Friday, May 6, 2011

What’s Love Got to Do with It? Everything!

By Julia Williams

I know that’s not a grammatically correct title, but if it's good enough for the legendary Tina Turner, then it’s good enough for me. This post is about pets and love – a pet mom’s perspective on Mother’s Day.

I don’t have human children, but I still consider myself to be a mom. I didn’t consciously choose cats instead of kids. My life just worked out that way, but I’m perfectly fine with it. I realize some people don’t believe you are a parent if you just have pets, but I think that’s just silly. I still laugh when I recall the indignant man who, years ago, said I had insulted all children when I wrote that my cats were “like children.” His response is one of the most absurd things I’ve ever heard. I also think it speaks more to his own insecurities than to how I feel about my beloved pets. 

Motherhood may mean different things to different people, but we can all agree that it involves love, and the desire to nurture and protect your child. Motherly devotion then, is the same regardless of whether the child is human, cat, dog, horse, rabbit or rat. Good mothers want the very best for their children, and they go to great lengths to see that the child is healthy, happy and safe. Good mothers also want to provide their children with nutritious food that feeds their bodies and helps them live a long, healthy life. As a cat mom, I’m proud to feed my kitties a premium quality, natural food like Felidae Grain Free Pure, because I know this wholesome food keeps them in tip-top shape.

I didn’t give birth to my four-legged children (thank goodness!), but I’ve felt all of the emotions that other moms feel during the course of motherhood. When my cats are sick or injured, I feel anxious and afraid. When they’re playful and happy, I feel joyful too. When I can’t find one of my cats, even though I’m certain they’re indoors, my heart races until I find them sleeping in the closet, oblivious to my distress.

When my “heart cat” Belle drapes herself over my shoulder and gives me the best hug ever, I don’t feel any less of a mom because she happens to have four legs and fur. We touch nose to nose (the Eskimo kiss), and when she purrs out loud, I purr silently as love fills every fiber of my being. I kiss the top of her head and lightly stroke her ears, and she reaches up to gently lick my face. That’s as close to “heavenly” as you can get while still here on earth!

Let me tell you though – it’s hard to type when a cat is on your lap, but I love having her there so I reach around her hoping to find the right keys. Sometimes, instead of actual words I might get this: frpor deowrt wirewal irt repdroes. Oops. Luckily, computers have made it easier to correct typing errors.

Being a mom to pets instead of kids has some advantages. For starters, kids grow up and leave the nest, but pets stay with you forever. Sometimes the child moves far away, and when they have kids of their own their focus shifts to their new family unit. To a pet, you will always be number one.

On a recent episode of “Hoarders” on Animal Planet, a woman said to her children, “I get things from the animals that I can’t get from you.” Now, I absolutely do not condone hoarding of animals, but I think I understood what she meant. What she gets from her animals might not be exactly the same as what I get from mine, but I did understand the feeling.

I’ve always felt my relationships with cats have given me things I can’t get from humans. They provide love on a level that goes beyond what a human is even capable of, because animals never judge, they don’t love conditionally and they won’t abandon you if you fail to live up to their expectations of you. Aside from the pain of losing a pet to old age or illness, they don’t deliberately cause you heartache either.

Some people see pets as property, or somehow “beneath them.” In my eyes, animals are far more evolved than humans could ever hope to be. Moreover, I do not own my cats – if anything, they own me!!

I would like to close this with a funny saying I recently spied on a button. You may not see the humor in it, but as a pet mom to children with fur, I think it’s the greatest button ever: “If I want to hear the pitter patter of tiny feet, I’ll put shoes on my cats.”

Photo by CarynNL

Read more articles by Julia Williams


  1. What a wonderful tribute to "pet" moms!! Your thoughts are so true when it comes to the love for a pet and from a pet. I really think that they are little "fur-people" and can give love that we humans only hope to give. Great post Julia!! :)

  2. What I love best about my Felines is that they have an opinion. About everything. I like that they disagree and argue with me.
    That, and the fur and nosekisses and the cuddles...

  3. Lovely article, Julia! I feel the same about my two boys (Boston Terriers, ages 2 & 3).

    I actually was muttering this morning about pet motherhood being just as real as human motherhood as I cleaned vomit off of the stairs after my wild one got too excited playing after breakfast and chucked as I was getting ready to leave for work. I joke sometimes that I'm a single mom with two toddler boys (who I doubt will ever mature).

