Pseudo-Journal Entry #5: Cats and Meditation | Writing Wednesdays | 10/4/2023

My attempt at meditating for the first time in a while last night was, uh, mixed.

For one thing, my orange tabby Roy kept licking and nibbling on my hand and generally making a nuisance of himself while I was trying to focus on breathing. He flopped against my legs, sat in my lap, and purred very, very loudly. I suppose that’s what I get for trying to do it on the couch after having been gone most of the day.

I made it about five minutes with trying to take deep breaths before I just held him instead. He was like small fleshy rumbling mass of sunlight in my arms. I cried a little because I love my cats. I have been tense for weeks, if not months. More than once, I have read that cats are used as therapy animals in hospitals for their purring being soothing and lowering blood pressure. How much does that happen without me knowing it?

My black cat, Javier aka Javi, wandered up in search of attention as well. He’s a lot more skittish than Roy, but if I sit still for long enough he wants to get pet just as much as him, if not more. Both cats like it when I talk to them, mostly to call them good boys. His purrs are hard-won, but very cute once they surface.

Roy gets jealous if I give any attention to Javi, prompting me to say, “You’re jellyyy, you’re jellyyy.” It’s not uncommon for him to bop him on the nose with his paw or nip one of his ears. I’ve done my best to discourage him from bullying Javi in the couple of years that I have had them and I like to think that it has gotten better than it used to be. Javi can now lick Roy a couple of times without immediate retaliation. Funnily enough, most of the time Roy is perfectly content to snuggle with Javi. They probably do just fine meditating/napping with each other while I’m away.

Once I went to bed, Roy sat between my legs and Javi felt comfortable enough to start thoroughly grooming himself while sitting beside me. He was especially determined to lick the tip of his tail, which kept slowly getting away from his mouth. Every time it got out of reach, he snatched it back with his front paws. I’ve never seen him do it before, so I stopped reading my book long enough to watch. Since Javi is black all over, sans his green eyes, white claws, and a single white hair on his forehead, his tongue and teeth really show up when he opens his mouth.

It was meditative in its own right to cuddle with my cats, but I do wonder how it compared to the more traditional practice I was going for. I have a hard time convincing myself to even try meditation. I understand the concept and like it in theory, but I have had little success with it in the past. As a Gen Zer/American/some other third thing, I really want instant gratification. I want to be able to feel immediate benefits even if I already know that’s not how it works. I want to wake up in the morning and go, “Hooray, my various mental illnesses are cured!”

There are only so many times that I can google variations of “what to do to stop anxiety/catastrophizing/having imaginary arguments in my head.” I’ve done it to the point where I’m proving the proverbial phrase about the definition of insanity right. So it’s high time I actually take the advice that’s given and work more dedicatedly at it.

As I was writing this, Javi brought a mostly-dead bug into my room to play with, necessitating that I all-the-way kill it. I realized fairly quickly that what he was playing with was too small to be one of his toys. It brought to mind one of the cats that I had while growing up, Big Boy, bringing a mouse into my room. I didn’t realize at first it wasn’t a toy because he had mouse toys. The “toy” starting to crawl away to safety tipped me off.

I hope Javi didn’t think that I took a toy away from him. He probably didn’t—I found a cat toy that they brought over right next to my bed in the morning.

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