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I've read that cats are one of only a few animals that can learn from watching. I've been able to see it several times.
A week ago Muffy was playing with a toy mouse on the stairs. She hit it with her paw and sent it flying but at the same time she hit one of those little wooden buttons that they use to cover screws. It made a very interesting noise as it hit the tile. I could see the lights going on in her furry little head as she looked from the button to the hole where it had been. Then she jumped down and played "pin ball" with it until it went under the closet door.
For days after that we would hear them hit the tile and little running kitty feet chasing them around. And every morning I would find a little pile of them in the closet. I now have a glass with over 20 buttons hidden in my desk waiting for her to forget what fun they are before I glue them in! But, so far, she still takes a swat at all the holes on her way down the stairs just to see if she missed one!
It has occurred to me that I happen to be someone who can learn from watching and experience, too. It also occurred to me that it would be very nice to not make the same stupid mistakes over and over. I usually remember what I've learned after whatever "it" is happens again!
Even dealing with people would be easier if we watch and learn—and then stop to think about what we've learned before we do. Think of all the buttons you wouldn't push, all the feelings you wouldn't hurt, and all the understandings that you wouldn't miss.
Old habits die hard but it sounds like a better way to live, I think I'll try it!
(She has also tried to answer the phone when I've let it ring too long but that's another story!)