Curiosity Informs the Cat

One of the (many) things I love about cats is their innate curiosity. One night at a Dark Follies band rehearsal, the man who was hosting the practice at his home had some friends stop by, a bit earlier than they’d said they would. They’d brought their big dog with them. The friends and the dog hung out in the kitchen until the end of the rehearsal, which was being held in the living room. The host has a couple of cats, one of whom is a yearling male named Timothy. Apparently this was Timothy’s first encounter with a dog, up close and personal.

First, he backed away, tail and fur bristling, eyes wide. He streaked through the living room and hid upstairs. Before long, though, he returned, looking a bit calmer, and sneaked cautiously out toward the kitchen door. He saw the dog, and POOF! there went the fur again, and again he backed off. This time he only retreated to the living room, hiding under the skirts of one of the band members and peeking out. This back-and-forth process was repeated a few times, until Timothy could remain quite calm upon seeing the strange canine intruder.

The look on this adorable cat’s face when he was moving forward toward the kitchen said it all: “It’s scary, yes, but I just have to know! What is it?”

Timothy shows his curious nature…

Sure, I know curiosity sometimes gets cats into trouble, but more often than not, it probably entertains and informs them. It does me, anyway. I love to learn new things, and will often follow up with some research on an intriguing tidbit I’ve read or heard about. Even when I’m drawn to learn something that seems a bit on the frightening side, like performing music in front of an audience, most of the time I’m willing to put my discomfort aside and see what the situation has to teach me. And often it’s very rewarding.

I think curiosity is an integral part of creativity and education. Without that wondering, that pondering – “How can I solve this problem?” “How can I craft something unique?” “What would happen if I…?” – there wouldn’t be that strong drive to create something new. Inventors, scientists, and artists are motivated by this inner need to figure it out.

Without the desire to know, learning becomes rote and boring. Forced learning is an awful feeling. Just ask any kid sitting in a classroom, watching the clock while filling out repetitive worksheets. It’s not that they don’t want to learn; it’s just that this wasn’t where their curiosity would have taken them today.

Do you follow your own inner curiosity? The subjects that we find intriguing are different for each of us. Follow your intuition, stalking knowledge and wisdom like a persistent feline. When something captures your interest, follow up and learn more. See where it takes you. Let your curiosity lead you on a delightful path of life-long learning and joy.

Tell me what you think!