Monday, March 17, 2014

5 Things Kittiez Teach Us About Creativity and Finding Your Muse

Kitties at home. Kitties on the web. Kitties on my kitchen table. (Darn it all, not again. There goes the cheese. Where's the squirt gun?)

Cats are everywhere. Sooner or later, you either get tired of tripping over them and throw them outside, or you start paying attention to their little quirks and actually learn a few things.

Being physically incapable of saying no when a sick, puny, helpless stray cat shows up at my door, we’ve had a lot of cats over the course of the last five years. Hours spent watching the furry darlings chase each other around the house all day has imparted many bits of invaluable knowledge on grabbing onto inspiration with all eighteen claws.

Interesting Things Happen After Naps

If it seems like a cat sleeps all day, it’s because they do. Cats sleep an average of 15-20 hours a day. When they’re feeling tired, they sleep. When they wake up, they’re frisky and happy and ready to go. They know that the best things in life happen when they’re rested and ready to go.

Writers too often think they need to hold on to the starving artist persona, clinging to the belief that sleep is for the weak. But when you don’t sleep, your brain is too busy keeping you alive to come up with any moments of true brilliance. Take a nap. Let your mind rest. Then get up and do that thing that you do.

If It Moves, Pounce On It NOW

There hasn’t been a sock or a Barbie in this house in the last three years that hasn’t been dragged 
across the floor by a cat at least once. They don’t care if it’s four in the morning, those toes wiggling under the blanket gotta be chewed

To put it in more modern terms, most cats have an impulse control problem. The minute something catches their attention, they’re after it. How brilliant could your writing be if you were able to grab onto whatever sparked your imagination the second you saw it, instead of going back to what you were doing and hoping you’ll remember it later?

Don’t Be Afraid to Hang Out on a Window Screen or Two

Four cats. Three kids. Two adults. At least one electronic going at any point in time. Volcanic amounts of noise.

"Meow!" says the poor kitty that’s stuck outside, but no one can hear him.

Given that we live in the snow belt of upstate NY, being stuck outside isn't exactly something our cats love. One of our tomcats has come up with the perfect solution. If we don’t open the door the first time he meows, he takes a lap of the outside windows. One leap, a couple of claws through the mesh, and the next thing you know you’ve got 16 lbs of window ornament outside your glass. 

Needless to say, no one is ignoring that. To this day, he’s the only cat I know that does that.
Don’t be afraid to do something wild and unconventional (and a little bit creepy) so your voice can be heard.

Awesomeness Can Be Found In Unexpected Places

I never knew how amazing the belt on my housecoat could be until I had four cats chasing me around my kitchen while I was trying to make coffee. Cats are born knowing what we mere humans forget over time: That the world is a place of endless wonder, and awesomeness can be found in the most humdrum places if you're willing to set aside your preconceived notions and give it a go. 

Don’t Be Afraid to Snuggle

Snuggly kitties are one of life’s great joy. From our point of view, that’s easy to explain. They’re small. Warm. FLUFFY!

And they know it, which is how they get away with so much.

The amazing thing about cats is that it doesn't matter what else they've been doing all day. If you sit down, your lap is theirs for the taking. They can set aside whatever it is they planned on doing and enjoy that safe, warm spot that they know will always welcome them in.

Everyone needs a lap to snuggle on, whether that's a person or a favorite bookstore or a group of friends you see every Friday night. Find that one place where you know you'll be welcome, and that wants you to be uniquely you, and make yourself at home.

Image courtesy of Tina Phillips/

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