My rescue cat, Lilac, is pretty set in her ways. Her daily routine is the same every day, as far as I can tell. Every morning she is waiting for me to give her breakfast and then she follows the sun and lounges in every sunny spot. By late morning, she is lounging on the back of the loveseat pretending to nap, but with one eye open looking to see that no unwelcome visitors venture into her domain. Early afternoon finds her really napping in the loft.
I would say Lilac is in her comfort zone, and when things in the zone change, Lilac is not very happy and she lets us know about it in no uncertain terms. She becomes cranky and upset, she lashes out at whoever happens to be available, and it takes some time for her to come to terms with a change. This behavior certainly mimics how people react when something changes in their lives. So the question that I have been pondering is: Do cats imitate us or do we imitate cats?
Everyone has their routines and comfort zones, and they are usually similar to the beings they live, work, or hang out with on a regular basis. When something or someone disrupts the routine or pace of life that has been constant for so long and change occurs, the entire environment and atmosphere around us becomes disoriented and confused. This happens throughout our lives and usually we can quickly adjust and accept life changes within a reasonable length of time and with minimal attitude.
However, the older we get the harder it is to cope and accept changes in our life. I have had this conversation with family members of clients, and they have told me that their parent is acting strange, not like their usual calm, compliant self. The parent is upset, angry, emotional, and just plain nasty. They do not understand why because the changes they are proposing or making are meant to make the parent’s life easier and happier. Yet their parent is acting out, just like a teenager!
So to get back to my questions of who is imitating whom, I believe the answer is a little bit of both! It seems like it is a natural instinct to resist change in our lives. We all resist and try to make changes to the change; it is natural whether we are infants or senior citizens. Even Lilac, my cat, finds way to work within the changed environment to make the change acceptable to her. Lilac doesn’t like a cover on the love seat so she works and works at pulling and punching a portion of the throw off until she has sufficient space for her nap! My cat uses a passive aggressive attitude toward change, hoping that we will give in.
Once we can accept that changes are difficult for everyone, we can begin to understand and try to overcome the attitudes and passive aggressive behaviors while working to convince and accommodate everyone involved with the change.
“God grant me the serenity to accept the people I cannot change, the courage to change the one I can, and the wisdom to know it’s me.” ~Author Unknown