One's perspective, or point-of-view, can have a huge impact on how we experience a situation. Take, for example, how different an event can be when perceived as "a glass half full" type event vs "a glass half empty" type event. One example: being annoyed about my bad luck when I got splashed by that car driving by way too fast Vs being thrilled about my good luck that the splash stopped me from stepping into the road and getting hit? Perspective can be the difference between a terrible day, and a great day.
I encourage a similar sort of concept when it comes to pet issues. By taking a pet-centric viewpoint (how does this impact my pet) rather than the perhaps more instinctive human-centric one (how does this impact me), we can really influence not only our general relationship with our pets but become more empathetic humans and maybe even improve our chances of successfully resolving a particular situation. This approach is especially helpful among cats, who are frequently, unfairly labeled as vindictive or jerks. A few examples of what I mean are below.
human-centric: my pet is giving me a hard time.
pet-centric: my pet is having a hard time.
human-centric: my cat is a snot who only lets me pet on her terms!
pet-centric: my cat gets to decide whether she's pet or not.
human-centric: my pet demands too much of my time.
pet-centric: it's my responsibility to make time for my pet, who only receives what I provide.
human-centric: My cat pees on my stuff to spite me.
pet-centric: My cat may be asking for help in a way that's normal for cats.
human-centric: my cat is an @hole when I have to give him meds. He's wasting my time and money.
pet-centric: my cat probably thinks I'm poisoning him bc the meds taste really bitter and cats are sensitive to bitter taste. He hates this more than I do!
human-centric: my jerk of a cat is wrecking my new furniture.
pet-centric: my cat is normal and has nail care needs that must be met.
human-centric: my cat drives me nuts when he pukes up his food after eating too fast.
pet-centric: my cat seems distressed when he throws up after eating too fast. Perhaps there's another way to feed him?
I think you get my point.
Often, cat owners simply aren't aware of what behaviors are NORMAL for cats, so you may not know WHY and that's ok! But if you just think to yourself, maybe this behavior I don't like is not about me, maybe my cat is doing this for a specific reason. Simply changing your perspective and being open to the idea that maybe, just maybe you don't know why something is happening but there may be a perfectly understandable reason; that shift in perspective can be incredibly helpful. It opens us up to empathy and patience. It allows for more observation and appreciation. And if you're ever unsure, just ask me and I might be able to translate for you. Though, sometimes I don't know either! Because cats gonna cat. But I'll do my best to help understand and also address or improve the situation.
In the meantime, check out these free infographics that might be useful, as well as a variety of articles and a couple of podcasts. And for those more nerdy folks looking to delve even deeper, here are some on-demand recordings to check out, as well as some more in-depth courses (click on "My Events").