Be More Cat by Alison Davies – Book Review
By Helen Johnston
Having been owned by a cat for the past seven years, I can verify that felines have got life sussed.
For a start, they sleep up to 16 hours a day. And when they do wake up they do it sensibly, enjoying a long stretch and a bit of grooming before heading off on the prowl for a bit – and then settling down for another nap.
Our rescue cat Molly has wormed her way into our affections despite scratching the furniture, climbing all over us in the middle of the night, and meowing plaintively when she thinks she’s being ignored.
But her contented purr when she’s curled up beside me, or ‘kneading’ me gently with her paws, is a great stress-buster and proof she returns those affections.
Alison Davies has taken inspiration from her own two rescue cats to produce a beautifully illustrated guide to being more like them.
Using the magic number of cat lives, she reveals nine different qualities needed to live a happier and healthier life and be “feline fabulous”.
She starts with ‘catfulness’ and living in the moment, which includes taking time out to simply sit and stare, in the way that a cat will stay perfectly still and fix its gaze on something.
Alison acknowledges that this comes from being hunters and keenly aware of their environment, but the way cats allow their conscious mind to doze while their subconscious is appreciating the world from a distance is linked to meditation and mindfulness techniques.
Each chapter includes exercises and tips. So if you want to follow the cat nap rule – and quite frankly who wouldn’t? – you need to slow things down, establish a bedtime ritual and learn to understand your body’s natural rhythms. Doing some cat-like stretches through the day is also useful for relieving tension.
Other chapters give advice on cattitude (not caring what other people think of you), whisker wisdom (using your intuition), and fur of the moment fun (being spontaneous).
The final chapter on meow power provides an exercise in ‘purring’, along with advice on being honest, being appreciative, learning to say no and following your heart.
There are famous cat quotes throughout the book, including this from French thinker Hippolyte Taine: “I have studied many philosophers and many cats. The wisdom of cats is infinitely superior.”
When Molly fixes me with her superior gaze, I’m sure she’s thinking the same.
‘Be More Cat’ by Alison Davies is published by Quadrille, £7.99 hardback