The kicking the cat story is about a person who has a bad day and transfers the negative feelings to others. It goes like this: Jim is angry because the morning traffic has made him very late for work. Shortly after arriving at work, he starts yelling at his assistant about a report he needs. Alice, the assistant, calls the manager who has not delivered the report on time. In a very forceful way, Alice asks the manager to get the report over to her immediately. Jack, the manager, is very upset but complies. Jack is still angry when he walks into his house after work. Unfortunately, the unsuspecting cat walks by the front door just as Jack enters. Kick! * The cat did nothing wrong, but he took the brunt of the bad day which was passed on from Jim to Alice to Jack and finally to the cat. Why?

What would have happened if they had compartmentalized their negative feelings and not transferred their anger to others during the day? When someone is having a bad day, they often seem to share the burden. If it’s a legitimate concern, by all means deal with the situation. However, many times these concerns are not legitimate.

They are simply annoying attempts by someone trying to get attention, to bring drama into the room, or to show that they have a perceived power. Recognize the negative feelings for what they are. If they are legitimate, act accordingly, but don’t pass the negative thoughts on to others. If they are just attempts to kick the cat, you should be the person to stop the negativity.

Ideas for implementation

  1. Watch when people get upset and see how they deal with those emotions.
  2. The next time you get upset about something, examine your reactions.

Discussion questions:

  1. Think of a recent incident that upset you. Was your response appropriate for the event, or did you overreact?
  2. Why did you react like that?
  3. What would you do differently next time?

Good luck! You are a WINNER! * I paraphrased this story from Zig Ziglar, one of the leading motivational speakers in the world. He weaves home-spun humor and inspiring stories to give you valuable life lessons. I would encourage you to buy his CDs. Please visit

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