Someone gave me a book recently. It’s called All I Need to Know I Learned From My Cat, written by an intelligent person, obviously! One of the things learned was: ask for attention (use negative attention-getting ONLY as a last resort). It started me thinking.
Some wise soul once said “Cats are like children—with fur.” It’s true. They want attention and, like children, they will get it any way that works! When we first got our little furry friend we had plants in the house—until she started sitting in them. I tried everything to get her to leave them alone—so they became the thing to use for attention. Anytime I started to read, or talk on the phone, or do anything that actually required attention I would hear the familiar sounds of cat-in-plants. One by one the plants were “sat to death” until the only one left was one that I thought would be safe—a hanging spider plant. She still succeeded in getting the attention she wanted, though! I would hear sounds of kitty-climbing-curtain and go into the room in time to see her jump into the plant and sit there with her little furry face peering out from among the greenery—swinging like Tarzan!
Now, of course she is much more mature and lady-like (and we no longer have any plants!). When I sit down to read she will come running up and sit on the back of my chair and scratch on the scratching post on the wall there—a very good-girl thing to do. But the way she seats herself she is also able to swat me in the face with every swish of her tail! It works—she has my attention!
I have also noticed, though, that when I give her some attention and play with her for awhile she is content and lets me do what I need to do. And it is the same way with children—or adults for that matter. People need cheerleaders, playmates, etc. When we give each other the attention we all need then we don’t have to find negative ways to get it. Over time the negative ways become habits that are hard to change.
Maybe putting “attention” on my to-do list will help me remember that each of us needs some as part of each day’s living.. I think I’ll try it!
©Micki Parkinson, an editorial from the SPEP church newsletter