In simple terms, it's exactly what it sounds like, the story that you made up in your head about what money means to you.
But those simple terms don't tell you nearly enough. Yes you did make this story up in your head, but there is so much more to that process of how you made it up than you could ever think about. So let's start at the beginning of what your money story is.
When you were conceived as a baby, that's when your money story actually started. Well, if you want to get technical, it started long before that, but just hear me out. While you were growing from a fetus to a baby to a toddler to a child to a teenager and then an adult, every one of your senses picked up the money beliefs and thoughts and actions of the adults, and even others that aren't adults, around you.
And you didn't even know that you were picking up these beliefs and thoughts and actions.
Let me repeat that: You didn't even know that you were picking up those beliefs and thoughts and actions.
And you are still picking up the beliefs and actions and thoughts today.
Your mind was just absorbing them. Because when you are young, your brain is literally a sponge and it picks up everything around you and just stores what it picks up in the filing cabinet system that is your brain.
So everything about money was stored in this filing cabinet. Way in the back. Where you didn't read it much at all. You just used this knowledge about money to create automatic actions about money.
That worry that your mom always had about money. You have that same worry. "There's never enough money." "We can't afford that."
The stress about how to pay the bills each month that was voiced. You have that same stress. "I don't know how we are going to pay this electric bill this month." "They are going to shut off our water if we don't pay this bill, but there's no money to pay it."
Even seeing the way that the adults in your life spent money, you have that same spending habit. They spent all of their money on a new dress or pair of shoes. You may not spend on clothing or shoes, but you do spend on something so that at the end of the day, you don't have any money left.
That fear that the best dress and shoes for that event couldn't be bought.
The anger that someone else has a better smart phone than you.
That sadness (and/or jealousy) that someone else could go out and buy whatever they wanted but you couldn't.
The yelling and screaming about one person spending money and not telling the other.
This is only a very small part of that filing cabinet of money stories that you have stored. Of course, your beliefs may be something different than what I've mentioned above, but you get the picture right? This filing cabinet of everything that you saw and heard about money growing up is buried in the back of your brain and every day you add a new file to this cabinet without even thinking about it.
The things that you see your friends doing, the money mentions on the TV or radio or even on social media, the actions of those around you on a daily basis all help you continue to add to this filing cabinet in your mind about money.
Money is one of the topics that we don't really talk about. And when we do talk about it, it's usually because emotions like anger, fear, and jealousy are surfacing the only way we know about how to react is by fighting and accusing someone else.
All of these emotions and memories form your money story.
Each person has a unique money story as well. The story that you have, is usually not the same story that your brother or sister have. And sometimes, your story may be the complete opposite as that of your parents. There is no definite set of plans for why your story forms the way it forms. But the fact that it forms and makes you act the way that you do around money is the most important aspect that we talking about here today.
As you have read above, every money story is completely unique to the person, but the way the makeup of a money story happens is pretty much the same for everyone.
You pick up the beliefs and actions around money that you see the people in your every day life doing. This is mainly your parents or the people who raised you. But you can also pick up these beliefs from other people as well, including aunts, uncles, grandparents, even friends.
Have you ever had that friend who had everything just handed them to while you sat by and just watched and had to work for everything you had? Or you couldn't have the same things and experiences as your friends because your parents didn't make the same kind of money that your friends did? Or didn't even share the same beliefs as your friends' parents that you do the things and experience the same thing as your friends?
This is all a part of your money story.
It forms a belief inside your mind that some people can have everything handed to them, but you have to work hard for everything you have. (Don't worry, later on, I'll help you transform this belief system.)
The things you see on the news, the things you see happening in the store while you are shopping, the conversations you are a part of, and even the conversations you happen to overhear --- these are all things that make up your money story.
Whether you know it or not at the time, you are picking up money beliefs every moment of every day.
While you are growing up, your brain is basically a sponge. The things you hear, the things you see, and even the things you think you never would have noticed, are absorbed into your brain and make you who are and create the way that you act around money.
The things you hear, the things you see, and even the things you think you never would have noticed, are absorbed into your brain and make you who are and create the way that you act around money.
Your brain is still a sponge when you are an adult, but you have a little more control over the things that form actual beliefs as an adult because you are much more conscious of the things that are going around you. And the more you learn about your money story and learn to take control of it, the less your brain is a sponge to money beliefs of other people.
