Are "Pet Moms" Really Mothers?

May 11, 2012

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.

I know there are those who think a woman shouldn’t call herself a Mother unless she has human children. That’s okay…to each their own. I will always consider myself a Mom, even though my “kids” have four legs and fur. To all the Pet Moms in the world, I wish you a very Happy Mother’s Day!

Photo by Arkansas ShutterBug

Read more articles by Julia Williams

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The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

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  1. Clooney says:

    Fantastic post Julia! I totally agree with you. Pet Moms all the way…

  2. meowmeowmans says:

    Beautiful post. Of COURSE pet moms are really mothers! My wife Tracey is a wonderful mother to our cats Sammy and Moosey, and we will all celebrate Mother’s Day together tomorrow. 🙂

    Happy Mother’s Day to you, Julia. And be sure to give those cat kids some hugs and nosetaps for us. 🙂

  3. Father Tom says:

    Mom Julie says..that’s so much how I feel with my furry ones..! I have a human “baby” of 25, my only daughter, so I am blessed to have experience both. I think Mother’s Day applies to anyone who is a loving maternal influence. In some cases, it’s the father who has to be both. (and they celebrate both days, as they should 🙂

    Happy Mother’s Day, Julia. Your little loved ones know you care very, very much! xx

    Tom, Mom Julie, Mittens, Anastasia, Tinker & our special angels

  4. Happy Mother’s day and yes, I’m a proud cat mom 🙂

  5. The word mother implies a range of defination to me and is not always human to human. Nor is it exclusively female, and it is not always nuturing or perfect. For me, a mother is someone who cares for you, loves you, nutures you, teaches you, and understands that the relationship will not always be perfect. So, yes, I am absolutely a mother to both my human and furry gang and would defend that point to the ends of the earth. But, some mothers are actually fathers, or aunts, or sisters, or friends, or a stranger who has adopted you into their family. Not all birth mothers love their children, sad to say, and I find the word mother to be completely unique to our own personal circumstances. Great post!!

  6. Eliza Wynn says:

    Of course you’re a mom! Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.


  7. The Human agrees completely.

    Me, I don’t curl up in the Human’s arms or nuzzle her, but hey! I don’t kill her in her sleep or anything, so there’s that.

  8. BeadedTail says:

    Wonderful post and we agree with every word! Our mommy is our mommy even if she doesn’t have fur! We know she loves us with her whole heart too and would do anything in her power to make sure we are always taken care of because that’s what moms do!

  9. Well I know that MY mom LOVES it when I (Frankie Furter) call HER MOM !!! What ELSE Would I call a woman who takes care of me and loves me and says… “Oh Frankie you make me sooooooo happy.”

    PeeS… Miss Julia,
    Do you remember a WHOLE YEAR AGO.. when you told me that MINT was a good thingy to plant to help keep Ticks and Fleas away? WELL, my…MOM .. did that and you should SEE how much it has GROWN and Multiplied. THANKS fur the GOOOOOOD advice.
    AND….. HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY… beclaws you fur sure are a mom to the kitties!! I’m just sayin.

  10. Carolyn says:

    Totally agree, Julia. I am not a mom of human babies. Austin is my fur baby even though I do not like the term very much. But there is no doubt that Austin, and all my other cats I’ve had in the past, have looked upon me as their carer, guardian, provider and yes, mom!!!! xox

  11. Ingrid King says:

    Beautiful post! While I’m not crazy about the term “pet parent” and the way it’s overused in marketing to pet guardians, I absolutely consider my cats my babies!

  12. Anonymous says:

    Excellent Happy Mother’s Day! The same applies to “Pet Dads”

  13. Marg says:

    We totally agree and especially with what Katnip said. Big rounds of applause. Of course we are the fur animals Moms. People that disagree have something wrong with them. Love this post. Have a great week end.

  14. Brian says:

    Well what a silly thing to say, of course you are a Mom! Happy Mother’s Day!

  15. And to your first line..a resounding YES! Pet mom’s are really mom’s.

  16. That was perfect, Julia and I agree with each and every word. They ARE our babies. They DO love us just as much as we love them and they know and feel our love. My babies have always shown me love. And I totally agree with you..whomever you chose to love, no matter who or which animal, it iIS a mother’s love. So I will be wishing you and other mom’s of human and fur babies a happy mother’s day and I’ll mean it.

  17. Finn says:

    Enjoy your Mother’s Day!!!

  18. ::standing applause::

    brava! Brava!

  19. Fuzzy Tales says:

    I never thought of myself as a “mom” to fur kids until the CB. I call myself that for convenience, and because I have chosen the responsibility of caring for them–something that entails far more than I realized when I first adopted. So I guess I’m a “mom” in that sense. But I also think that treating our fur companions as “children” means that we somehow see ourselves as being “above” them, superior to them in some way, when I don’t, in fact, believe that to be true. I believe my animal companions to be equal Beings….But of course reality is that we’ve made them dependent upon us for their needs. I hope, I truly hope, that *doesn’t* somehow devalue them as separate and equal Beings.

    I’m probably not making sense–lol. When do I ever make sense? 🙂

    In any case, I wish all “moms” a very happy Mother’s Day too!

  20. Priscilla says:

    Great post!

    I’m a mom of a human and two furkids and I love all of them the same. By the way, I spend more time with my furkids than my human girl. : )