Mind Your Mood

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Knox relaxing on the back porch during his healthy days. This is the body posture of a cat who is very relaxed and feeling secure.

Have you ever noticed how our energy or mood affects the people around us?   Has your boss, co-worker, partner, or friend ever been in a bad mood and you had to sit there and “live it” with them?  How did you feel when you were stuck there, absorbing their muck of a mood?  Did you notice your mood shift?  Did you want to get away from that negative space?  When this happens to me, I find that it can drain my energy, stress me out, or bring me down if I don’t find a way to leave the situation or find something positive to focus my attention on.  This kind of situation is not unlike what happens when we are in a bad mood or stressful state of mind when we are around our animal companion(s).

Let’s talk science for a bit.  Scientists have proven that everything is energy.  In 1905, Albert Einstein proved that when matter is broken down into smaller and smaller components, we move beyond the material realm and into the place where everything is simply energy.  This is the Law of Vibration, which is a law of nature.

Every atom, molecule, particle, and subatomic particle is literally energy vibrating.  We interact with this energy every day and every moment.  Every feeling, person, and object is all energy vibrating at a different frequency.  This includes the house or room you are in, the chair or sofa that you are sitting on, the desk or coffee table in front of you, the animal in the room, and even you.  Objects, people, trees, and animals may look and feel solid, but we are all different levels of energy vibrating at different speeds.

Science shows us that everything is made up of energy and exchanges that with everything else at all times in a most complex way. It is the building block of all matter. The same energy that composes your flesh is the same one that composes the bricks of your house and the trees outside. It is all the same. It is constantly at flow, changing form all the time. This is a very simple explanation of a rather complex thing.” David Cameron

Animals are programmed to notice the slightest changes in their environment.  Energy is not excluded.  It’s encoded in their DNA for safety and survival.  Our companion animals are not immune to noticing shifts in energy or changes in the environment.   They may live under our manmade roofs, but their instincts are still present and always ON.  When our energy becomes drained, or our mood shifts to a lower energy, it becomes evident to people and especially to animals.

Recently, I had the opportunity to witness this in action. I was quickly reminded of how important it is for me to manage my mood.  Our youngest cat lives and breathes the definition of “scaredy cat”.  He thrives on routine. He doesn’t like change, and you can forget about whizzing down the highway in a metal box (A.K.A. car rides).   He had recently been experiencing some physical issues that needed to be addressed at the vet.   The day arrived for me to take him in, so I administered a double dose of Pet Rescue Remedy, then into his kennel and into the car we went.

Knox in his kennel in the car
Knox in his kennel in the car

We live somewhat in the country, so a trip to our holistic vet is a good forty minute drive.  It was raining that day (of course) and I don’t enjoy driving in the rain, especially when I have precious cargo on board.   The drive was going smoothly at first and Knox was vocalizing only when we hit a rough patch of road, or we had to stop abruptly.  It was obvious that he was not pleased that I had catnapped him from his safe, comfy kitty dojo, but he was doing remarkably well considering the circumstances.

We were making good time, the rain wasn’t too bad, and Knox was doing well.   Eventually we got closer to the split in the road to head for the vet’s office.  I decided to use my GPS to make sure I was turning at the correct junction.  Well, things quickly became frustrating.   This pretty much sums up the negative dialogue in my head:

“Ugggghhhh.  Stupid GPS.  Why can’t it find the address?  Why isn’t it coming up on the map?  Ugh!  Ok, I remember how to get there …I think. I just need to find that street.  Wait.  Was that the street?  Crap!  Ok, gotta turn around.  Great.  I can’t turn around here.  Why won’t you let me make a U-turn?  Ugh!  Please stop crying Knox. You are not helping.  I hate driving in the rain.  Ok, we are fine.  We still have a few minutes before we are late.  Turn green!  Hurry up, people!  Drive!  Great.  I totally missed that turn.  UGH!  Now I am driving way the heck out of the way.  UGH!!!  Ok, I am gonna pull over and try to plug it into the GPS again.  Damn it!  Why isn’t it showing up?  I have no idea where we are.  Seriously?!?  We are so late!  I hate being late!  Ugh!  SHUT UP, Knox!  Stop screaming!!!”

Then it hit me; Knox was really freaking out.  How long had he been crying and panicking?  I realized that not long after I started to become anxious and aggravated, he started to meow incessantly.  It seems so obvious now, but at the time I was so wrapped up with my little temper tantrum in my head, that I had failed to notice how I was affecting Knox.  The more he cried and panicked, the more aggravated I became.  The more aggravated I became, he would meow louder and louder.  We were both caught up in a vicious cycle.

It’s important to note that Knox couldn’t see me because his kitty kennel was covered (I do this to help him feel less threatened and safer while riding in a vehicle).  How did he know I was stressing out so badly?  He felt it.  He felt my anxiety, my aggravation, and my stress.  Once I realized what was happening I took a deep breath, calmed down and peeked into this kennel.  I saw that he was so scared and upset.  I spoke to him in my calmest, most gentle voice and within seconds he began to settle and relax.  He stopped crying and looked at me with his sweet eyes.  I knew he felt my mood change.  He was relaxed again.  Once I was able to manage my mood, Knox’s mood changed in unison.

Not every animal will display their resistance to a stressful situation the same way.  Some may become very quiet or withdrawn, and others may erupt in an explosion or other undesirable behaviors.  However, one thing’s for certain; no matter how calm an animal may seem when they are around a person that is angry or upset, they do notice it, and they do feel it.  Birds, rats, cats, dogs, horses, and countless other species are quite adept at picking up on each other’s emotions, as well as human emotions.

I had been having a particularly bad week when this happened. Everything seemed to annoy me, irritate me, and upset me much more than usual.  I am not normally that stressed while driving, or when getting lost, but I let it get the best of me and thankfully I recognized it and learned from what Knox showed me.  It was a lesson for me and a blessing in disguise.

As we become more consciously aware of our emotions, we start to see how we can negatively or positively affect the people around us and our companion animals.  When we become a conscious observer, we can learn how to manage our moods and the energy that we put out there.  When we do this we improve our lives and the lives of our beloved animals.

Have you noticed how your mood affects your animals? I would love to hear your experiences!

8 thoughts on “Mind Your Mood

  1. I love this post and absolutely agree! I have found that Novia reacts poorly to my frustrated energy the most. If I’m feeling frustrated and impatient, it goes one of two ways with her. She either completely ignores what I’m asking her to do or goes into crazed sprinting around. Both of these usually add to my frustration until I realize that it’s me causing it. I have to focus on relaxing and being positive and she goes back to her responsive, calm, eager to please self. 

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