Money may be something that we don't have to rely on all of the time, but it is a part of our lives, and honestly, something that we can't live without. It is a special relationship that we have in our lives and this is why everything is affected by money, whether we want it to be or not. And this is why you are picking up new money beliefs every moment of every day.
When you make changes to anything in your life, it usually ends up getting better. Right? (Even though I know we are human and like to resist change.) The changes you are making (or not making) are completely your choice.
When you make changes to your money story, you find the things that are holding you back with your money. You find the reasons why you do the things you do with money. You find out why you work jobs that you don't enjoy. You find out why you can only make so much money, no matter how hard you try to make more. You find out why you spend money the way you do. You find out why you save money the way you do. And the list just goes on and on.
Your money story is what dictates how you do everything with money, every day.
Your money story is what dictates how you do everything with money, every day.
Tell me, are you really happy with the current money situations you are in? Be really honest with your answer. I'm guessing that if you are reading this, then the answer is a big fat no. You wouldn't be here if you didn't want to make a change.
I make changes to my money story every day. There are still parts of it that I'm not happy with, but there are even more parts right now that I absolutely love about my money story because I have done so much work to change my money story and make it one that I am very happy to live with.
By changing your money story, not only do you find the things that have been holding you back with money, but you now give yourself the ability to make a change to these things that are holding you back. You give yourself the power to make your money story your own.
Because if you really look at it, the money story that you are carrying with you right now, it's not yours. It's your parents, other family members, the media, your friends. It's pieces of so many other people's money stories woven into one, and that is what you call yours.
Change isn't easy. It never has been and probably never will be. But when you decide to make a change on your own, like changing your money story, it ends up being much easier to do than you thought possible. The first step is wanting to make a change.
When you make changes to your money story, you find what has caused you to create automatic actions around money in your life. You find what has been keeping you stuck in your current salary. You find what makes you spend money, almost unconsciously. You find what makes you hold onto every penny as tightly as you can. You find what makes you not trust banks or lending institutions or credit cards or even other people. You find out why you so easily give money away, even when you don't have money to give away. You find out why you are so quick to loan a friend or family member money when they simply imply they need money.
While you were growing up, you formed all of these automatic actions that make you function the way you do with money today because of what you saw and heard from those around you. I call these automatic actions because they happen on autopilot and until you find what caused them, you are almost helpless in stopping these actions.
By making changes to your money, you are able to stop these automatic actions from being so automatic. You are able to really see what makes you tick with money. And by seeing this, you are able to also see where you want to make a change and what you want to keep the same.
You always have the power within you. But you have to want to make the change first before it can ever happen. And then by making these changes, you make your money story, your own money story, and no one else's.
There are two main parts to rewriting your money story: figuring out what makes your money story the way it is now and then reframing or rewriting that money story.
It may sound easy, but it's not. The hardest part is actually figuring out what your money story the way it is. There is a reason why we bury so much in the back of our minds - it wasn't easy to face the first time we dealt with it, so why would we want to deal with it again.
But unfortunately, if you want to make any changes, then you need to dig into this filing cabinet to bring up these beliefs. And I'll go into more detail about digging up these beliefs in the next two sections.
To figure out what makes your money story the way it is, you need to dig into your filing cabinet of memories and beliefs. Then once you have those memories and beliefs, you can reframe or rewrite those beliefs to be ones that you really want to carry with you every day.
I'm sure by this point, this sounds really hard and you just want to close this post and never look back. I don't blame you. I was you. But if you are being completely honest with yourself, you opened this post for a reason. You are ready to make a change in your life, even if it ends up being hard, even if change is something you normally run away from and even if you already feel completely uncomfortable. You are here for a reason. So just keep reading. Download the companion ebook to keep you on track and also have a few extra tools in your arsenal to help you keep going.
Money is a topic that we don't talk about. But I want to change that. I want us to have the money conversations. Even if we are only having these conversations with ourselves and our immediate family. It's not something that has to be shared far and wide. But to be honest with ourselves fully and completely, these conversations need to happen. And by having these conversations, you can change your money story in the process.
Digging into your money memories can sometimes be quite painful. Even I have painful memories come up today around money and I've been working on my money story for years.
