Changing the culture is like herding cats

Pic retrieved from

The clip with the cowboys herding cats really got me thinking.  I love cats and I have 3 of them.  They each have their own personality.  We adopted our first cat about 6 years ago.  She was a kitten, and I had brought her home for my daughter as a Christmas present.  One day, before leaving for work, I heard the kitten meowing and began to look all over the house for her.  I finally found her about 20 minutes later, when I went to reach for a drink in the refridgerator, where she was sitting on the middle shelf.  She had jumped in when I went to get milk out for my cereal.  I went to work telling all my friends my crazy cat story.

About a week later I came home from work and I heard the cat meowing again.  I thought no way–she could not be in there again. Sure enough, when I went to the fridge there was this crazy cat, sitting on the middle shelf.  Again she had jumped in when I opened the fridge that morning which by the way was 15 hours earlier.  Yes she survived 15 hours in the fridge, and no she did not pee or poop in there,  I guess a little hypothermia slows down the GI tract.  We named her Frosty after that.  She did not learn her lesson, and she will still try to climb in the fridge every time you  open it so we have to be mindful and watch for her each time the door opens.

On Halloween this past year, we picked up our second cat–this time it was a bribe for my daughter.  I know you should not bribe children, but she had a very stinky, very messy bunny, and they only way I could convince her that the bunny needed a new home with freedom was to get her another kitten.   This is the best cat I have ever had.  She is so sweet and funny.  When she wants to sleep she will curl up on my lap.  When she wants to play she will bring me her toy.  She just cracks me up.  The third cat came a month after the second one when my husband brought home a stray he had found.  We named her Scaredey cat because she hides a lot but she is very sweet and loving when you approach her slowly.

The point of my crazy cat stories is that it reminds me of trying to change the culture in healthcare.  Every person is different and has their own personality.  Pushing to change their behavior is often extremely difficult.  It is like herding cats.  Even though most people understand that it is for the good, people don’t like change.  People, like cats, do not like to be told what to do.  If you push too hard there may be a negative impact.  If you keep pushing with the belief that people will see the way things should be, they will herd themselves.  At least they may think that they are herding themselves.