Purrposeful Living


Cats say inappropriate things. Often. Just can’t help themselves. Or can they? They never learned appropriate vocabulary, nuance, inflections. Or did they?

Responsibility for humans is to garner more information while keeping them safe, ourselves as well, and making positive strides forward. That might include backing away, standing still, and sometimes leaving them alone entirely. Not forever but just until we get our own litter box in order and behave in a way that will bring out the best in the Cats. One such idea is at the end of this writing.* 

People who know me know I love Rabbit Holes of Learning. No clear paths, definitions, purpose = just there for the exploration. A Cat’s purr is a prime example. Fascinating! The more I learn; the less I know. Which is actually a place I love to be… ready to learn more. “What’s next?” or “Who’s next?” has kept me primed for 45+ years. When I do shelter / rescue work, I say: Bring me your 5 worst. And they do!! From horny Iguanas to feral Cats to slaughterhouse rescues to captured Mustangs. What do they all have in common?


Fear of people.

Anger or its flipside: depression.

Desire to adapt. Strive to thrive.

How can we improve what we do not see? Yoda would say: “Look harder.”


Researching for this piece, I arrived at a place, once again, where I asked: are we smart enough to know how smart animals are – to steal the title of Franz de Waal’s excellent book. Meowing, growling, purring, and chirping are primal, complex, and the coolest stuff ever, #1 because we (humans) have no clue what, how, and the why of it all.

We are trying to figure out how 65 million years of garnered intelligence works using our stone age technology, comparatively speaking. Universities, private labs, researchers, and some of the most brilliant minds are on the hunt for definitive answers, most of which are still elusive = secrets of every Feline.

I can hear the outrage and clamor now of those who buy into the latest studies. Good. I am glad you believe in something. Hang on to that for a while and watch it invariably be refuted by the next latest and greatest study.

*My belief, shared by millions, is if we want to know something about our animals; then ask them. Simple as that. Difficult part for people is to not argue with their answers. If you cannot hear them; then ask the perfect conversation starter, ask their permission: “May I ask you a question?

Every Feline is a unique individual sharing similar “wiring.” Caring for animals we have in captivity, be it a zoo enclosure or a living room – is our inherited responsibility. In order to be responsible stewards; we are obligated to meet all their needs. If the science, the studies, and the data get us closer to that goal; count me in. Otherwise, I am going to wait for a Cat to turn up and tell me ‘what’s what.'