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Cats have nine lives. What can we learn from them?

Learning from cats on how to cope with life-challenging events and yet, live fulfilling life

Learning from cats on how to cope with life-challenging events and yet, live fulfilling life

The story of cats having nine lives is well-known. It might seem true to anyone watching the fearless climbing of cats on roofs and tall trees.

This myth has existed for hundreds of years. Its origin is not well-known. The belief in the supernatural abilities of cats dates back to ancient Egypt, where cats were worshipped as gods and sacred animals.


Bastet, Egyptian goddess of protection, pleasure, and the bringer of good health. (Source: merged from and Gunawan Kartapranata, Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0)

Myth or not, what matters is the awareness of only one life. Well, we could argue that survivors have two lives, right? We who have survived a life-threatening illness or accident are invited to live and grab this second chance as if it were a cat’s ninth life.

Here are some ideas how we can make our lives better according to the cats’ rules, especially while facing difficult life-changing events.

Lesson 1: Put yourself first

Have you ever wondered why cats choose to do the things they do? Why do they suddenly decide to sit on your lap or to move to another room? Because they simply feel like it. We humans place too many stipulations around what we feel we “should” be doing at any given time.

katze sitzt in der sonne

Do you want to sit in the sun? Take your moment.

Cats are self-sufficient, and thus many consider them as selfish. However, this is not true. Cats have personality but not an ego. They just understand priorities. This gives us the important lesson to make ourselves a priority more often, especially if we tend to put ourselves last. It is not selfish. It is necessary.

Lesson 2: Perseverance pays off

A cat will sit beside you at the table as long as necessary to get what you have, even if there are just vegetables on the plate. It doesn’t care and insists because it knows that perseverance is almost always rewarded. If not, it will calmly go away and try another time.

katze auf ihren hinterbeinen

Cats are masters of perseverance.

Perseverance might be easy for cats, but for us it is sometimes hard to keep through trouble days. However, perseverance is essential to achieve our goals and dreams, no matter how unattainable they may seem. Even if we fail, it is a fail forward. Resilient cat spirit reminds us not to give up - never!

Lesson 3: Sleep is good

Cats know that there is never a bad time for sleeping. Of course, we do not need to sleep sixteen hours a day like cats, but we should have a healthy sleep schedule.

schlafende katze

Cats are the masters of sleeping. They invented two worldwide known relaxing tools: catnap and catnip.

There is no magic number of sleep hours, however, eight hours of sleep is a well-known average for adults. Babies are more like cats; they need more than 16 hours of sleep. If we get at least six or seven hours of quality sleep, i.e., in darkness and without disruption, if possible, this will be a great foundation for the healthy functioning of body and mind.

Lesson 4: Natural healers

Cats are believed to be natural healers. The vibration of their purring (20-150 Hz) might have therapeutic properties. No wonder that the old veterinary saying goes, “If you put a cat and a bunch of broken bones in a room, the bones will heal.”

There’s a beautiful film “A Street Cat Named Bob” about animal friendship and cat’s healing powers. The ginger street cat Bob helps the homeless London street musician James to recover from drug addiction.

Cats remind us that we also have inner strengths and encourage us to find our own “purr” to cope with life situations.

Lesson 5: Live in the moment

Painful memories about what our life used to be prevent us from being happy. Giving up the past helps us to live in the moment. Cats forgive quite easily. They may hold a grudge but not forever. So should we.

There is an interesting theory called hedonic treadmill saying that "people repeatedly return to their baseline level of happiness, regardless of what happens to them". Studies have shown that our actions, thoughts, and attitudes account for about 40% of our happiness, while only 10% is determined by external circumstances.

This suggests that we better act like cats: To be happy, we should occasionally put our past, our future and our worries aside and focus on the present.

Lesson 6: Sharing is caring

It is a great joy to share our home with animals. Cats know how to enjoy life and how to make a happy home. They will share with you a mouse or two, in appreciation of sharing your food and home with them.

katze in ihrem körbchen

Home is where the cats are. (Source: Armina, Association for animal protection Kranj, Slovenia)

Lesson 7: Be open-minded, make unusual friendships

When it comes to our furry companions, conversations often start with “are you a cat or a dog person?” Some people like dog’s loyalty; others love the curiosity of cats. Truth is that cats and dogs can develop a loving friendship. Moreover, cats shake paws with many other species: horses, rabbits, even mice. Sure, they might not like the neighbor’s dog, but that's because cats like who they like. They don’t pretend and don’t hesitate to show it.

hund und katze schmusen

Cats remind us to be open-minded and open-hearted.  We are all encouraged to let some unusual friendships into our lives, which puts ourselves out of our comfort zone and makes us experience things that we thought impossible before.


Not only we can learn a lot from cats, their presence can also be rewarding for our health. Research has shown significant cardiovascular benefits that are associated with having a pet and especially a cat. They can be our best friend and ˝therapy assistant˝ throughout life, reminding us that we are not alone. A folk saying states that if we pet a cat, we prolong their life and in return, they prolong ours. Therefore, we may truly say that cats can enrich our lives from many points of view!

Are you a cat person, or what animals do you like? Which “cat-skill” would you like to practice more in your life?

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