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You Always Land on Your Paws

Submitted by GingerBlackstone on May 13, 2010 – 6:35 pmComments

Let’s talk about cats.  These lovable furrballs have some of the most admirable and idiosyncratic traits in the animal kingdom.

They find the sunniest spots to nap.

by polandeze

They usually get what they want, whether it takes wide-eyed, fuzzy-faced cuteness or persistent, squeaky-wheel meowing to get that toy, that extra tuna treat, or that five minutes curled in one’s lap.

They are adorable, mild pals but also ferocious hunters.

They are quick to react when it counts but lazy the rest of the time.

They always land on their feet.

Cats have a unique musculature that allows them the trust that they will, whether leaping or falling, land on their four paws.  One never sees a cat, even a very fat one, get nervous about a leap, or second-guess herself, or spend time before she ignites into action in anything other than zen relaxation until that time when something in her environment or mood prompts her to move.

When she moves, the action is quick, simple, and effective.

Cats never doubt that they will land upright in one way or another, and this permits them the laxness to be lazy and the focus to pounce, each in its own time.  They are like Chaplain’s Tramp, who gets a pie in the face but never garners pity because the audience knows he is unshakeable, that nothing can keep his lighthearted personality down for very long.

Contemplating choices about college and career this week, I took extra care to watch my cats as they tightroped across the narrow sink’s edge or leapt up and down from the top of my kitchen cabinets, where they like to slumber.  They never agonized over their actions, they jumped with joy and exhuberance, and they always landed upright, sniffing the air with curiosity for their next adventure.

I’ve said before that no matter what choisters choose to do, we’ll ultimately get where we’re going.  No pressure, no rush.  The fun part is that not only will we get there, but that the trip is filled with a million ways to test gravity, a plethora of ways to tumble and leap and fall, and still land on one’s feet with little of the risk we associate with “big decisions.”

Do one of the things you love, or all of them, and just try to fall flat.  It probably won’t happen, but if it does, remember that pie washes off, and that cats that land sideways spring to their default position: upright.

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