While humans seek enlightenment on the way to nirvana, these cats seen sleeping in the laps of Buddha statues seem to be seeking a warm place to chill out.
Do these cats know something we don’t? Evidence suggested by numerable photographs taken over the years indicate a wide variety of cats are finding comfort in the laps of many different Buddha statues.
Cats may have a “special” connection with Buddhism. According to Venerable Master Hsing Yun, a Chinese Buddhist monk, author, philanthropist, and founder of the Fo Guang Shan Buddhist Order, “Before one is enlightened, one is unwilling to eat when it’s time to eat and ponders a hundred thoughts, and one is unwilling to sleep when it’s time to sleep and considers a thousand plans. After one is enlightened, one eats when hungry and sleeps when tired.”
As noted by Alan Peto, “Cats (unlike most dogs) will only eat when they are hungry, and take a nap when they are tired. They are not out to please you, worry about their own ego, or dwell on things, but they do what needs to be done just like an enlightened person.” As such, cats may feel drawn to what they perceive as a kindred spirit expressed in the form of statues of the Buddha.
The key word is “may”… and it’s all too human to try to fit a desired answer to a question that may not be as complex and convoluted as it first appears. Cats, on the other hand (Buddha’s other hand in this case) have more important concerns.