5 lessons I’ve learned from my cat Tigger

3 Aug 2017

On love, life, and being a better (cat) person.

There are three kinds of people that you’ll meet in the Our Better World team – cat people, dog people, and people people. As you would have guessed, the first kind of people are my people.

The thing is, I wasn’t always a cat person. I used to be that awkward one who didn't have a clue on how to act around cats, dogs, hamsters, you name it. Then my family adopted Tigger, and that was how I became a cat person.

As International Cat Day approaches, it’s got me thinking about how much I’ve learned from Tigger. Here are the five things he taught me that have made me appreciate him more.

Lesson #1: There is love after loss

Photo of Tigger and his favourite toy.
Tigger and his favourite toy, Mrs Feathers.

Tigger came into my life during a difficult time – shortly after I lost my mother to cancer. Our once lively home suddenly felt quiet and empty. When we got Tigger, home started to feel like home again. He’s our alarm clock in the mornings, our companion when we’re watching Netflix, and our in-house pest buster (good riddance, lizard and flies). At a time when we felt like we wouldn’t be able to smile for a while, Tigger brought joy into our hearts and reminded us that there is always love after loss.

Lesson #2: There is comfort in silence

Photo of Tigger napping on the sofa.
Tigger all stretched out on the sofa, doing what he loves to do – cat napping.

Every cat person would have been guilty of talking to cats at some point. Logically, we know that our cats wouldn't understand what we’re saying, but when you get an almost empathetic meow or blink that makes you feel more understood than you have in a while, you start to believe – that cats don't judge. Cats understand. Silence is underrated, and Tigger taught me that sometimes silence can bring comfort in the most unexpected ways.

Lesson #3: The best things in life are free

Photo of Tigger in a shoe box.
Chilling with his best friend, a shoe box.

Life isn't always about grand gestures – it's the little things that matter. As first-time cat parents, my family naturally got excited and bought way too many toys for Tigger. It was a rather expensive way to learn that cats are actually simple animals. All they need are some cardboard boxes, a laser pointer, some strings, and they’re all set for an entire night of fun. The best things in life are free, and Tigger reminds me of that everyday.

Lesson #4: Rejection is part of life

Photo of Tigger giving a look of warning.
Tigger issuing a cautionary glance, a look of warning that can mean he’s going to bite you, or scratch you. Either way, always proceed with caution.

When you have a cat, every day is a lesson on rejection – that in life, you won’t always get what you want. You won’t get to hug your cat for more than 10 seconds, and you won’t get a response when you call him. Cats have a mind of their own. They don't take instructions, and they won't indulge you with the satisfaction of getting what you want. The only thing to do is to accept them as they are, and realise that rejection is part of life. If at first you don’t get what you want, it’s okay. There will be moments in life when you get something even better, like your cat kneading on you when you least expect it.

Lesson #5: Love is commitment

Photo of Tigger climbing a window grill.
Just another day in the life of Tigger – climbing the window grills in an attempt to catch the birds he heard chirping outside.

Having a cat or any pet is kind of like having a kid (just kind of). You’ve got to feed them, clear their litter, and send them for regular medical check ups and dental appointments. That’s not all. Your cat will wake you up at 4.00 a.m. in the morning just to play, and you’ll get up and play, because that’s what love is. Love is commitment.

These are just some of the things I’ve learned from having Tigger in my life.

I’ve come to realise that as I get to know Tigger better, I’ve also learned a lot more about myself, and interestingly, life. I guess it’s true what they say, “Behind every great (cat) person, there is a great cat.”