Friday, July 1, 2011

My Best Friends All Wear Fur

By Julia Williams

I think if I were to write a book about my relationship with cats, that title would be “purrfect.” I have never been a social butterfly or a people person. Although I have family and good friends that I love dearly, and acquaintances whose company I enjoy, these relationships are judiciously chosen. There are only a handful of humans that I trust explicitly and feel deeply connected to. Animals are a different matter altogether. I’ve felt a strong connection to animals since childhood, and as each year passes my feelings of love toward these amazing creatures grows deeper. All of my best friends DO wear fur, and I’m not ashamed to admit it. I know there are people who consider that quite sad – hence all the jokes about Crazy Cat Ladies – but it’s not sad to me in the slightest.

We all experience life in different ways, and sometimes we don’t even really know why certain things appeal to us more than others; they just do. I like who I am and who I love, or I would do something to change it. I may live with cats instead of other humans, but I’m never lonely. I don’t have anyone telling me what to do, when to clean or what I should eat, and I like it that way. Um, wait…that’s not exactly true. My cat Rocky often tells me I shouldn’t eat that chicken breast or piece of fish and should give it to him instead. I just laugh, pour him a bowl of FELIDAE kibble and tell him to get over it.  

Recently I’ve been thinking a great deal about my pets, about how much they mean to me and how thankful I am that they’re sharing this journey with me. Not a day goes by that I don’t look at my cats and smile, or laugh at their crazy antics. Every day I get to experience the feeling of a heart that is full of love, and I feel blessed to have such wonderful companions. That they happen to wear fur coats is inconsequential, really. Love comes in many forms, and if we have an abundance of it in our life, then we are fortunate indeed.

What caused me to reflect upon my furry best friends was a death in the family. In January my mother lost her best friend, her husband of 35 years. They did everything together and were never apart. Now she is lost, lonely, depressed and living a mostly joyless life. She’s never had a pet, nor has she even considered it. She is a people person, and the idea of bonding with an animal and sharing her life with one has no merit. Growing up, our family had a dog, several cats and two Shetland ponies as well as various farm animals. I remember feeding baby lambs with a bottle, and raising fluffy little chicks into full grown hens. I think my mother – a nurturing soul to her core – liked caring for our animals, but she never grew attached to any of them.

When I suggested she get a pet to help with the loneliness and grief of losing her beloved husband, she was adamant that it would never happen. It made me very sad, because I know a pet would make her life better in so many ways, both emotionally and physically. She lives by herself now in a big old house, but if she had a pet she would never be alone. She’d have someone to talk to, take care of and give her a hug whenever she wanted one. A pet would never replace her relationship with her husband, but it would go a long way toward easing the void his passing has created.

Sadly, it’s not to be. She will likely spend her last years alone and lonely. What I realized is that no matter how much you might wish someone was different, you can’t change who they are. I can’t turn my mother into a pet person any more than she can turn me into a people person. My best friends all wear fur, and she will never understand why people want pets. The difference is that one of us is happy with their life, and the other one isn’t.

Read more articles by Julia Williams


  1. This made me so sad to read...I cannot imagine life without animals. Perhaps your Mom is afraid of another loss?
    Maybe she'd consider fostering...

  2. I will never understand why people don't want to love animals. They are my entire life just like you. I couldn't possibly continue to live without them. Yes, they don't last very long but people hurt your so bad, it is worse than an animal dying. At least you know that animal is going to be there for you for as long as it lives. My kind of post.

  3. This breaks my heart. I think that animals can bring so much to peoples' lives. I know many people that grew up without pets in the house and without the desire to have them. Today, they cave and get a pet and are completely obsessed with them. It's adorable and I think sometimes you just don't know what you're missing. Maybe you could bring your cat over to your mother's house for a day and let her experience how sweet and loving they are. I hope she finds something to cure the loneliness.


  4. Sometimes, for some, the timing just isn't right, even though we have a hard time imagining that. In the meantime, we'll send many purrs her way.

  5. Many of our best friends wear fur, too! Tracey and I can't imagine life without our cats, who bring us great comfort and joy each and every day. I do hope your mom finds something to fill the void left by her husband's passing.

