A Lesson From Foghat

This is Foghat. He is 15 months old.

He’s one of my ‘inquisi-kitties’ who likes to see what I’m doing, and get involved. Most memorably, he reached for a paintbrush, and landed his tail in my paint palette.

He’s also my ‘ADHD cat’. Very hyper. I’ve not known a kitty before him to play fetch, yet he will bring me a stuffed toy and chase after it.

The lesson I learned from him has to do with attention.

Foghat’s process and how that relates to whisperings from the Universe

When Foghat wants attention, he starts with sitting at my feet. This is the point that an idea starts whispering.

I’m usually engrossed in something, so he quickly moves to the next stage, which is scratching at my ankle. The idea wants us to hear, so it starts nagging a bit.

If he hasn’t caught my attention, Foghat escalates to clawing at my leg. I move my leg out of reflex, and may put a hand down to scratch behind his ears. The idea starts invading your focus, really wanting attention now.

Sometimes this is enough, to acknowledge his presence. Other times, he begins to cry. The idea maybe isn’t ready quite ready for action, and just wants acknowledgement. Or, the idea says ‘drop what you’re doing now and pay attention.’

If I try to pick him up to cuddle, he will push his front feet against my chest until I let him go, and I still get scratches. Ideas, like cats, want attention on their terms and won’t be satisfied with a quick fix.

This happened yesterday. And I had an epiphany.

Some context

In the past, I learned to push down feelings, and didn’t talk about a lot of issues. Over time, I suppressed so much that I would explode with little provocation. I’d eventually work stuff out, after a lot of unnecessary pain.

I decided it’s better to feel things as they happen even though processing those old hurts interrupts my life at times. I’m happier than I’ve been in a long time, although sometimes it really bites.

I’ll spare you the internal thought process around an uncomfortable-for-me idea. I didn’t want to deal with it, and really wanted to push this thought down and suppress it. In doing that, a funk settled over me and nothing was making it go away.

The lesson

Ideas and emotions want our acknowledgement, because they need it to mature into understanding. When I realized this, I scribbled my thoughts and feelings into a notebook and the funk started to lift.

Sometimes when an idea pokes at us, it just wants to be scratched behind the ears. To ignore it is to invite being clawed.

Your turn + Comment Zen

Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments. You don’t have to agree with my ideas here, but I ask you be nice about it.



  1. Foghat is adorable! Our calico cat Chloe *loves* to play fetch, but only with a certain kind of stuffed mouse. (If you’re interested in seeing a photo of her bringing her mouse back for another toss, there’s a pic here http://subtleharmony.com/2010/11/21/chloe/ – I could talk kitties and look at kitty photos all day!)

    I think what you said about ideas and emotions wanting our acknowledgment is so, so right. I’ve found that if I don’t pay attention to an idea, it might just go away and not come back. (Which sucks if it seemed like a *good* idea!) And if it’s a difficult idea – or if it’s an emotion – and I don’t acknowledge it, I usually end up paying for it later in one way or another. And I am *so* tired of having that happen… but sometimes it still happens because I’m not always ‘up to’ paying attention and acknowledging.

    • Chloe is adorable!

      • Thanks – she’s a sweetie (and can be a handful sometimes)! I keep looking at that picture of Foghat and wanting to give him a snuggle-cuddle. Those eyes! And that face! And those cute feet!!! (I really do love kitty photos!)

  2. Watching other people’s epiphanies is so awesome. Love this.

    • I love seeing other people figure stuff out, but it’s been surreal to be that person figuring something like this out.

  3. I love this line: “Sometimes when an idea pokes at us, it just wants to be scratched behind the ears. To ignore it is to invite being clawed.”

    (and yes, I get idea-clawed a lot)

    (also, Foghat is beautiful!)

  4. I enjoyed this. 🙂 <3


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