Think of your money story as being similar to an onion. Once you find one belief and change it, there is always another belief (layer) beneath that one that you can change and reprogram. Sometimes one single belief will have multiple layers to it.
There is a reason why we bury our money beliefs in the filing cabinet that's in our brain. They are not always that pleasant to be around or remember. But if you really want to change those beliefs, you have to face those memories at least one more time.
If you are okay with your money story being the way that it is right now, then by all means, you have my permission to skip the money memories and money beliefs. Because honestly you can't change your money story without first facing the memories and beliefs that made your story the way it is today.
If you have ever listened to any of the interviews I do on my podcast (The Prosper + Profit Podcast), there are three main money memory questions that I ask of every interviewee.
These three memories will definitely help you get started on your money memories. Usually they will bring up many other memories. Like I mentioned above, your money story is like an onion and there is always another layer below what you find at first. And another layer under that and so on.
You have a lot of memories around money from when you were growing up. But like I've mentioned before, you buried most of these memories in your filing cabinet in your brain and your actions around money became automatic because of these memories. Bringing the memories to the surface will help you realize why you do the things you do with money today.
Bringing the memories to the surface will help you realize why you do the things you do with money today.
When you start with answering the questions above, you'll find even more stuff buried underneath what you start to bring up. I'm still working on my money story and always bringing up memories I didn't even know was there. It's a process that takes time and patience, but the more you work on it, the easier it becomes.
The process of finding your money story through your money memories can sometimes end up being quite painful. So another method you can use is by using your beliefs.
You may not be completely familiar with your beliefs if I was to just ask you to tell me what you money beliefs are. Right? So I have a much simpler method for you.
Your money beliefs can be found in a pretty simple process by completing sentences. Wait, what? Yes I mean I'll give you the beginning of the sentence and you just finish it.
But you can't finish it just once. You have to finish it as many times as you possibly can. I've found using a timer, even just for 5 minutes helps to get my brain pumping out these sentences like water spraying from a hose on a hot summer day.
For each of these sentences, get a blank sheet of paper. Write the sentence at the top, then just like when you were in school and you had to write the same sentence over and over again (I will not talk during class, etc.), you'll write this sentence over and over again. Except that the blank part of the sentence will have a different answer each time.
Money is paper and coins and numbers on a screen.
Money is for the rich.
Money is never in my bank account.
Money is avoiding me.
Money is always flowing into my bank account.
Money is hard to manage.
Money is my worst enemy.
Money is a means to an end.
You get the picture, just keep going for anything and everything that comes up.
You are going to have both positive and negative beliefs come up from this exercise. Don't censor it. Don't judge it. Just write what comes to your mind. This is a simpler process to finding your money beliefs if trying to tune into your money memories is too hard for you.
Money is ________.
My mom taught me _______ about money growing up.
My dad taught me ________ about money growing up.
Rich people are ________.
Poor people are _________.
I can't afford ________.
I have money because _________.
I don't have money because ________.
Making money is easy/hard because ________.
Take each of those sentences, get a blank piece of paper and write the sentence at the top of the page. Then set a timer for about 5 minutes or so, and finish the sentence as many times as you possibly can. If you still have ideas coming to your mind when the timer goes off, just keep writing.
After you finish writing, read through your answers. These are the beliefs that you have in your mind around money right now. Some may be contradictory. Just take a look at my list above from the Money is sentence. There are some very contradictory answers in there. (But I've also done this exercise multiple times that I really only have the positive beliefs come up anymore, so the positive ones snuck in while I was writing this and trying to write negative beliefs for the point of this exercise ) If this is the first time you are doing this exercise, you'll find that you have both positive and negative come up for you. But this is a part of your learning process and things will change down the road the more you work on rewriting your money story.
Anytime you really want to learn more of your money beliefs, just pick a sentence above and fill a sheet of paper by finishing that sentence. You'll really see the beliefs that are stuck on repeat in your head around money. Seeing these beliefs written on paper really allows you to see what is going on in your head when you aren't really even thinking about it.
Every day, we have somewhere around 100,000 thoughts going through our heads. Most of those thoughts, we aren't conscious about, until we take the time to do exercises like the one above to dig into those thoughts and beliefs.
Once you begin the process of digging into your money memories and money beliefs as described in the previous two sections, you have really started the process of rewriting your money story. You can't rewrite your money story until you dig into these memories and beliefs, because this is where you started. This is your current money story. And like any story, you can't change it until you know what it is first.
