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Do cats meditate?

Your cat proves he’s the master of relaxation every time he naps at the drop of a hat or purrs himself into oblivion while stretched out on the floor in a ridiculous posture.

When your cat sits motionless, gazing intently or zoning out, though, he’s the master of meditation. Cats apparently have more nerve cells than humans in a part of their cerebral cortex that emits a higher degree of alpha waves. Detected with an EEG, alpha waves are associated with relaxation and contemplation. These waves manifest during a relaxed mental state in both humans and cats. Apparently, cats maintain an alpha mode throughout most of their waking hours. You could call it the Zen Zone. That would make cats Zen gurus.

These four-legged masters of meditation can teach us, humans, a thing or two about reaching this powerful state of tranquility. If we could take cues from the way cats interact and exist in their environment, we too might more easily activate our alpha waves in order to calm our minds and bodies.

Focus is not an issue for cats. Cats aren’t plagued by racing thoughts like we humans are. They’re not stressed about hunting prey, where they’ll sleep, or whether they need to scope out food. They just lie around with not a care in the world. Sure, they’re easily distracted, but they are experts when it comes to focus. Have you ever sat back and watched your cat peering outside from their perch on a window sill? They can sit motionless for long periods of time, staring as if in a trance, unaffected by the world around them. If only we as cat parents could be as intent.

A cat’s purr is like a form of chanting. Cats use their purring abilities to effectuate calm and relieve stress. Almost like a form of chanting in meditation practices, purring helps a cat achieve peace. Unfortunately, humans don’t have a built-in purring mechanism like cats, but your kitty’s purr can be therapeutic. Tuning in to your cat’s calming vocalizations can help you relax and reset.

Cat’s are pros at unwinding. One minute your cat is chasing a laser around the room, darting and pouncing and sliding across the floor in hot pursuit of what he envisions as a mouse or a bug skittering about in his space. When he’s had enough, which could be rather abrupt, he might just plop himself down in the middle of the floor, roll over on one side, and drift off in seconds. How he manages to flip the switch so suddenly and be at rest so quickly is just downright unfair. Downshifting should be that easy for cat parents!

Cats do what makes them happy! Whether it’s chasing bugs, jumping into and out of a cardboard box, or flinging a toy mouse around the house, cats find activities that bring them contentment. They don’t take life too seriously and they know how to have fun. Just watching your cat do the things that bring him joy can have positive residual effects for you as well.

Next time you see your cat “meditating,” consider joining her in the Zen Zone. You may just find yourself feeling much more centered, calm, and collected. If you’re lucky, you might even be able to squeeze in a catnap afterwards.