By Julie Wales, Family & Special Needs Counsellor 
“A cat has absolute emotional honesty: human beings, for one reason or another, may hide their feelings, but a cat does not.” 
- Ernest Hemingway 
1: Value of a Good Nap  
If my Maine Coon Oscar wants a nap he will have one! 
Even though he is a house cat he uses a lot of energy running around the house and getting into mischief. Like an average house cat, it's in his DNA to snooze an average of 16 hours daily—two-thirds of his day! 
2: Attitude Is Everything 
Cats embrace their natural gifts because they know this: a little swagger is okay if you can back it up. Here is Oscar showing his ‘attitude’. 
In addition, cats can help lower their owners' blood pressure and anxiety while strengthening our immune systems. Cats are natural predators and soothing companions. Those are among their natural gifts. What are yours? 
Know what talents you bring to the table, then celebrate and build on those strengths. 
3: Groom Well 
Grooming is about health, comfort, and how you present yourself to the world. Cats spend 30-50% of their waking lives cleaning themselves, and poor grooming may be a symptom of old age or ill health. 
In people, failure to maintain personal hygiene is often an indicator of a health concern, from depression, schizophrenia, or various forms of dementia. Our grooming habits can also impact our health. For example, poor oral health, specifically gum disease, is linked with cardiovascular disease, and failure to wash one's hands is a major mode of transmitting germs from person to person. 
So be like Kitty and groom well! 
4: Love Positive Feedback  
Cats must know that most people are not experts at most things—especially at pleasing cats. We therefore need their feedback, right? 
That's why they bless us with their purring, affectionate rubs, and an occasional warning swipe. All that feedback encourages us humans to behave like they want us to. They indeed are four-legged psychologists! 
Psychological research has found that people prefer positive feedback when they are novices, but they seek out and respond better to negative feedback when they are experts at a task. Think about how you can better motivate family, friends, and co-workers with the power of positive feedback. Then hold in your claws and try purring more positive feedback to motivate others. 
5: Addictions & Catnip 
Even the coolest of cats can lose all composure around catnip if they are one of the 70% affected by it. Receptiveness to catnip is inherited, and cats' sniffers are so sensitive that they can smell one part per billion in the air. 
Whether the catnip is dried or fresh, cats lick and chew it, roll from side to side, zoom around, and bliss out during a psychedelic high that lasts 5-15 minutes. Leave it to felines to find their very own substance that is non-addictive, quick-acting, and entirely legal. I know my addiction to cake and sugar must be similar! But don’t we human beings need comfort and reward after our workdays? 

6: Have a Mind of Your Own 

Cats are famously independent and curious creatures. 
Inquisitive, they examine their environments from different angles—from high countertops to beneath the bed and even around corners. They stand back and examine their surroundings from a distance, deciding when to jump into the action. A cardboard box becomes a hiding place or a bed. The plastic bottle cap that you dropped becomes a hockey puck. How imaginative! 
If you love cats, chances are your personality may be one that is more "open to the experience." That is, you are intellectually curious, prefer variety, and you have an active imagination. Embrace that! 
One psychological research study examined the personality differences in self-identified "cat people" vs. "dog people" and found cat lovers to be 11% more open to experience than dog people. However, it also found cat people to be 12% more neurotic, that is, anxious, moody, worried, and jealous. I’m not sure about either statistic but makes for interesting reading. 
Keep being the independent spirit that you are, imperfections and all. 
This is Oscar, our Maine Coon, having a relaxing time! 
7: Never Settle for Less Than You Deserve 
Cats still see themselves as gods in fur coats, so they have high expectations. Getting us humans to comply with their requests takes demanding work. That's where goal setting comes in. 
My cat, Oscar, never settles for less than he deserves. He thinks nothing of devouring his treats and turns his nose up at food which he thinks ‘inferior.’ He has mastered the science of using S.M.A.R.T. goals, and it works! 
Oscar is rushing into my kitchen at the mere rustle of a packet of ham or something he likes. As he sits there patiently, he talks with his head and eye movements and paw tapping which say: “please give me some ham or dreamies… it will make me so happy”! 
S.M.A.R.T. Goals 
These S.M.A.R.T goals are those that are . . . 
Specific: The goal clearly specifies what needs to be accomplished, who is responsible, where the activity is to take place, and what guidelines are necessary for completion. 
Measurable: The goal involves numerical target of how much or how many so that you know when the goal is complete. 
Achievable: The goal is realistic and attainable, not too difficult yet not too easy either. 
Relevant: The goal is worth the effort it requires to achieve and is appropriate for those doing the work. 
Time-Bound: There is a sense of urgency in accomplishing the goal—a period for completion. 
Try adopting S.M.A.R.T. goals in your personal life, at work, or with anything worthwhile. You just might find Kitty knows a motivational secret! 
8: Live Like You're on Your Ninth Life 
Cats may have nine lives, but humans have just one, so make yours count. Lay in the sunshine. Listen to the birds sing. Maybe even chatter back to them. Play hard. Speak up when you have something to say. Yawn like you mean it. Stretch because it feels great. Drink and eat your favourites if you want. Let someone scratch your back. Love deeply. And never forget where you came from and your WINS. Today and always, live like you're on your ninth life. 
Hope you enjoyed this blog, and you can find out more about the help I can offer at
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