I started writing this article last night, post-work hours. One of my cats, Phoolan Devi, came up to me and sat on my laptop, pressed random buttons on the keyboard, and deleted the entire piece. This was probably her way of reminding me to shut my laptop post-work hours and practice self-care instead.
We don’t realise how our pets make us better humans by just being themselves. I have five rescued animals (a dog and 4 cats) at home and I always tell everyone that it wasn’t me who rescued them, but that they rescued me.
It is im-paw-sible to not be feline fine when I am around them!
From being content with their own company to being present in the moment, there is so much to learn from our pets. I chatted with a few of my colleagues at Kool Kanya who are pet-pawrents to know their perspectives. Spoiler alert: they concurred!
If you’re reading this and you have a furry friend at home, miss no op-purrr-tunity to observe them and learn how to be a better person. Thank them while you’re at it!
Here are 8 life lessons my colleagues and I learnt from our pets:
1. Love your own company
Every time I look at my cats, I see that they are up to some shenanigan. They either chase their own tail and go round and round, or run after tiny pieces of thread they find in the most unlikely places.
My dog, Lipstick, circles around and crashes on the bed, often tearing the bed sheet, because suddenly her happiness knows no bounds.
I sometimes feel envious when I see them having fun all by themselves. We humans are so dependent on our relationships that we rely on others to rescue us or make us feel better. To go out with us, whether for a meal or a movie.
And here we have our pets, loving their own company. Thanks to them, over the years, I have learnt how to love and appreciate spending time with myself too.
2. Set your boundaries and give up pleasing everyone
Every time I try to cuddle my eldest cat Mogambo, she places her paw on my face – a clear indication that no means no. And I have got to respect her for that.
Shivnandini Tyagi, Program Manager at Kool Kanya, has learnt how to say no and push back, to set boundaries at work and in her personal life, thanks to her late dog, Pixie.
“Pixie taught me that I do not need to please everyone. While she was usually a social one, she also set her own boundaries. If she did not vibe with someone, she liked to maintain her distance. No amount of coaxing would get her to let someone she was not so fond of, pet her”, recollects Shivnandini.
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3. Replace insecurity with self-acceptance and love
My dog (and also my first rescue) Lipstick is a cross between a Border Collie and a local desi breed. Collies are known to have a thick, shiny black-and-white coat, but she lost all her fur when she was four, to a skin infection. But I love her regardless.
When I start panicking about losing a strand of hair or having bouts of severe acne, I think of the way she accepts herself, and just does not care about whether she will be loved by her humans. This is something I try to learn from her every day.
Pooja Menon, Senior Content Writer at Kool Kanya, says that she decided to end her war with food and accept her body the way it is – a life lesson she picked up from her dog, Ginger.
“The other day Ginger was unwell, but the moment he saw me with food, his eyes got their shine back. Ginger is a chonky doggo, but that doesn’t stop him from eating what he loves. I decided to pause overthinking and enjoy every meal that makes me happy”, says Pooja.
4. Life is too short to hold grudges against people (or yourself)
Probably one of the worst mistakes we make is holding grudges against people and not forgiving them for an indiscretion or two. But for how long have you seen a cat stay angry when you accidentally step on its tail?
Does your dog lose its cool when you come home late from work? Probably no longer than a few seconds.
Ramsha Dutta, from the Growth and Marketing team of Kool Kanya, says that her cat has taught her that love is the only constant, no matter how tough things get in life.
“My cat, Lolo, might just be a little baby but she has gone through several struggles before she came home to me. She loves to love. Despite being rescued from a fatal construction site, dealing with health issues, and even getting close to losing her vision, she doesn’t shy away from loving humans, even after everything she has faced”.
5. Be in the present, and go with the flow
One of the most important lessons I have learnt from my pets is to be present in the moment and go with the flow. They don’t overthink the past or worry about the future. When my cat is eating a bowl of kibble, she isn’t worried about her calorie intake.
When my dog is in the car with us, she isn’t worried about l reaching our destination, or how the trip will be. She is content with feeling the wind in her fur and enjoying the ride.
Kool Kanya’s founder and CEO, Vanshika Goenka, says that her puppy, Tara, has taught her the importance of living in the present.
“Tara manages to play and have fun regardless of the changes in her external environment. Even when she gets hurt she will still be happy and loving, and do her own thing in that moment. She’s taught me to make the most of the moment”.
6. Take the break that you (and your body) deserve
Our body often issues red alerts and tells us that we need to take a nap or give ourselves some rest. But we’re so used to hustle culture that not overworking can give us anxiety and make us feel less productive, when actually what we’re doing is getting burnt out. Well, I don’t know about you, but this is where I suffer.
However, pets know when it’s time to relax. My pets either lie on their back on the floor or just sleep like little croissants in their wooden baskets.
In a world where digitally unplugging for a few hours induces FOMO ( fear of missing out), we should all learn how to unwind and relax from these furry creatures.
7. Drink enough water during the day
Drinking water is an act of self-love too. Nothing hydrates and nourishes our body like water. Each room in our house has a water bowl, and the buckets in our washrooms are always filled to the brim because that is how much water my pets drink every day.
Besides, animals instinctively know when their bodies need water. I used to barely finish one bottle of water a day. But my dog Lipstick reminds me to drink water. I just have to sit beside her and work, so that whenever she is off to drink water, I follow suit.
8. Focus on yourself as you would focus on others
My cats clean and groom themselves every hour, and I’m learning how to take efforts to look presentable too.
Pooja says that taking care of her physical appearance became a part of her self-care and self-love routine because she would see her pets do the same every day, be it a work-from-home day or visiting the office.
“I didn’t pay attention to how I looked or what I wore when we were confined to our homes due to COVID. I had stopped feeling like myself. And then I looked at my beautiful cats, and they would be sitting on the sofa and grooming themselves so passionately that I said to myself, “No wonder they feel like Gods!””
Do you have a furry friend at home that has moulded you into a better person? Share your story with us in the comments below!
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