Tuesday, December 14, 2010

What Does Your Pet Mean to You?

I just read a post over at Single Dad Laughing about the rude and insensitive comments people will make to an adoptive parent. People say similarly rude and insensitive things to people who love their pets unconditionally.
Jynx is Feline Leukemia positive so he
can't be around our other cats.
I don't have children, but I have a lot of cats. I love them as much as any parent loves a human child. When I have a big vet bill or buy them special food or medication, some thoughtless people ask how I could possibly spend so much money on an animal; they certainly wouldn't. I guess I'm a better person than them.

Some people have told me that I couldn't love my cats as much as I would love a child, because I didn't give birth to them. Hmmm. Tell that to an adoptive parent. Once, when someone made a comment about it not being the same, I asked her, why? Is it because you can have a conversation with your son and I can only talk to my cats, not with them? She said, yes, that's it. I thought, but didn't bother contining the conversation (because you can't change their minds), what about those parents whose children are born with a condition that keeps them from developing speech or other communicative skills? What about the child who has a head injury or develops severe autism? A lot of parents cannot have meaningful conversations with their children, and they spend a lot of time and money providing not just the medical care that keeps them alive, but also anything and everything they can to give the child some stimulation, some happiness perhaps, in a difficult world.

Would the people who question my love for my cats, my spending on their health and happiness, suggest to those parents that they just let their children die and move on? Get a different kid? Would they tell these parents they can't possibly love their children because they can't talk with them?

I have a lot of respect for people who care for disabled or sick children, whether it's their biological children or they adopted them. It takes far more work and more money than my cats usually require.  My cats can reach the limit of their potential. 
Wicket and Misha
Well, not the limit of their potential to the extent that they will never star in a movie, commercial or Broadway show, because they'd be hiding under something, drenched in the blood of the mommy who dared to take them someplace scary.  But they can play with their toys, watch birds and squirrels through the windows, point out nasty bugs that come in the house, snuggle on a lap, and act deceptively cute when they've done something really bad.

We love each other - my cats, my husband and I - and we are a family. Perhaps it's not a traditional family, but sometimes, like the song says, love is all you need.