Why Self-Care is About Knowing (your inner cat) Better

by Caroline van Kimmenade

I was reminded of a big truth today. The past couple of years, I’ve discovered over and over again how I do “know better” when it comes to myself. Let me explain what I mean by that in the way all cat owners explain life’s wisdom.

My cat (and I’m sure he’s not alone) loves to stress the fact that he is INCREDIBLY hungry. Really, veeeeery hungry. Then, he eats a teeny tiny bit and loses his appetite. It happens quite often. Sound familiar? I think we all haveĀ  ‘a someone’ in our life like that. I also think we all get like that ourselves at times.

We reaaaaaaaaally want something. Or, we are sooooooo sure about something. Yet, each time, after just a teeny tiny bit of that something, we lose interest. We discover it is not what we thought it was or (more likely) not as good as we imagined it should be.

So we get all excited about something, and then we get all disappointed.

With my cat, I still get it wrong sometimes, but I’ve become better at separating genuine hunger from imagined appetite (which is usually closely related to boredom or something else that is non-edible). So, when I judge him to be genuinely hungry, I feed him. When I suspect he is just suffering from an imagined appetite, I either give him a teeny tiny bit to “satisfy the dream” or don’t give him anything until the next mealtime. When I do get it wrong after all, then the food stays untouched, dries out and is no longer considered edible*. That tends to annoy me to say the least, because I was taught to clean my plate and monsieur’s cat food is relatively expensive.

Then again, sometimes I want something and then I let it dry out and make it out to be non-edible.

I think part of self-care is recognizing those moments.

Self-care is about giving ourselves what we need. It is also about being able to separate needs from soon-to-dry-out-wants (you know, the stuff you get for yourself and end up chucking away).

(and dried out bits and pieces).

So -in this way- you may be a lot like your (neigbor’s) cat (or dog, rabbit or imaginary roller-blading dragon). Sometimes we want things we don’t really want. It helps to recognize that. It helps to “know better” when it comes to ourselves. It helps to recognize our inner cat, and listen closely to the mewing (forget about the inner child, it’s the inner cat that needs attention!).

So, what is some of that stuff you think you want – but don’t really want – and could do without right from the start?


P.S. * I found a work-around for that: I pour some water on the food and refrigerate it, at which point monsieur usually strolls into the kitchen and demands to know what I am doing with the food he doesn’t want to eat. Because. He wants it. Anyway, that’s another story.

What’s some of the stuff you don’t really want?


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