Lessons from my cat


Lessons from my cat 

Hi folks!

It’s her season—Halloween! My black cat, Inky, is in her glory. What a great time to share a story from her younger days that may inspire you as it has inspired me.

Solid black with just a touch of white on her chest, my fourteen-year-old cat once enjoyed an odd morning routine that fascinated me. Daily, she would perch on top of a fish bowl that we’d covered and taped to ward off her wandering paws. Once she’d steadied herself, she would slowly bend over the side of the container to look at the fish—upside down. She would stare intently, focus and then jab at the shadow of the fish.

The fish would dart. Inky would jab again. Inky would pause, ponder, refocus and then lunge again. The boxing match would continue until she decided to scamper off to play with her favorite straw or a bottle cap—or her tail.

Every day, Inky would try to catch that fish and every day, she would fail.

I could interpret this activity as one that shows a lack of intellect, since after all, she didn’t seem to learn that she cannot get the fish.

But I’m choosing to see it as her preparatory ritual, a morning routine that equips her for the day.

I like routines. Routines keep me going, prompting me to keep moving even when I’d rather not.

My favorite is my coffee, Quiet Time, and breakfast ritual that kick-starts my day.

Over the last few months, I’ve had several batches of out-of-town friends visit for a few days. In preparing for their stays, I asked a simple, but apparently, tough question about their morning routine:

“What do you eat for breakfast?”

My family considered breakfast a foundation meal long before experts deemed it the most important meal of the day. It was a daily sit-down affair in my childhood home as well as the one I created for my own family. Plus, I’ve parented a wrestler, a bride-to-be, and a child with autism who only liked “brown” foods.

Still, I was surprised at the answers I received.

“Oh, I’ll eat anything.”
“I’m flexible.”
“I don’t eat until I’m hungry.”
“Don’t worry about me.”
“Please don’t go to any trouble.”

None of those answers helped me with my grocery shopping list.

“C’mon,” I begged. “You have to begin your day some way, right?” And I got specific and offered multiple choice answers.

I. Learned. So. Much.

Some don’t drink coffee. A few drink only orange juice. And when pressed, one admitted she preferred non-dairy creamer, French Vanilla. One liked eggs—prepared anyway BUT boiled (my go-to breakfast and snack) and one, believe it or not, didn’t like bacon. All liked fruit, yogurt, and would indulge in a carb occasionally if there were English muffins or bagels around as long as I had cream cheese (whipped) and jelly (grape) on hand.

Finally, answers that helped!

Most of us have routines, whether we realize it or not. We choose how to begin our day.

And I smile when I think of Inky’s daily ritual. Regardless of the previous day’s setbacks or failures, she let her perching-pondering routine prepare her to meet each day with enthusiasm.

How about you? What routine kick-starts your day?

I’d love to know.

My best—always,


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