Sometimes being a multipod can feel lonely. In our everyday lives most of us are surrounded by specialists, and it can seem like we are moving through life on our own.
But, as I was thinking this squirrel-like thought recently, my cat walked across my desk and suddenly I knew I was not alone, because cats are very like multipotentialites. Since cats are said to have 9 lives, I thought I’d give you 9 similarities between them and us.
1. Oh Look, a Squirrel!
Have you ever watched a cat sit at a window, watching birds and making chirping noises? And have you seen an outdoor cat eat a meal of high-end wet cat food and then run outside, climb up the bluebird house pole and pull a baby bluebird out as a chaser? Have you ever watched a cat chasing squirrels? Sometimes they even catch them.
All of these activities show that cats chase their dreams. They see something they want and chase after it (even if it is a little red dot).
This is what happy multipods do – we chase our dreams. Sometimes our ideas seem to be as random as squirrels crossing our paths, but however they find us (or however we find them), we allow ourselves to follow them and whichever paths they lead us down.
Like cats, we sometimes get into trouble with others for our chasing habits. Sometimes we even get bitten. A squirrel once nipped Nico. My husband said to me, “Is her backside supposed to look like this?” After I told him that, no, it wasn’t, he took her to the vet, and I got the funniest text I’ve ever received: “Nico bit on @$$. Vet said, ‘Ewwwwww!’”
Sometimes we feel like poor Nico; we chase a dream but it bites us in the @$$. Yet, like Nico, we can’t help ourselves. We lick our wounds, pick ourselves up, and continue to chase. And joy! Sometimes we catch something big and juicy.
2. We are Easily Distracted
Cats can go from napping to bathing to chasing a red dot in a matter of minutes. They are easily distracted. I don’t know what your version of the little red dot is, but for me it can be a new piece of software to test, a new camera to play with, a new piece of music to learn, a new book to read… You get the idea!
What distracts you? How do you cope with shiny object syndrome? Puttylike is an excellent place to find ideas on balancing the exploration of new ideas with living in the “real world.”
3. We Have Strong Feelings about Boxes
Some of the most-viewed videos on YouTube are those of cats squeezing themselves into boxes. Some of my favorites are of an extremely persistent cat called Maru. This cat will try to squeeze himself into anything that resembles a box. Maru manages it most of the time, even if the box is extremely small.
How does this relate to us as multipods? I don’t know about you but I absolutely dread filling out standard application and informational forms. The box I need is never there. I always want to add more information than there is room for. I’ve had secretaries tell me, “Hey, you can’t do that. You can’t add your own text. You have to fill in a box – only ONE box. Hey, you can’t make your OWN box!” Frustrating!
Unlike cats, I try to avoid boxes most of the time. When it comes to “thinking outside the box,” my response is usually, “There was a box? What box? I didn’t see a box…” Sound familiar?
In short, both cats and multipods find boxes challenging, but I think cats enjoy these challenges more than we do!
4. We Love Books
Have you ever noticed how cats love to stretch out and rest on any open book they see? Mine particularly love the book I’m trying to read at the time. My little cat, Miss C, loves books so much that she wants to eat them up. I’ve caught her chewing the corners of my hardbacks on many occasions. So I’ve come to the conclusion that cats love books.
I love books, too. When I travel, I bring books. On my artist’s retreat this past summer, I traveled with a personal library (or so people joked). Even with electronic books, I still love the feel of holding a book and turning the pages. I use my tablet and phone to read as well, but I love my personal library and feel fortunate to have it. I started collecting books as a child, and now when I move, books are the bulk of my belongings.
Do you have a personal library? Who else loves LibraryThing? Even if you are not a personal library person, do you love books? The multipods I have met often have a more minimalist attitude toward the personal library situation, but almost always seem to love books as much as cats do.
5. Catnaps are (or Should be) a Way of Life
Since cats inspired the naming of these short, restorative naps, I like to think of them as the masters of the nap. They know how to nap almost anywhere and at any time. Again, YouTube has many popular videos of cats napping in all sorts of places.
When I was a kid, my mother told me, “Learn to sleep anywhere. It will serve you well later. Being able to tune out the world around you is a skill you’ll find useful for the rest of your life.”
She was right. I have been known to fall asleep at fencing matches with the buzzers going off all around me, on noisy trains, and on planes with screaming babies. When you have as much going on as we do, you have to sneak in sleep whenever you can.
6. “Like Herding Cats”
Cats are not pack animals. The funniest commercial I’ve ever seen was the EDS Superbowl cat herding video. Seeing that enormous herd of cats running, crossing a river, and being herded by cowboys rolling balls of yarn, using a lint roller, and showing off their scratches, really brought this phrase to life for me.
One of my interests is cat photography, and I know from firsthand experience how difficult it is to herd cats. For regular jobs, I hire an assistant, but for the cat jobs, I hire a wrangler!
What about herding multipods? I had to attempt this when I ran a concert series. Many of our artists were impressive multipotentialites of the highest order and I felt I needed a wrangler then, too. Luckily I had wonderful student assistants, and they learned how to help “herd” faculty artists. It was an interesting process.
I believe we have our own interests and our own ways of doing things, so we are not easily herded. We do not have a pack or herd mentality. We operate as individuals, which brings me to number 7.
7. Independent Thinking is the Only Option
Cats know they are independent thinkers and they are fine with that. In fact, I think they embrace it. Want a cat to do something? Good luck, unless the cat wants to do that exact same thing.
I think multipotentialites spend a lot of time and energy worrying about being different. In this sense, we would do well to become copy cats (sorry, I couldn’t help it!) and to embrace our independent spirits.
8. We are Very Particular When it Comes to People
Have you ever noticed how cats pick their people? My cat, Nico, picked my husband. She was Rick’s through and through. She loved him and, if she had been human, there would have been a problem. Since she was the cat who taught him not to hate cats, I loved her dearly, even when she gave me dirty looks when I walked in on them snuggling.
Like cats, since we as multipotentialites are so independent (see number 7 above), we are very particular about our people. We hate to be around people who don’t understand us, and we thrive when we surround ourselves with people who support us. That’s why Puttylike is such a magical place; the multipods here are our people – our tribe.
And that brings us to number 9 – the obvious 9 in this blog post.
9. Cats and Multipods Have (at Least) 9 Lives
It’s not clear where the superstition about cats having 9 lives originated, but it may have come from Egypt, where cats were thought to have many special powers.
Cats are said to have 9 lives in the sense that they have a knack for surviving perilous adventures. (That said, sometimes I think my cats are multipods, too, what with all their sneaking off to play on the internet when I’m not looking, reading books in my personal library, making music on all of my instruments, and then napping when I’m around!)
Have you ever felt like you have 9 lives? Not because you have close scrapes with death (at least I hope you don’t!), but because you have 9 careers, 9 big projects, or 9 hobbies? Perhaps you even have more.
So far, I’ve worked professionally as a cello teacher, a musicology tutor, a museum curator, a camping shop assistant, a biochemistry lab assistant, a musical instrument dealer, a photographer, faculty in residence, and a fencing coach. What are you going to do with your many lives?
Can you think of any other ways in which multipods are like cats? What are your nine (or more) lives?
Dr. Brenda Scott is a fine art photographer, writer, and cellist. Originally trained as a musician and organologist, she has worked as a curator of a small musical instrument museum and her Stagville: Black & White exhibit has been displayed at the North Carolina Museum of History and is currently on tour. She enjoys teaching and holds degrees from the University of Oxford, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Auburn University, and the Academy of Art University. View her work at brendascottarts.com or follow her on Twitter @brendascottarts.