Friday, April 13, 2012

Thank Heavens Our Pets Don’t Hold Grudges

By Julia Williams

Last night my cat sauntered into my office and began dragging her behind across the carpet. I’ve seen dogs do this but never a cat, and certainly not my prissy baby girl Belle. I was aghast. I picked her up and discovered that an immediate bath was in order. Now, given that most cats loathe water, a bath is not something one attempts even under the best of circumstances. A bath on the spot was foolhardy, but I was in panic mode. I wasn’t about to set this cat down on the carpet again.

I hurried into the kitchen, carrying her outstretched as though I was holding a ticking time bomb, for in a way I was. I grabbed a bath towel and proceeded to run water as fast as I could. Belle writhed in fear and tried to scratch her way out of my grip and the impending immersion. I hastily placed her in the water and washed her, she all the while clawing at me and meowing pitifully, desperate to get out. I toweled her dry and she ran off to sulk under the table. A little while later, attempts to coax her out with FELIDAE Tidnips proved unsuccessful. I felt awful because in hindsight I didn’t handle this well, and I know I frightened her.

I was worried she’d stay mad at me, and that I had damaged our incredibly close and loving relationship. But it was done; I couldn’t unring that bell. Amazingly, when I went to bed a few hours later, Belle came in and curled up next to me by my pillow, as she does every night. And this morning, she came in and crawled up to get her hugs and love, as she does every day. She wasn’t mad anymore, and I hadn’t negatively impacted our relationship. Whew.

I think this happens to every pet owner at some point, because we’re not perfect and we screw up. We do things that our pets have every right to be angry at us for. We do things unintentionally that, if it had been a human, they might never speak to us again, because humans hold grudges and pets do not. Hold a person down and force a pill down their throat or shove them into a sink full of water – how long do you think they would stay mad at you? Longer than an hour or two, for sure.

Animals get over things so quickly. Humans can spend days, months, years…even sometime an entire lifetime fuming at people who have wronged them. Humans will stop speaking to people when they are mad at them, and some will just cut them out of their life completely and never look back. Most people have to work extremely hard to get to a point of forgiveness when they have been treated poorly; animals let it go and live in the moment. On Animal Cops, I’ve watched dogs who were neglected bounce back almost immediately and become the most loving, trusting souls to humans, despite what they went through. We can make that same choice to let things go, and many of us do but it takes great effort, and not all can do it. Some people take their anger to the grave, and sometimes it’s even what kills them.

Animals truly are the most forgiving, loving, trusting souls on earth. I have thought often about what the world would be like if humans were more like animals and had that same capacity to just “let things go” and move on. If a neglected dog could find it in their heart to trust again with no hesitation, why can’t we? If a cat that was unceremoniously shoved into a sink full of water could cuddle up next to the one who did that, mere hours later, why can’t we forgive those who act badly towards us?

Some would say it’s because we humans are so much more evolved than animals. In my heart, I think it’s just the opposite.

Photo by Julia Manzerova

Read more articles by Julia Williams


  1. So true! Even when I tell Finn NO sternly for doing something I don't want her to do, two seconds later she is wanting belly rubs and tons of affection. She forgets so quickly!

  2. Julia, you are blessed with a very forgiving cat. Tom, doesn't hold a grudge, he puts it on a pedestal, at least for few days. He will not forgive my attempts to put drops into his ears for itchy mites. He was still affectionate, but if I repeated my actions (i.e. scooping him up) he'd get nervous, expecting the worst. For the most part, though, he's pretty affectionate and forgiving.

    Mom Julie xx

  3. We Fursure ARE furgiving and loving... BUTT... we DO have LONG memories... somebuddy better keep the Treats flowing fur a few days!!! Pawbacks can be... a real Twitch in the Tail... I'm just sayin.

  4. It is interesting how they so much more than us live in the moment. Of course, then I look at our Junior boy and wonder what moment he is living in....I would love for him to be slightly less terrified of everything, but that is what I get for loving my semi-feral tomcat. :) Glad you were forgiven for the b-a-t-h!

  5. That is one thing about animals that I really respect and that is their ability to forgive us. Even when they have been abused. Animals are just the best. Take care.

  6. So beautifully put. You're absolutely right...we have much to learn from our furries!
    xo Glogirly

  7. I don’t know about evolved, but some humans are devolving at a great rate! A brilliant post and so true. I’ve just left Austin out a bit too long and it is cold. He gave me a good telling off, but I know in a minute he will be curled up on my lap having snuggles :)

  8. MY girl Admiral did that several times and I mentioned it to the Vet, he looked and said her anal glands needed expressing and were so full they were leaking. Have to keep an eye on all kittles girls or boys.

    My Admiral forgave me for all the times I scared her so badly taking her to the dreaded vet experience. She was so ill and the trips were exhausting and frightening to her as she had to endure a lot. She always shrank from me though when I had to gather er up to take her ( every week toward the end.) That broke my heart. I would never willingly hurt my cats or cause them pain.

    The information regarding the stained glass is on Katie's blog today. Hope you are able to get something you like.

  9. Even Spitty-the-Kitty, as skittish and feral as he is, is quick to forgive and forget....most of the time, MOL! He is naturally suspicious (to put it mildly) but usually after a quick trip UTB*, be comes out & warms up again (well, as warm as he egts anyway!)

    (*under the bed)

  10. This is so, so true, Julia! We, too, wish humans would take a page from the animal book of forgiveness. Surely the world would be a better, more evolved place.


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