I recently found myself in a “love-hate” relationship with a family member in my house. It all happened less than a year ago when a friend of hubby moved out of the country and asked us if we could take over his cat Dundun. I wasn’t impressed by Dundun the first time I laid my eyes on her. She’s a very ordinary-looking short-haired black-and-white cat with some yellow hairs around her cheeks and a pink little nose (now I know she is a calico cat). I wanted to say no, but my friend told me that since he had no time to find a new owner, the only option for him was to leave Dundun with a shelter. If the shelter couldn’t find an owner within a week, Dundun might be put to sleep forever. Of course I couldn’t bear that thought, so without thinking through, I agreed to take Dundun to my house.
Part I. My Life Was Turned Up Side Down
1). For starters, this clumsy little creation has no respect for my hard work. She knocks off my precious collectables, scratches my furniture, and jumps around, leaving litter all over the floor. Her hair is everywhere, in the air, on my plate and on my clothes. The house smells like her poop. Now I have to work twice as hard to keep my house clean and organized.
2). She destroys my sleep. Although she has her own comfy bed, she keeps jumping onto our bed to sleep with us every night. We can’t move for fear to injure her in the dark and she sometimes wakes me up with her snoring. If we shut her out of our bedroom, this crazy cat keeps scratching the door and crying outside non-stop until we let her in again.
3). She is potentially threatening my relationship with my husband. Although I was the one who begged my husband to keep her, every since she came, she started a bond with my husband and follows him everywhere or sit around him all the time.
4). Finally what’s been killing me is that I don’ think she likes me because she is always ready to scratch, bite or kick me when I touch her or pick her up, but when it’s meal time, she will follow me around closely and meows with an innocent look on her face, which makes me think she lacks integrity. Anyway, I really wish I didn’t take the cat and could return her somewhere and get my normal life back!
Part II. Self Reflection and Learning
Sensing I was on the verge of some kind of depression, I decided to take some time to assess what went wrong in my relationship with Dundun. I realized that my cat adoption didn’t start off on the right paw due to lack of mental preparation and knowledge of cat ownership. Because the decision was made in such a hurry, I didn’t do my homework such as take time to understand what cat ownership entails and how to raise a healthy and happy cat. It’s not Dundun’s fault. Not knowing what to expect before I took on this huge ownership may have created this problem. I started reading about cat ownership as well as consulting with friends who have cats. I learned that owning a cat is a long-term commitment. It involves spending time with your cat, taking care of her, understanding what she wants, teaching her disciplines. Cats aren’t as high maintenance as puppies, but they still need plenty of love, attention and patience. I need to spend more bonding time with my cat, give her a lot of praise when she cooperates and respect her and not treat her like a toy like I used to.
Part III. Enjoy Your Companion for Life – It’s a Win-win
Now equipped with the right knowledge and preparation, I can definitely see a positive change in our relationship. She has become more affectionate and chatty towards and is more interested in spending time with me. The more I discovered about these amazing creatures, the more I love my Dundun, and started to appreciate the joy of having a cat in my life. For example, she can sit by the window for hours looking at the birds and getting entertained without bothering us; if she decides to have an intimate moment with me, she will jump on to my lap and place her face next to mine and place her two paws on my neck and stares at my face bluntly; she does such a good job cleaning herself all the time from head and tail that after you touch her, she has to re-lick the spot you touch.
Part IV. Conclusion
Cat ownership is a long-term relationship. Like many things in life, there is a lot of giving and taking in it. As long as you know what to expect and be prepared for it, it is a wonderful ride! Cats are so cute. How can you resist? After all, I saved her life and the feeling about taking care of another life makes me feel powerful and fulfilling. Now I find myself attached to and in love with that adorable little creation. I think we both win: Dundun found loving parents and I have a companion that provides a lifetime of love.
It’s that time again: the beginning of a new year – the best time to make new-year resolutions that impact our lives. Top on my list is regular exercise. It may sound trivial, but I can’t even remember the last time I exercised. As I learned more about the benefits of regular exercise, I realized that it is something no one can afford not doing it. Therefore, I am documenting why I decide to make regular exercise part of my new-year resolution so I can always come back here whenever I feel tempted not to stick to it.
The benefits of regular exercise impact every aspect of one’s daily life because it:
- Improves your immune system so you can stay healthier and love longer
- Reduces risk of developing medical conditions including heart disease, stroke, diabetes, high blood pressure and cancer. (Studies from Journal of National Cancer Institute have shown 3.8 hours of exercise per week may reduce breast cancer risk by 58%.)
- Builds strong muscles, bone, stable joints; improves flexibility and reduces injury
- Improves mental health. People who exercise regularly are less likely to be depressed
- Improves one’s appearance, delays the aging process and boosts self-confidence.
- Promotes better sleep, which leads to concentration & productivity
Overcome my barriers to regular exercise with practical tips
- Can’t stay motivated – I’m too tired to exercise after working all day. Without exercise, you’ll have no energy. It’s a vicious cycle. Breaking the cycle with physical activity is the best way. Try simple steps: get up 30 minutes earlier to exercise or walkout during lunch break; prepare ahead – keep workout clothes and shoes in your car; plan physical activity for times of the day when you tend to feel more energetic, and remember why you’re exercising.
- Can’t find the time for Exercise. We know fitness is important, but our days are so packed with other things, exercise seems to be the easiest one to skip. Well, the key is to make it convenient for you and make activity part of your daily life. If you don’t have time for a full workout, shorter spurts of exercise accumulated throughout the day offer benefits, too.
- Cross-training is an easy way to add variety to your exercise program and reduce risk of injury. Alternating between a high-impact activity, such as running, and a low-impact activity, such as cycling, can help you avoid overuse injuries and keep you interested. Keep in mind a well-balanced exercise routine includes aerobic exercise, strength training, and flexibility training.
- How often should we exercise? WHO recommends one hour a day of moderate activity most days of the week to maintain good health. Some people may assume that more is better. Wrong! Doing too much too soon or performing intense exercises on a daily basis may backfire on your body and muscles. To me, setting my goal to exercise three days per week is realistic, safe and effective.
It is easy now for me to see why regular exercise is wise. In addition to the benefits it does to our mind and health, the expression “use it or lose it” also holds true here! If you don’t use your body, you will surely lose it. Your muscles will become weak. Your heart and lungs won’t function efficiently. And your joints will be stiff and easily injured. Inactivity is as much of a health risk as smoking! I am committed to making regular exercise my lifestyle choice to become a healthier me starting this year.