Jordan Peterson’s 12 Rules For Life Rule 12: Pet a Cat When You Encounter One on the Street

When I first read through the list of the 12 rules, this one was the most startling. What is the significance of this? Also, at the time I don’t think I had ever petted a cat I’d encountered on a street before. I preferred dogs.

In my line of work as a door-to-door salesman I encounter many cats on the street. The street is my office. I actually wanted to be a bin-man (refuse collector) when I was a very small child. My rationale: I liked the color of their green trucks. Seems like I’ve settled for second-best and as I work in the streets as a salesman instead. I apologize, I’ve digressed.

While at work, cats seem to want to approach me and rub up against my legs as I knock on doors, waiting for homeowners to answer so I can begin explaining why I’m there. Some cats annoyingly follow me around for a while, but by the time they get distracted and go elsewhere, the annoyance is replaced with the feeling that I have lost a trusty companion.

This twelfth and final rule is more of a metaphor than it is instructive. It signifies taking time out of your busy day, even if just fifteen seconds, to stop and appreciate the simple and seemingly insignificant things in life. At best it is an extra thing to brighten up the day. At worst it is a few moments of respite in the ineradicable suffering of Being.

Pet a cat when you encounter one on the street.