How can you rewrite a story if you don't know the original story to begin with? You are never starting from scratch or with a brand new story. You have to learn the current story to make edits to it.
How can you rewrite a story if you don't know the original story to begin with?
So before you can begin to rewrite your money story, you need to dig into your money memories and beliefs and really see what you believe about money. See the things that have happened in your life that caused you to act the way you do around money. Like I've already mentioned, this process is sometimes painful and usually never easy. There are many times that I have wanted to quit working on my money story over the years. And there were times when I would weeks without doing the work because it was so uncomfortable. But I persevered and kept going because the end result of having a money story I'm proud of was much more rewarding than staying where I was.
Once you have found these memories and beliefs and what really causes you to do what you do with money, you can begin the process of rewriting your money story.
There is as companion ebook that goes along with this post that includes some in depth exercises for you to use to dig into your money story even more. Make sure you sign up and download this ebook to really take the process of the rewriting your money story to the next level.
You are going to start with the memories and beliefs that you have already found. Take a blank sheet of paper and make a header of "My Old Money Beliefs" at the top of the page. Then on this sheet of paper, write out in one sentence for each one of your money beliefs that you figured out in the sections above. These beliefs can be simple or complex.
I have to work hard to make money.
I'm not worthy of having any more money.
I'm not worthy of having any savings.
I can't afford ______ <fill in the blank for your kind of lifestyle>
I can't be both happy and rich.
I can't have both money and love.
I'm meant to be broke and miserable.
These common money beliefs are just to get you started. You may have one of these common beliefs, or you may have all of them, or maybe you have none of them. Your beliefs are unique to you and I can't tell you what beliefs you have unless we sit down together and discuss your beliefs in detail.
The first step to rewriting your money story is to fill out this piece of paper with your old money beliefs. I've said it before and I'll say it again, you can't rewrite a story if you don't know the original story to begin with. So this step is crucial to being able to rewrite your money beliefs.
Step two is to figure out why these beliefs are actually true for you. Take your page with your old money beliefs and go through each one and list at least 3 examples of why this belief is actually true for you. What has happened in your life to make this belief your truth, your reality?
Step three is to see proof that each belief doesn't have to be true for you. There is always at least one thing that has happened in your life to make this belief false in one way or another. Maybe you observed it happening for someone else. Maybe you had it happen one time for you, but this is proof that this belief can be false for you. Write down your proof of why this belief is false for you. And try to come up with more than one reason this belief is false for you, aim for three, but if you have more than that, keep going.
Step four is to take your belief and rewrite it. Rewrite the old belief into a new belief that you really want to carry with you and remember.
For example, let's work with the belief "I'm not worthy of having any money." To rewrite it, you could use:I'm worthy of having all the money in the world.My bank accounts are overflowing with money. Money flows to me with grace and ease because I'm always worthy of having more money than I know what to do with.
You want to rewrite your belief with something that feels right for you. It may feel a little out of your reach at the moment and not true at all, because you have the old belief still in your system. But the new belief is what you want your reality to be.
Step five is to start feeling like your new beliefs are your reality. Spend some time each day with your new beliefs. Reading them. Feeling into them. Writing them. Your subconscious doesn't know the difference between what's real and what's not real. So the more you start introducing new belief systems into your subconscious and beginning to really believe they are real yourself, your beliefs will begin to change for you. And you have really started to rewrite your money story.
The biggest part of this is to really feel the new beliefs within your body. Allow the feeling of this new truth to permeate your entire body from head to toe. Feel what it feels like to have this new belief in your body. Close your eyes and visualize what it's like to have this new belief in your life every day.
If you've read this far, then you are ready to start using your money story to bring more money into your life. And while I don't gamble, I'm going to bet that somewhere in your money story is a memory or a belief that you can only make so much money, hold on (save) to so much money, and the rest of your money has to be spent.
I know I sure had one of those beliefs. It all started because I always heard "We can't afford that" and "We don't have the money this month - it's food or that." And just like with most money beliefs, I never had the whole story here. Usually when my mom said "we can't afford that" it was her way of saying no, instead of having to actually say no. Because kids usually respond much better to "we can't afford it" than the word no. Right? Well, there are usually a lot less break downs in the middle of the cookie aisle when I heard "we can't afford it" than the word no, at least this is true in my family.
