What You Can Learn From Your Cat

Cats have it all figured out. They sleep all day, rarely exercise and are content with a bowl of Friskies and an ear rub. OK, so they're a little conceited, but maybe that's what keeps their lives stress-free. Here's what we can all learn from our cats:

1. Keep your head up and your eyes open. Although sly and unobtrusive, cats are alert and don't miss much. They've figured out that you can often learn more by keeping your mouth shut and observing, and that calling attention to yourself isn't always the best way to go. While you don't want to be a wallflower, there's something to be said for flying under the radar every now and then.

2. Land on your feet. Their last eight lives are superfluous, since cats always manage to land on their feet. Whether they lose their bearings or are unexpectedly booted from a seemingly secure position, felines remain squarely on all fours. Cats are a textbook example of knowing how to keep cool whenever life throws you a curve.

3. Know when to draw your claws. Cats aren't wimpy about protecting themselves, and they don't take any guff. When provoked or mistreated, they let you know that they've been wronged with a hiss or a swat of their paw. We don't recommend catfights, but having a healthy sense of indignation is important.

4. Eat only when you're hungry. No matter how tempting the fare in front of them, cats stop munching when they're full. They are masters of self-restraint when it comes to food. Of course, cats also seem to know that there's no harm in indulging in a little catnip (read: chocolate cake) from time to time.

5. Never let them see you sweat. Cats have the ultimate poker face. Not only do you never know what they're really thinking, they almost always seem to be in control. While we don't recommend squelching your every emotion, a cat's composure is pretty impressive for someone who weighs less than 20 pounds. Which brings us to...

6. Size doesn't matter. Ever notice that in most dog-cat relationships, it's the cat who wears the pants? Cats have figured out -- perhaps by necessity -- that having the upper hand and commanding respect are more about attitude than anything else.

7. Be independent. Cats are low-maintenance. They don't require a lot of care, and tend to be emotionally self-sufficient. They don't mind doing their own thing and aren't swayed by group pressure. A cat's independent nature underscores the importance of being true to yourself, knowing your own strength and sometimes embracing being alone. Of course, knowing that it's OK to turn to others when you need them is essential too.

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