I was never a big fan of cats when I was growing up. It wasn’t because I didn’t like them – I just never had much use for them. I mean, what’s the point? They don’t fetch things; they don’t sit on command, roll over or play dead. And most of the time cats don’t come to you when you call them. They want everything on their terms.
The other knock I had on cats was the smell. (It’s like fish – I just couldn’t get past the smell). I knew if someone had a cat the moment I walked into their place. I now realize it had more to do with the cat owner’s hygiene practices and less to do with the cat. My older brother has a cat, but unless you saw the cat running around – you’d never know it. My brother is fanatical about cleanliness. (Some people – me included – might suggest that he is downright anal about it). He cleans his cat’s litter tray at least 3 times a day and sprinkles the kitty litter with deodorizer to ward off any offensive odors.
Have you ever met someone for the very first time and didn’t like them? For whatever reason, you just didn’t like them? You couldn’t put your finger on exactly why – you just didn’t like them. But after spending some time with them – and getting to know them better – did you change your mind? That’s like me and cats. My first impression about cats changed after baby sitting my ex-wife’s cat – Cali (As in calico – the coat of many colours) I now think Cats are kinda cool. I discovered that cats can be managed – you just need to manage them differently. If you think about it, the same can be said about managing people. One management style does not fit all. Managers will be far more successful managing others if they modify their management style to be more in-tune with the person (or in my case – the cat) they are working with. They will be far more receptive if you manage them in a style that they like.
Here are my top five tips for managing cats. Feel free to substitute cats for people when and where you see fit.
Be Patient: Cat’s perform better at their own pace. They will eventually do what you want them to do – it just may take longer than you’d like. Unless it’s something critical or urgent,try backing off – take a deep breath, and chill out. Be patient; learn to pick your battles. Sometimes you have to give up control to get control.
Be Forgiving: Cat’s don’t hold a grudge and you shouldn’t either. People make mistakes. And when they do, you need to get over it and move forward. Have your “Teachable Moment” and don’t keep punishing them for past transgressions. There is no future in the past; if you get my drift. They are ok – it’s what they did that wasn’t. Don’t try to change them – change what they did.
Be Consistent: Cat’s can be trained if you apply the “Rule” fairly and consistently. Being consistent is the key. Maintain your standards; don’t settle for less than what you want. Never, ever lower your standards. Standards should never be open for debate. How you get there – can be. If they know that you are going to call them on it – each and every time they allow the standard to slip – they will toe the line. Remember you teach people how to treat you. If they figure you’ll let them get away with a less than stellar performance – they will continue to give you a less than stellar performance.
Follow-Up: Cat’s do what you inspect not what you expect. Check in on them once in a while to see what they are up to. You need to monitor their performance. If left alone for too long you may discover that they have wandered off course. Managing is about finding a balance between over and under managing. Everyone likes to be managed a certain way. Find that way and manage them accordingly. Some need more direction and guidance than others.
Allow Playtime: Cat’s need their playtime. It can’t be all work all of the time. We all need some time to put our feet up on our desk and do absolutely nothing. We all need time to de-stress and recharge our batteries. Energized people are more productive and easier to be around.
So the next time you have an opportunity to baby sit a cat – try these five tips and see if it goes a little easier and less frustrating for you. 🙂 Cheers, (Oh – by the way. I now own two cats – Minnie and my ex-wife’s cat Cali)