The regal art of being a Princess becomes much simpler when you realise that many of the skills involved are similar to the natural lifestyle of the cat. Admittedly, felines spend very little time writing thank-you notes, throwing sophisticated dinner parties or calculating a budget for shoes. However, they do have to deal with annoying people, go out on a limb to reach their goals, and use winsome charm to get what they want.

I?ve long been intrigued by those ?workshops? that super-hip people do on weekends to become more enlightened. You know, the kind where everyone sits in a circle and you all introduce yourselves politely before launching into the business of the day: anger management, past life regression, channelling your inner mermaid etc. So if I were to run one of these personal development gigs, I?d base it on the life-affirming philosophy of channelling your inner cat. (If you don?t like domestic tabbies, think of it as your inner tiger, or leopard. Any feline works.)

Dogs are lovely of course, but they?re so openly bubbly and enthusiastic; they wear their warm hearts on their furry little sleeves. A dog will gaze adoringly at any new person he meets, with big soulful eyes making the message clear: ?Love me! Feed me! Stroke me! But mostly love me!? Their trainability (read: burning desire to please others) and tendency to give affection indiscriminately make them incredibly popular pets.

Now all this is very charming, but cats are different. They are no respecters of mere ownership; they will spend time with the person who offers them the best deal in terms of treats and cuddles. When their feelings develop, it will be a quiet love. You may not even be aware that you?ve won the mighty feline?s favour until the day you hear a quiet rumbling purr while you?re watching TV, and you realise that your cat has trained you to stroke her in just the right way without you even noticing. And while they can be inscrutable and somewhat aloof, cats are also joyful creatures ? have you ever seen one with a ball of string?

So, why is being a Princess just like being a cat?