    They fill my heart with so much gladness. I love watching them explore and learn more about their world, whether that's realizing I'll throw a ball if they give it to me or the discovery of a cardboard box in a usually empty communal hallway. You really can see the wheels turning and the lights go on. I love enjoying simple things with them, such as cool grass on a warm day. Their whole bodies smile, and so do I. I love how they bounce around at 100 mph one minute, crawl up into my lap, and with a hefty sigh are completely limp and snoring the next minute. There I am, pinned to the sofa with a million things to do, but being a pillow for my boys is the most important thing of all.

    Happy Mother's Day!

  4. That is such a great post in my book. You echoed all my feelings. Especially the part about how there are people that truly love their animals and people that treat them as property. I have always said that about people that own animals and I said it mainly about horses when I was in the horse business. There are people that have horses cause they love the animal, and there are people that own horses for what they can do for them. In other words the horse has to preform a duty such as being ridden. I have two miniature donkeys that do nothing and they are extremely happy. Thanks for this post.

  5. Beautiful post, Julia. You've just about summed it up perfectly! Happy Mother's Day! :)

  6. Hi Julia -
    Loved your article!

    Do you remember years and years ago, we were having lunch at Mervyn's and got into a conversation with someone over who would we rescue if our house was on fire - children and pets, or was it okay to risk one's life for pets? It was a lively conversation! (I believe we were on the pet side, of course.) Hope all is well. I love reading your blog.

  7. What a fantastic post. Bravo!!! I totally enjoyed reading this and could really relate with what you said. Happy Mother's Day! Hugs and nose kisses

  8. Being a Mom of two girls and several fur-babies, I can absolutely see the connection between parenting a child and "parenting" a pet. I love my kids AND I love my pets. At least my pets don't need a college fund! :/

  9. My mom totally feel the same way as you. When she told people she has a furry son, people always laugh at her even someone who have cats ( But they have cat as a pet, as something alive and they calls cute ) !

    My mom feel connect wit me as you do and she love me because I might talk back but it's just " Meow " : ) and that can't drive her nut like human kid does : )

    Thanks for this post and Happy Mother day : )

  10. It's a lovely post, Julia! It's a great post too.
    I've a daughter and two dogs and I think I treat them equally like each other whether they are humans or dogs. I love them all and I don't care how others see me. Well, some of my friends do tease me sometimes but it's my choice of being a mom to all of them and I'm proud of them.

  11. My mom person considers me one of her boys and says I'm her forever toddler, who won't quite always listen, BOL!

    Nubbin wiggles,

  12. "I’ve always felt my relationships with cats have given me things I can’t get from humans. They provide love on a level that goes beyond what a human is even capable of, because animals never judge, they don’t love conditionally and they won’t abandon you if you fail to live up to their expectations of you. Aside from the pain of losing a pet to old age or illness, they don’t deliberately cause you heartache either. "

    I couldn't agree with you MORE!!

  13. Great post! Happy Mothers Day to all the cat moms out there!

    To answer your question on my blog: When a free-roaming cat is trapped and taken to a vet for sterilization as part of a TNR program, the vet will remove a quarter of the cat's left ear. This process is done under anesthesia (while being spayed/neutered and it's referred to as ear-tipping. An ear-tip is the universal sign that a free-roaming, stray or feral cat has been sterilized and prevents unnecessary re-trapping and surgery.

    Oh and yes, I did receive the vouchers! Thanks!!

  14. Our mum thinks of us as her children too and says we give her unconditional love.
    Luv Hannah and Lucy xx xx

  15. I luvs this article Signorina Julia and I toasts all Mommas on their speshule day! Hip Hip Hoorayzatini fur our pet mommas

  16. I love that picture! Happy Mother's Day!!!

  17. beautifully said.....but we really only need 2 phrases....1. "unconditional love,always" and
    2. "They make my heart smile!"

  18. As a mama to both human and animal babies I can attest to this way of thinking. My human kids have grown and have better things to do most of the time than hang with their mom. My critters (I have a few) want nothing more than to be with me and share love. There is a difference, but not much.

  19. What a sweet post Julia!

    Love that last line! haha!


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