How to Live Like a Cat


The discovery of non-identical twins fed by a single blood supply proved humans have more than one blood type, allowing for a future where engineered beings with recombined DNA become the norm — basically a chimera, according to Although, a future filled with human-animal chimera may sound unsettling, it would be quite a treat to be part cat! Who wouldn’t love being incredibly adorable, having heightened smell, heightened hearing, night vision and the ability to scale a 10-foot wall?!

Becoming part cat may be something out of reach today, but we can adopt some healthy habits from our felines requiring no DNA modification at all. As with everything in life, the more you practice, the more proficient you’ll become. Here’s how to live like a cat:

1. Practice a meticulous cleaning routine

A gray cat licking and grooming. Photography ©AnjoKan Fotografie | Thinkstock.

Cats are incredibly clean creatures who spend a good part of their day grooming. Feline cleansing routines tend to be meticulous. Bathing is done head to toe. Cats wash after every meal and before every nap. Companion cats even help each other with ear cleaning.

Humans are not as clean as cats. We can try to be by washing our hands more often, which is Step One to keeping virus and bacteria away. Since daily showers may remove good bacteria and healthy oils from our skin, we should shower two or three times a week, with one long weekly bath soak added for comfort.

One thing our feline friends cannot do for themselves is daily oral care. Proper dental care is a must for humans and for cats. Poor hygiene allows pathogenic oral bacteria to travel past the mouth, colonizing in the lungs. This leads to pneumonia. In cats, especially, gum disease can be deadly. Tartar buildup leads to stomatitis — inflammation of the mouth, where the ulcers are so painful, it’s impossible to eat.

Quick tip: Raw unrefined coconut rubbed along the gum lines can help both humans and cats. Coconut is antibacterial and antifungal — a great way to prevent plaque buildup. Preventing tartar buildup is the best way to battle gum disease!

2. Get enough rest

A brown cat sleeping peacefully.

A brown cat sleeping peacefully. Photography ©Zoonar RF | Thinkstock.

Whenever they are not grooming themselves, hunting or playing, cats are napping. Humans, like animals, need their sleep. While a healthy cat needs a minimum of 18 undisturbed hours a day of sleep, a healthy human shouldn’t shy away from at least eight hours of sleep per day.

In fact, taking a nap during the day reduces stress, adding years to our lives. Cats’ approach to sleep is a very good lesson to learn from our beloved furry beings.

3. Eat right

A cat next to a can of tuna.

A cat next to a can of wet food. Photography ©willcao911 | Thinkstock.

Cat prey, such as birds and rodents, is mostly active at dawn and dusk. This is the time when cats hunt and feed in the wild. Indoor cat feeding time varies by household as our pets are forced to follow human companions’ schedules.

According to holistic studies, human livers detox around 7:30 p.m. A light dinner before 7 p.m. is healthier than a large meal at 7:30 p.m. or after, when the liver eliminates toxins from our bodies.

Cats have very sensitive livers. They do not detox very well, which means felines with a poor diet will gain weight and become ill. Indoor kitties who do not need to hunt are most at risk.
In 2010, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention claimed 35.17 percent of American adults and 17 percent of American children are obese.

Unfortunately, obesity leads to health problems in humans as well as in felines. Now in Europe, diets consist of a large breakfast, moderate lunch and a small dinner at 6 p.m., with two healthy snacks in between. Europeans are leaner and healthier than Americans.

My cats eat dinner with me. I feed my furry little ones at 6 p.m., and they get breakfast at 6 a.m. while I juice myself a fruit juice.

4. Play hard

A cat playing with a feather toy.

A cat playing with a feather toy. Photography ©yakushkina| Thinkstock.

The first time I saw one of my kitties on top of the kitchen cabinet, I was shocked. I couldn’t figure out how she got up there! Of course, I am not a cat. Later (after I finally realized “get down” means “keep doing as you please” in cat speak) it became clear to me that cats will get in and out of anywhere they choose. This includes scaling furniture, curling up in freshly washed laundry or napping atop extremely important work.

Cats are agile and apt to get the exercise they need even indoors. Open doors can make a great track for runners. Forget climbing K2 when curtains do just fine for a full-body workout, and jumping up and down on kitchen counters beats aerobics anytime.

Yoga is an excellent way of increasing blood flow to areas of our body that have been neglected and is best known to improve flexibility, lower stress and elongate muscles. It is the healthiest form of exercise connecting mind, body and soul. Felines have the yoga positions down at expert level. We should all learn to exercise and bend like kitty.

5. Respect yourself

A happy orange cat.

A happy orange cat. Photography by Shutterstock.

Dogs have owners, cats have staff — this much is true. Cats know what they want, they communicate it and they demand respect.

The average cat knows about 17 sounds. Cats communicate by meowing, scratching and rubbing. Straight ears and even widening of the ears are means of communication. Cats use their whole bodies to talk to us.

For example, a very straight tail pointing up means “Follow me.” A gentle rub on the cat parent’s leg followed by a soft meow means “You’re mine” or “You belong to me.” Kitty cats often slowly squint their eyes as if to say, “I love you.”

By virtue of honesty our feline companions exemplify the fearless self-respect many humans lack. We tend to bottle up emotions and hide our problems, and we rarely express ourselves as honestly as cats. Our relationships deserve confidence and honesty.

6. Be devoted

A cat bride and groom.

A cat bride and groom. Photography ©Bilevich Olga | Thinkstock.

Contrary to popular belief that cats are loners, felines love company. They love being held, cuddled and talked to. Just like dogs, cats are devoted companions, but we must earn their love.
Cats can feel deeply wounded by neglect, abandonment or when their owners pass away. When treated well, cats express their love and appreciation by strong devotion. Hurtful words as well as kind compliments are rarely forgotten. When a feline feels loved the love is returned tenfold.

Estonian-born experimental psychologist Endel Tulving made great scientific advances. Among the many was his ability to distinguish between memory that stores data like a library stocked with books (semantic) and the stories told on book pages — memory relating to emotional experiences (episodic). In an experiment with 49 felines, Japanese scientists proved that cats, like humans, have episodic memory. Stray cats wander door to door not only in search of food but also seeking companionship.

According to the American Psychological Association, about 40 to 50 percent of American marriages end in divorce. Divorce rates have only increased over time. Perhaps we take more than we give. Shouldn’t we try to be a little more devoted? In love, there is give and take. When we share our hearts in honesty and devotion, we give as well as take, adapting a little bit of feline into ourselves, and maybe, with a little bit more purr.

Best reads for cat lovers

  • Curious History of Cats by Madeline Swan, introduction by Celia Haddon
  • Classical Cats, the Rise and Fall of the Sacred Cat by Donald W. Engels
  • Cat Sense by John Bradshaw
  • Think Like a Cat by Pam Johnson-Bennet

Marika is a Connecticut- based journalist, martial artist and nutritionist. She has successfully rescued, tamed and rehomed 31 animals to date. Marika is a contributor to a number of magazines, such as The Jewish Voice, Edge Magazine, VegNews and BlackBelt.

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Editor’s note: Have you seen the new Catster print magazine in stores? Or in the waiting area of your vet’s office? This article appeared in our September/October issue. Click here to subscribe to Catster and get the bimonthly magazine delivered to your home. 

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