What cats can teach couples

I was speaking to clients about their cats the other day and the more anecdotes they told about them the more it occurred to me that cats live their lives very much on their own terms. I have two Burmese cats, myself, and they do indeed navigate their lives seamlessly. I thought, how much we can learn from them.

CATS GET WHAT THEY WANT:
Cats use their instincts and don’t tend to overthink things.
Their bodies tell them when they are hungry, when they are cold, when they want affection and when they don’t. There is no second-guessing, anxiety or guilt with them. When they want something they ask directly (quite loudly and forcibly, sometimes) for what they need. They can be charming with their requests and know when to back off when their needs are not forthcoming.

Couples, on the other hand, complicate their lives by not being clear what their needs are, they tend not communicate clearly and are often left feeling disappointed with the end results. This usually leads to blaming their partners and the relationship can become entangled in ways that are unconstructive.

CATS FIGHT AND GET OVER IT:
I often watch my cats fight over space, food or attention. They can be vicious with one another but somehow they are able to let this go and recognise that their kitty friend might just be irritated and reacting badly in the moment. In other words, cats don’t create a drama or a story about who hissed first or swiped out with a paw. They don’t hold on, they let go. When it’s over, it’s over, and they get back to curling up with one another and purring.

At Coupleworks, we see couples struggling to accept that sometimes their relationships aren’t purrfect (sorry, couldn’t resist). They hold on to incidents, they don’t let go and end up forgetting all the good that they do have together.

By taking a lesson from these seemingly simple cats, we can learn to normalise the ups and downs of our own relationships. By letting go and relaxing into a more gentle way of being with one another creates the potential of finding the kitten in your partner rather than seeing the pitbull.

I appreciate that cats aren’t human and I certainly don’t mean to simplify our own human relationships or condone abusive relationships; but this tongue in cheek cat analogy, is to point out that our feline friends can give us much food for thought about our own relationships.

Cat Advice:
*Be clear about your needs.
*Communicate those needs to your partner.
*Don’t create a story when there is no story.
*Accept your partner for their flaws
*Curl up and purr with your partner.

Shirlee Kay

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