01 Oct A Deeper Connection
A Deeper Connection
My cat Geordie has been my constant companion ever since I left my corporate career ten years ago. I’ve spent a lot of time at home with him over these years and even though I’ve cheated on him; visiting many other gorgeous cats around Melbourne, he’s never waivered in his interest to see me when I’ve arrived home.
This year I’ve seen us develop a stronger connection and understanding and my clients tell me that this has been happening for them too.
Our being present so much more has allowed for a stronger relationship to develop.
I also suspect it has a lot to do with our states of mind too.
Interspecies communicator, Anna Breytenback, works with many animal species so I was encouraged when she spoke sometime ago about how she needed to work on not letting her own, selfish needs, love and desires for her cat, interrupt her cat communicating with her as to it’s own health and as it happened it’s end of life.
This is the basis for achieving a stronger connection and communication with our cats and any animals.
It’s up to us to quiet our minds, be selfless, to connect with our empathy and our senses, to observe and to see, sense or feel our intuition.
I’ve been caring for cats for many years now and spending so much time with them, reading a lot and working on my own mental state has helped me to develop in these areas.
Like with anything we want to do well, it takes practice to become proficient and I thought I’d share with you some techniques that have assisted me and may assist you.
A relaxed state.
In order to connect with your intuition and sense what your cat is communicating, being relaxed and to quiet the mind is essential.
I’ve found through years of trial and error what works for me.
I take a walk everyday and undertake regularly the practice of Thai Chi and Meditation to improve my energy, drop my shoulders and calm my busy mind.
Exercising daily, eating relatively well each day, having structure in my life and getting a good nights sleep has profoundly relaxed my mind.
These are things I’ll work on for rest of my life but what I’ve found over the past ten years is how more active my intuition is now, in my general life and when I’m meeting clients and their cats.
Find what works for you to achieve a relaxed state of being and an ability to tap into that state when ever you need to.
Grounded and Centred.
Throughout this pandemic there’s been stories of people who have been able to remove themselves from a life that was often manic, unrelenting and suffocating and given them an opportunity to feel more grounded again and to feel a sense a balance in their lives. Whilst there’s undoubtedly a healthy dose of nervousness and uncertainty about the future, a shift away from manic has most certainly helped our cats and our relationships with them.
A dear friend of mine taught me many years ago, that the quickest way for me to feel grounded was to take off my shoes and socks and place my feet on the grass (a definite Pretty Woman, Richard Gere moment).
And if I could spare 10min of meditation at the same time, connecting with my breath, I’d feel grounded and centred immediately.
Finding this state within ourselves regularly, takes practice but when we are grounded it offers us a deeper connection and a deeper level of relaxation with our cats and the ability to sooth their emotional state.
When we feel grounded and centred, our cats feel safe.
Observation & Intuition.
How we understand our cats is often from what we see. Their body language, tail movements, eye contact, physical proximity to us, meows they make and feeding patterns to name a few.
These indicators give us a pretty good idea on how they may be feeling and what they might be seeking.
The longer you have cats in your lives and the more you observe them, the more aware you can become of a gentle feeling you may experience in your own body of what your cat is feeling.
You might experience a feeling; a word suddenly appears in your conscience, you sense an energy.
Sometimes these things don’t appear to have any meaning and they may not but sometimes on a subconscious level your mind might be tracking very subtle, quiet communications that you can now connect with a physical observation you’ve made of your cat.
Call them gut instincts or a gut feel, this is your intuition and this is the communication that can occur between you.
Combining a good amount of observation with your own relaxed state, allows your intuition and therefore your cats to gently communicate with you.
An example for me with Geordie. I had observed during the day that he was limping slightly on his right leg. That evening I was brushing in that same area and I felt a very intense, quick sense of ‘ENOUGH’ from him. I stopped, he looked at me and he blinked. It was the early stages of his arthritis.
Honouring, respecting and building trust.
We have come a long way in domesticating our cats but it’s important to remember always that they are animals and they have and will always have a deeper connection to the earth than we may ever have the opportunity to experience.
Humans can, sadly, be disrespectful to cats by invading their personal space, putting them in situations that they find uncomfortable (posing them for pictures) and dressing them up for human entertainment. We can cause them to feel scared and frightened when we force them to live with other animals or if we manhandle them when it ‘feels’ clear to us that they just don’t want to do what you want them to do.
Honouring them means being aware of their boundaries and you can learn these boundaries by observing them when they are relaxed.
As a test, watch if their body language changes when you come closer to them when they’re relaxed. Do they remain relaxed, unmoving and accepting or do they subtly change, become a little ridged and retreat a little. The changes can be very subtle.
If they do this, keep your distance; they’ve given you a gentle cue as to their current boundary.
To reduce the distance between you over time and to build trust they need to feel that you respect them, you’re aware of their boundaries and you mean them no harm.
When I’m meeting or visiting fur clients this is often my state of mind when I’m entering their space.
Our intention should always be to build trust and in doing so our cats will decide how much interaction they would like with us.
No sudden moves or sounds.
Something I’ve observed from our cat Geordie is that if either Scott or I were to sneeze and we don’t do this regularly, Geordie lets out a loud meow and his pupils dilate.
He has the same reaction if we’re passionately yelling at our football team on the television.
Our occasional sneeze or passionate yell is unpredictable, loud and it frightens him. We always reassure him if he has this reaction.
During this winter I visited a very timid cat and because it was cold, I kept my puffer coat on but when I moved, the coat made a noise, which frightened the cat. I took off my coat and the cat stayed around my legs for the rest of the visits.
Cats like us to be calm and predictable because that helps them to feel safe and relaxed.
When I visit cats, I’m predictable in my movements. I don’t rush around; I’m deliberate in my intentions while I’m there. I comfort them with my tone and talk and reassure them.
Softening our gaze.
Directly eyeballing our cats can make them feel very uncomfortable so when looking at them try to take in the whole picture and your peripheral vision at the same time. This shows a cat that you’re not staring at them with an intense look; you have what’s termed ‘soft eyes’ which is far more appealing and less confronting.
Humans are not known for their patience, especially in heavily populated urban cities. In some industries, knowing when to be patient and when to push is vital (e.g. real-estate and finance) but when it comes to cats, patience is a virtue.
I’ve seen a person put their hand out for a cat to smell and the moment the cat has done this the person has tried to pat them, only to receive an enormous scratch.
The first step was correct but that’s where it should have ended, until their next encounter to build more trust.
To build stronger communication with our cats, patience in everything.
- So to reiterate: Practice
- Being in a relaxed state
- Being grounded and centred
- Observing your cats physical cues to better feel, see or sense your intuition (i.e. their communication)
- Honouring, respecting and building trust
- Making no sudden moves
- Softening your gaze
What we experience, how something might affects us and the cues we subtly share, our cats pick up on.
Which is actually wonderful for us because they can be our metronome, sitting there as a constant reminder for us to come back to calm, be present and be relaxed.
When they feel those things from us, they trust that we’re safe for them to be with.
I hope some of these tips help you to further connect and communicate with your cats.
Like I said earlier it’s up to us to quiet our minds, be selfless, to connect with empathy and our senses, to observe and to feel, see or sense our intuition.