  6. Beautiful post. I'm sorry about your mother's loss, and I hope she can eventually find comfort in whatever way is meaningful for her.

    I can't imagine my life without my cats. I feel the same way you do about sharing my life with them - we're the fortunate ones.

  7. It really takes a long time to grieve such a loss. Perhaps one day she'll change her mind.


  8. I am so sorry for your mother's loss.
    I am a people person AND an animal person. My mother also is not.
    We had a dog when I was small and when she passed when I was 7 my mother adamantly said "NO MORE PETS" My mother is an extreme neat freak. She can't stand fur around the house. She is perfectly happy living by herself.
    I don't understand those that do not love animals as well, but it is their choice. To each his own.
    There is just something about those that do not love animals that I just don't trust.

  9. I'm sorry about your mother's loss and I hope she finds a way to not feel so alone. I have always loved animals too. It's a trait I got from my mom who is as big a animal lover as I am. I have never understood how people can think of pets as anything other than members of the family and love them so much and so unconditionally just as they love us. My pets bring me so much more joy than most people I've ever met!

  10. Beautifully said. You expressed how I feel exactly. I have always been an animal person and have never been without one since I was born. There is nothing like having a best friend who really gets you and understands you.

    It is sad that your mother can not attach to a pet, personally I don't understand it, but I have witnessed many times. Pets are too near and dear to my heart and have always been there for me whether I was alone or not. There is truly something about that connection that melts the world away and is such a beautiful treasure, I can't imagine living without it.

    Wonderful thoughts. Thanks again for sharing them.

  11. Oh, this made me sad. Thank you for sharing all of this in a post -- it made me think about a couple of things. 1) I can't imagine a life without a pet 2) You can't change people, nor should you try. I'm so sorry about your and your mom's loss. I've never lost anyone close to me and can't even imagine the grief. I think I would especially need my cats at that time...

  12. I loved your story. it rang true, for me too, thank you

  13. Julia , I could not agree with you more . I have had many people in my life as well as many Pets. At this time in my life I have also lost People close to me , and threw the love of My furry Friends have been able to heal much faster . I love my furry friends in a way that someone that has never know the uncondtional love and closeness , that my furry friends have givin me could ever understand. I have been threw alot with my little dog that I live with now and could not imagin life without her. My pets have givin me a understabding, loving, humorious, bonded kind of Friendship that NO humen could ever give. Thank you for the Beautiful story. I think everyone sould know the friendship of a furry friend.

  14. HI My Furend,
    You asked about Kitties attending the thingy in HonoRooRoo... Well, this was a Blogville sanctioned Event.. and EVERYTHINGY in Blogville is open to ALL.. Horses Donkeys, Kitties, Hammies etc.... we do NOT all discrimination in Blogville... the MORE the MERRIER!!!! It is NOT too late... just go visit the and get in on the FUN!!!

  15. I am sorry for your mom and her loss and I hope that she finds some way to feel less lonely. I am lucky both my parents loved animals and taught me that they are all special. Now I have a house full and wouldn't have it any other way. I too prefer animals and people who love animals like I do. I don't have much tolerance for people who don't like animals. A moving post Julia.

  16. That is sad. For your Mother and for you knowing she is alone.
    I totally understand about our furfriends. They understand us and still love us. Wonderful post.

  17. I am here - it seems like just adding the two foster cats to our household has curtailed my blog reading time! We're settling into a "groove" though, so things should be better.

    I know what you mean about your cats - I can't imagine life without mine, or without my dog. I feel bereft even going out of town for a couple of days without them! I'm sad for your mother, not knowing that bond. It really can get one through a time of grieving like this, and keep the loneliness at bay.

  18. I went almost 30 years thinking that I wasn't a "pet person" because my parents didn't have any growing up. In the short time that I've adopted Tobi, I can't imagine a life without pets anymore. I feel sad for your mom, but maybe someday she will come around and get a pet. I'm sure a part of her is scared of replacing him or feeling happiness again. Grieving and sadness is her way of showing how much she loved him. In any case, I hope time helps her cope with her loss.

  19. Ahhh -- sad and sweet. So much truth here to reflect on, both in what you wrote and in the comments too. (((hugs))) Life is not for the faint-hearted, is it.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...