Wednesday, June 24, 2009 2:35 PM

If You Want to Learn How to Relax, Watch a Cat

Many years ago, a local newspaper carried a syndicated medical column whereby people would write in to ask the physician's advice on various health problems. I read it religiously, as I love those type of columns; not only because one can learn a lot, but because they are often very humorous. The title of this post is some advice (paraphrased) this doctor gave to one person who needed tips on how to reduce stress levels. I laughed out loud, I recall, because I knew exactly what he meant. Stretch (loosens muscles). Yawn, sigh (increases blood oxygen, reduces blood pressure). Sleep in the sun or near a woodstove. This last is from personal observation: cats turn into putty under these conditions. In fact, it is difficult to get them to get up at all, except for mealtime. I don't really suggest you try it, though, since our internal thermostats don't seem to work as well as cats' do (remember the last time you fell asleep in the sun?).

Which brings me to the subject of cat beds. Since J. and I spend quite a bit of time at the keyboard for work purposes, we sometimes have to meld petting a cat with computer work. The usual offender is Miss Thing, who will yell for attention and push all your papers, pens, etc. onto the floor unless you physically restrain her in your lap and pet her. Keeping her comfortable can be tricky and annoying (not that she cares) for us, so we thought we'd shop for one of those fuzzy, foam oval type things with sides that would make it easier to keep her in place and actually get some work done. Simple, right? That is, until we started actually shopping for one.

We looked in department stores, but the ones we found were either too big or too floppy (a firm bottom in this case, as in most situations in life, is very desirable). They also seemed a bit pricey, with decent quality ones priced upwards of $50. Ditto for the pet supply store we visited. So, I decided to look online.

To be honest, I never dreamed that there were these many types of cat beds in the world. I can't even tell you how many pages came up in Google, because I got tired of clicking on the highest page number after half a dozen clicks. I think last count was fifty-something pages of cat beds! Truly mind-boggling. There are, for your information: Round, oval, flat, square and rectangular cat beds. They can be placed on the floor, or elevated in an actual bed frame. There are pillow, cave, tunnel, mat, hanging (which uses "wasted space"), tent and sill attachment styles. They can be heated, or unheated. The prices run from $7-$8 to $1,757.50, this latter being a work of art resembling the planet earth, but made for your cat to lounge upon. I encourage you to visit this particular site, and mosey around. It is truly a hoot!

For people like me, whose cats consider the world their beds anyway, this is just sensory overload. Dedicated cat beds in this house consist of our cast-off bedspreads, pillows and quilts, so I guess the chances of my actually spending money on one of these miracles of marketing is, well, slim to none. We'll figure something out. Hmmm, how about that old laundry basket over there...

Book Pick: An Arsonist's Guide to Writers' Homes in New England, by Brock Clarke. This novel was very entertaining, creative and definitely not formulaic. Enjoy!
Chat later!


Anonymous Says:
June 30, 2009 at 4:56 PM

You are so right - when I watch my cat I really do feel more relaxed! They really have their priorities staight!

Thanks for your blog!

- Alison

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Amanda has worked with animals for many years and has always had cats in her life. She lives in Massachusetts with her husband and two excellent cats.
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