So my mom developed her own habit of saying that we can't afford something instead of saying the word no all the time. It just made her life easier when we were grocery shopping. But because of this, I created a bunch of my own money habits and behaviors around this until I realized it was just her way of saying no. The biggest habit I created was that at the end of every month, after all of my bills were paid, I would spend whatever money I had leftover on food. And this was usually food that I didn't actually need, and a lot of it usually ended up getting thrown away anyway.
So then I worked through this belief with my food and cut my grocery budget by more than half because I wasn't spending money on food just to spend it - so at the end of the month I actually had money left over and could start to save.
But then the next belief kicked in "It's this or food." Well, I'd already had all of my food that I needed and still had money left over. So there was no "or" in that belief anymore. I started buying more things. Things that I thought would make me happier - more books, decorations, kitchen appliances, you get the picture. But honestly none of this made me happier, it just made me accumulate more things and take up more space. And actually made me unhappier because of all of the clutter and disorganization.
I've been working on decluttering this stuff and I'm finding multiples of the same thing, things that still have the price tag and shrink wrap on them. So you can see that none of it made me happier if I didn't even use it.
So how can you use your money story to bring more money into your life?
It starts with finding your stories, beliefs and memories. Once you find these and can rewrite them, you are getting started on the path to bringing in more money.
But I'm also willing to bet that somewhere in there, you have a belief or story that tells you how much money you can make. How much money do you remember your parents making when you were growing up? Were you ever told that you can only make so much money? Do you work a job similar to what your parents worked and heard things like "we can't afford that" on a regular basis? These are questions that can get you started on digging into this belief system that put you on this path of how much money you can make.
So once you figure out what this belief system around making money is, you can just throw it away and create something new. But you can't throw it away until you know what it is. There is a reason that you have this belief system. And you can't rewrite it until you know what it is.
If you try to rewrite your money story without knowing what it is, you are going to come against multiple road blocks in this process. It is going to stop you from achieving your ultimate goal - making more money. You have to know what the partial story that is running through your head to make you do the things you do with money. And then you can scrap it, throw it away and write a new story.
And when you are writing a new story for the money you want to make, then you decide how much money you want to make in this new story. You have already done the work to figure out why you make what you make and what's really holding you back, so you can easily set a new number here and just watch the money flow into your accounts with ease. And when you are ready to change that number, since you have already done the work to figure out what why you make what you make, it's much easier to just start making more money and uplevel your money story again.
Money really can flow to you with ease, but because there is something in your story about the fact that money can't flow to you, it doesn't...yet. Dig into the reasons why this is true for you. Rewrite that story and then the money can start to really flow to you like you really want it to.
There are all kinds of tools that you can use to continue to strengthen your money story. And I'm only going to cover a handful of them in this section. When using these tools, you are going to be doing the work to build your money story, even if you don't do any of the work that I mentioned above, these tools will help you. But they will help you even more if you do the work above first and during your time using these tools.
And if you are perfectly okay with your money story staying the way it is right now, then by all means, don't use any these tools or exercises. Because everything here is meant to help you make a change in your money story.
This tool is exactly like it sounds: writing a love letter to your money. When you are first starting out, I suggest writing a new letter every day for 30 days. Make a new habit of it and see how your letters transform in just 30 days. And unless you have written these letters before, I know the first 3-5 days are going to be super awkward and hard and you are not going to have any clue what to write. And this right here is exactly why I challenge you to write for 30 days.
When you are starting out, you can write your love letter stating how frustrated you are, or how you are angry with money right now, or how you are afraid of what is going to happen to you. Just start writing your love letters based on where you are right now. And as you continue to write them, they will morph into more love and happy feelings, because the way you actually feel about money is going to change.
Money is a form of energy and you have a relationship with money. Let this relationship develop and blossom through your love letters, just like you would with another human being.
This can be similar to writing love letters to money, but with the journaling, you bring in everything and anything about money. I'm sure I don't need to really explain what journaling is to you, as you already know. This journaling is just geared directly towards money itself.
