It probably comes from the hours of stroking her warm, soft fur as she purrs on. It is addictive!
Nothing is personal
My neighbours and house owners were not very friendly towards her. But that doesn’t stop Eva from stretching out on the terrace and watching them with interest. She knows instinctively that it is not about her, it is about them. And I think they are beginning to get it too and they are letting her be.
It is pure joy to see Eva stretch like she does. She is so comfortable with her body and takes pleasure in contorting it and stretching it s-l-o-w-l-y. And she enjoys it so! I try to spend a few extra minutes in bed when I get up to simply stretch. It is so relaxing, and it helps me feel so much lighter and lithe.
The most languid of cats, it is amazing how alert Eva can be at a second’s notice. She spies the tiniest lizard lurking in a shadowy corner, she hears sounds I hear only a few seconds later. So what do you know…you can relax and be alert too! And once something is on her radar, the kind of single-minded attention the object receives, until in some cases it is tail-less or all-tail, deserves respect. I don’t tell her that.
Her intensive grooming sessions have shamed me into paying more attention to how I look. It is a ritual and it is done with single-minded devotion to herself. I actually brush my hair these days.
Though she likes to live on her own terms, she is not unfeeling. Far from it. She is affectionate and she cares. She waits for me to come from work, nuzzles when I cry…Independence and living on one’s own terms does not necessarily mean any being is cold and does not care. They are as vulnerable as the next one. I don’t stay out late or make sure I go home quickly because I know she expects to see me – even though people make offhand comments about how ‘cats don’t need anyone and are independent.’
The eyes have it
Being a shy person, it is uncomfortable for me to make eye contact. With Eva I can do it and I see so much in her beautiful eyes. I can spend an entire post talking about her eyes, the changing colours and shapes, and all that her eyes communicate. You can build connections (or break them) with just your eyes. Now, that’s powerful stuff.
What have you learnt from your cat?
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I am a creative writer and copy editor living in Bangalore, India. Reading and writing are second nature to me and are interwoven with my personal history, keeping me sane. And I love traveling and falling into the many worlds it opens up as I wander within and without.