I have been told that because I have no human children, I am not a Mom. I beg to differ, and my dictionary agrees with me. It mentions maternal affection and protective care; nowhere does it stipulate that this pertains exclusively to human beings. Whether we choose to act with motherly devotion to a cat, dog, horse, rabbit, hamster or human baby, the emotion is the same. Love is universal.
As a caretaker of cats, I have felt all of the emotions that other mothers feel – fear, tenderness, love, heartbreak, joy, anxiety, anger, impatience, exasperation, affection, protectiveness – the list is endless. I have an overwhelming desire to keep my cats safe and free from harm. When they are sick or injured, I fuss over them endlessly. When they are in pain, my heart aches for them. When they are happy and playful, my spirits soar too.
I’m not saying there aren’t major differences between pets and human children. Of course there are. For starters, my cats never buy me a Mother’s Day gift or bring me breakfast in bed. They don’t send me a card or take me out to lunch on my birthday, and they don’t demand that I throw them a party on their own birthday. Heck, they don’t even acknowledge any of the days that humans have designated as “special”; to them, these days are just like all the others.
Yet, when I hold my cats or pet them I never think, “If only you were human, you’d know how much I love you.” They do know. What’s more, the love I give to them is returned to me tenfold. They can’t tell me how they feel with human words, but they tell me by their countenance. They tell me by the way they lie on my chest and nuzzle me with their head when we go to bed at night. They tell me with kitty head butts and gentle licks on my nose. They tell me by the way they curl up in my arms. And I can see it in their eyes, can feel it in their purrs.
I’ve never understood why some people try so hard to convince others that loving a pet is somehow “less than” loving another human being. Maybe I am just not hard-wired like other humans, but I don’t see it that way, and I never have. How can one kind of love ever be “better” than another? How can love for any creature, be they two-legged or four-legged, be anything less than a wonderful, amazing thing? The world is a much kinder, gentler place when there is an abundance of love flowing freely, whether it’s to an animal or to a human being.
To all the Pet Moms in the world, I wish you a very Happy Mother’s Day!
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