One of the easiest ways journaling with my money has worked for me, is by using freewriting. Set a timer for 10-15 minutes. Just sit and write and allow whatever comes to your mind to come out. Like I mentioned above, you have around 100,000 thoughts going through your mind every day. And when you allow it to, just sitting and writing for a few minutes a day to get these thoughts onto paper or the screen will help you really see what you are thinking.
Want to learn a little bit more about the benefits of freewriting? Check out my friend Primoz's blog post on Freewriting and it's benefits. I sat down and did freewriting like Primoz explained in this post right after I read it and I was amazed at how easy things just flowed for me. And you can do the same thing as well.
There are people that talk about these not working. I'll be honest, they didn't work for me in the beginning either. When a mantra or affirmation doesn't work it's because it's not being used properly. You have to feel the emotion that mantra or affirmation evokes in your body when you write it or say it. When you don't actually feel this mantra/affirmation, then you are just going through the motions and not doing the real work with the mantra/affirmation.
There are tons of money mantras/affirmations that are available on the internet by doing a simple google search. Find ones that feel good to you when you read them the very first time. Then use those mantras/affirmations on a regular basis until you outgrow it. When you outgrow it, change your mantras/affirmations. You can always add new ones to your artillery at any time. There are no limits on how many mantras/affirmations that you can use any time. There are no limits on how many times you change or upgrade your mantra/affirmation either.
Find ones that work for you and evoke the positive emotions in your mind, heart and body.
This one can be interpreted two different ways.
Interpretation One: Having money conversations with others in your life.
Interpretation Two: Having conversations with your money.
And the conversations can be done either way, but preferably you are going to use both types of conversations.
We live in a time where money conversations are starting to happen more frequently. There are many coaches out there that help you with your money issues and problems and concerns. There are many financial bloggers that are always sharing more information. There are podcasts available where we talk about money too.
But we still have the feelings of being scared to talk about money based on what we learned while growing up - you don't talk about money, ever. You don't ask questions about money to other people.
Unfortunately, if you really want to have more money in your life, you have to have a relationship with your money and you want money to be easy for you, then you are going to have to have these conversations with and about money.
When you talk to other people about money, it becomes something that you feel better about. You aren't trying to hide everything about money. You aren't keeping everything bottled up inside.
When you talk to money itself, it's similar to the love letters to your money and journaling about money. Like I already mentioned, money is energy and you have a relationship with it. The more you have conversations with it, the easier it is for money to be in your life, just like a significant other or family member.
Money dates can happen with just you and your money or it can be you and your money and other family members. It is your choice how your money dates happen and who is involved.
On a money date, you will get everything that you have to deal with your money all together in one spot. If you are married or living with a significant other, you should think about having money dates with each other on a regular basis.
This can include you bank statements, credit card statements, receipts for purchases, check stubs for payments you received, emails you received about making a sale, your journal, your love letters to money; basically anything that you have that relates to money.
Ideally, a money date happens once a week, but you can definitely have it happen more often than that. On this money date, you are going to balance your checking account, track your spending, track your money making abilities, and really check in with your money and how you stand right now with money - physically, emotionally and spiritually.
These tools are always available to you to use. You don't have to bring anything else in your life or even really spend any money to be able to utilize these tools. So the more you use them, the more you will continue to change your money story.
Money is something that we rely on everyday, whether we want to or not. Everyone has a money story that they have formed over the years based on everything they have seen, heard and learned about money.
But this story can be rewritten.
In order to rewrite this money story though, you have to dig into your current money beliefs and memories and find out what you already know and believe about money.
Like any story book, you can't rewrite a story that you don't know the original text to. These money beliefs and memories are the key to really being able to rewrite your money story.
Once you take the time and energy to begin the process of rewriting your money story, you can change the way that you handle money, make money, save money and act with money. But nothing will change until you dig into the story you are already holding as true within your mind right now.
Does money leave your bank account faster than it comes in?
It may be time to reset your money mindset.
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Clarissa Wilson is a financial strategist and online educator who holds two master’s degrees in Forensic Accounting. Also creative and spiritual, she is an intuitive empath and introvert. Clarissa is the host of The Prosper + Profit Podcast, where money conversations occur on a daily basis -- as she believes that money shouldn’t be a taboo subject. After growing up on a dairy farmand learning to work hard for money, Clarissa awakened to a path that allowed wealth to flow easily to her. Clarissa currently lives in Pennsylvania with her two cats.