By Julia Williams
Every now and then my mother, a true non-pet person if ever there was one, says something along the lines of “Your cats sure are spoiled.” I smile and say “thank you.” I know she doesn’t mean that as a compliment, but to me it definitely is. If I am spoiling my cats, it means I am doing everything I can to make sure they are happy and healthy, and feel loved and appreciated.
Unlike spoiled children who run the risk of becoming brats who feel and act entitled, spoiled pets are just contented creatures who have a wonderful life. Are they thankful for it? I’m sure there are those like my mother who believe animals don’t have the capacity to feel thankful, or happy or sad either, for that matter. But we know better, don’t we?
Who among us can say that we haven’t seen looks of sheer joy on the faces of our pets? The greatest thing about making a pet happy is that it’s actually quite easy. They don’t ask for much other than to be well fed and well loved – now, how hard is that?
By Julia Williams
Although I don’t currently have a special “Cat Guy” in my life, I love them all because a) they are fond of felines and b) they’re not afraid to admit it. Some men think it’s not cool or “macho” to love cats because they see felines as feminine creatures. I have many wonderful male friends who love cats, and they would all tell you there is zero truth to that stereotype.
Six of my favorite Cat Guys agreed to be interviewed for this article. They are: Dan Powers, the talented photographer for The Chronicles of Zee & Zoey; Fred, “Pop” to Stunning Cathy Keisha; John, “Dad-Guy” to the Island Cats; Kevin from Animal Shelter Volunteer Life; Scott from the Katnip Lounge; and Terry from Brian’s Home. Enjoy!
What’s the best gift your cat has ever given you?
Dan: We currently have seven cats in our home. The best gift is the absolute unconditional love they give to me and the comfort that comes from that love.
Fred: Her love and companionship when I was home recovering from back surgery.
John: Headbutts. I love when the cats headbutt me.
Kevin: I’m always amazed at how well all of our cats, especially those with whom we have the closest bonds, are able to read human emotions. Unsolicited cat snuggles, purrs and unconditional love are the most wonderful gifts after a tough day.
Scott: Unconditional love.
Terry: Without a doubt, the best gift my cat Brian has given me is that of patience and acceptance. Brian has just the right personality for a multi-cat household. He understands that everyone is different and sometimes it takes a little time for others to find the good in you. He is quick to show kindness, and will give up his treats or playtime if one of his sisters seems more interested. So Brian has taught me how to be patient and has helped me understand that everyone has needs of their own and that helping others is the most important thing you can do.
By Laurie Darroch
Dogs can be more than just a loving family member. They contribute in many ways just by being a part of the household. They can even be of special service or be a therapy dog to people who have medical issues or certain limitations in function. One of the conditions they can help their human companions with is depression.
Dogs give unconditional love while asking for very little in return. Their love is uncomplicated and adds no stress on that level to an already depressed person who has very little of themselves to give. A dog can also sense that their human family member is in a less than functional emotional or physical condition, and be concerned and protective. If relationships with family members or friends are strained and causing more anxiety for the person dealing with depression, the simple love of a dog can be soothing to overtaxed nerves and feelings.
Depression often causes lessened physical activity and no motivation to do things. The smallest physical task often becomes overwhelming. It is hard to even get up and move around a little when a person is battling depression. Having a dog to care for and love may be one way to find just enough motivation to move around the house to feed, play with and care for the dog.
By Julia Williams
Love is definitely in the air today. (Or maybe it’s in the water?). In any event, a lot of women get all goo-goo eyed on Valentine’s Day, with thoughts of love, a romantic dinner, a box of chocolates, maybe some beautiful red roses. Me? I’m usually thinking “Ugh. It’s Valentine’s Day…again? When will the madness end?” Now, I’m all in favor of romance and fine dining, but the commercialization of this Hallmark Holiday has really gotten extreme. And talk about pressure!
Who needs the stress – and the expense – of trying to pull off the mother of all dates? I have a much better solution. A date with your cat! According to Yahoo News, one in five people would prefer to spend Valentine’s Day with their pet over their human partner. Now, some might not have the courage to actually make that preference known, but I say just go for it. Feel free to use this list of 8 reasons why a cat makes a better Valentine’s Day date if you need backup. Just please don’t mention my name.
Actually, make that no expectations. No need to worry about planning the most over-the-top date ever, because a cat won’t stare at you mournfully when you don’t whisk them off to Paris, or procure an entire fancy restaurant for the two of you, or hire a famous band for a private serenade (you know… all that fake stuff the Bachelor does on TV). Cats have no concept of romance, hence, no Valentine’s Day expectations.
Your moolah goes a whole lot farther when you’re buying a Valentine’s Day gift for a cat instead of a human. Forget the bling and the overpriced red roses. Just buy a couple of catnip mice, and call it a day!
By Linda Cole
My dogs don’t lose sleep worrying about what to get me for Valentine’s Day. They snooze through TV commercials for flowers and candy, and their idea of a night out on the town would involve me chasing them after they’ve escaped from their dog pen. Fact is, dogs have no concept of Valentine’s Day…but they are capable of showing love. It might not be the same way we express our fondness for one another, but dogs do indeed have feelings of love.
We know dogs share some of the same emotions we have. They can become jealous, angry or depressed. Dogs show joy and express their happiness with a wiggling body when they see their favorite person. Research has also shown that dogs are capable of showing empathy to us and other animals. Many people claim their dogs can also express love, and now there is research to back up their claims.
The debate over which emotions dogs can feel has been going on for years. However, as scientists continue digging into the canine mind, they are learning that the bond we share with our dogs is more than just providing them with security or their favorite CANIDAE food. It’s deeper and perhaps even more complex than we know.
Researchers at Emory University in Atlanta trained 12 dogs to remain calm and relaxed inside an MRI machine so clear images of the brain could be seen without having to sedate the canines. They focused on the area of the brain associated with positive emotions, and found that dogs and humans share the same brain structure that controls emotions. We share the same hormones, and have the same chemical changes that take place in the brain.
By Julia Williams
I feel sorry for people who perpetuate the myth that cats are aloof, unloving and incapable of (or disinterested in) bonding with their human(s). That’s far from the truth. I’ve had wonderful relationships with many different cats, and each has shown unequivocally that I am not merely tolerated because I dole out their CANIDAE food twice a day. Oh sure, they appreciate having good food and a warm place to sleep. We all do. But the depth of our relationship goes far beyond me being the provider of their creature comforts.
My cats cannot say “I Love You” in human words. They can’t express love by buying me presents or doing nice things for me. They may not be able to define what love is in the same way we do, but they can and do show love in their own unique ways. Here are 8 things cats do to express love.
They Want to Be Near You
When cats climb onto your lap, drape themselves over your shoulder or curl up next to you in bed, it’s not because they’re looking for body heat. They want to be with you because they love you, and they enjoy being in your company. Every night before I go to bed, I say goodnight to my cats. Annabelle is either in “her” box in the closet or one of the cat beds. Minutes later, she tucks herself in next to me, her head on my pillow and her paws over my arm.
They Comfort You
Felines make great “nurses” for two reasons. They seem to always know when you are hurting whether it’s a physical or emotional ailment. They also stay by your side to give you lots of healing purrs until you are feeling better. How can that not be a sign of love?
They Protect You
You only have to do a brief Google search to find dozens of stories of “hero cats” who saved their owners from injury or death by alerting them to carbon monoxide, fire, gas leaks and other dangerous situations. My angel-cat Binky even alerted me to the presence of a peeping Tom – she jumped on the dresser and growled until I looked out and saw the perv staring in my window!