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How to live like your cat / The Evening Standard

Why living like a cat could be the secret to happiness and success

A new book by French author Stéphane Garnier argues so


  • Monday 6 November 2017

There's a new role model in the capital. They have a good work/life balance (with an emphasis on the life part), they always look rested and bright-eyed, and they’ve even managed to negotiate a deal where they live in London but don’t pay rent. They’re universally popular, too. Everybody wants to be a cat.

A new book by French author Stéphane Garnier argues that the secret to happiness and success is living like your cat. Garnier undertook extensive research for his manual, immersing himself in the life of his own cat, Ziggy (they live on a houseboat in Lyon together). Here’s how to do it.


Cats don’t make their own tea, do their own printing or have to make their own PowerPoints for meetings. Instead, they carve out time for themselves, outsourcing the minutiae of life, like getting food and paying the bills, to humans. This makes the humans feel important — they are indispensable to someone else’s life. You can recreate this at work. Too often, managers fall into the trap of constantly checking the work of their employees. The result is wasted time, loss of autonomy for employees and too much work for the boss. A cat would never do this.

Stop over-thinking

Cats know how to let go. They have no sense of time, so they don’t stress, rather they focus on the moment. As a result their minds are unburdened and they are free to enjoy themselves.

Accept yourself as you are

Cats don’t wonder about what it would be like to be another cat or a different animal, say their ex’s new girlfriend or their friend who’s just got a new job they are envious of. They know these questions are pointless and can be destructive. Instead they are proud of who they are.

Adapt quickly

Cats always land on their feet, literally. This is because they know that getting their act together will mean they are free to enjoy the important things, like stretching out and lounging.

Assert yourself

If you step on a cast’s paw you will know, either from their agonised yowl or a claw in your leg. No one holds this against the cat because they have established their right to space.

Only do what you have chosen to do

Have you ever tried to make a cat go against its will? Exactly, it’s impossible. Channel this next time a friend wants you to go on a night out that you don’t fancy because it’s too expensive, or someone wants you to take on an admin-heavy work job. People will respect you for telling the truth, as they respect the cat.

Never miss an opportunity to relax

Cats are the masters of zen and they don’t wait for a day off or an invitation to a spa.

Free yourself from judgments

Cats don’t subscribe to the social tyranny of worrying about their reputation or whether they were too harsh to a colleague. And it’s paid off. They are excellent managers who don’t need to shout — their presence is enough to intimidate — and don’t expend unnecessary energy to create the impression of being busy.

Choose your own company

Cats don’t pretend to like people who are a burden to them. They know who is essential to their quality of life and will be loyal to them, showing empathy. Otherwise they get their claws out.

Avoid dogs.

How to Live Like Your Cat is out November 16, 4th Estate, £8.99.

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