Don’t get me wrong. I do not own a cat that tips the scales at one-thousand pounds. But, every now and again, that’s how it feels.
There’s an expression we use in our household when one is providing seating for a cat or two. Under those circumstances – when our fury friends have plopped into our laps – it is extremely difficult to get up.
But not because the feline beasts weigh a lot. It’s more complicated than that. These lovely creatures, warm and silky soft, curled in a ball or draped across the nearest shoulder, exude something that makes the thought of disturbing them hard to consider.
According to John Amodeo, Ph.D. in his Psychology Today article “If You Love Cats, This May Be Why,” “These beautiful creatures have a rare quality that humans would do well to cultivate: a large capacity to receive affection.”
Cat lovers know this to be true.
“Delighting in our physical presence, they may begin to purr and perhaps roll on their backs, exposing their vulnerability. As if to say, ‘I trust you. Give me some love and make me feel good,’” Amodeo said. “Their gift to us is that they receive us deeply, without any troubling cognitions or disturbing memories of less savory moments, such as when we forgot to feed them or clean their litter box. They let all of that go. They’re just here with us right now.”
Now imagine if we humans could do the same. If we could forget why we are annoyed with someone. No grudges. No animosity. No bitterness. If we could, we’d be more like cats.
The good news is that all this kitty contentment is a beneficial thing.
“Research has shown that cats can be very healing for us,” Amodeo said. “A 10-year research study suggests that cat owners were less likely to die of heart attacks than people who have never owned one … Other studies confirm that cats can lower our blood pressure and release dopamine and serotonin, which reduce stress and improve immune functioning.”
Amodeo also explained that cats help us release a substance called oxytocin, which is a substance that helps us care about others. “(O)oxytocin … is associated with the feeling of being in love. As we know, love heals, and perhaps an important aspect of this healing is the bonding created by their ability to receive us deeply.”
I know there are those who dislike cats. But I’m hoping they might reconsider. Perhaps all they need is the delicious weight of a feline in their lap. In our house, that is all the excuse one needs to avoid moving.
“Sorry, I can’t get up. I’m being held down by one-thousand pounds of cat.” And while you might think it strange, everyone here immediately understands. That’s when they get up to clean the kitchen.
Yet another reason to love my cats.
Blank Slate Press/Amphorae Publishing Group
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