Friday, July 12, 2013

Is It OK to Love One Pet More?

By Julia Williams

Parents of human children rarely admit to others that they have a favorite. In my opinion, it’s probably not because they don’t feel a deeper bond with one of their kids. Every human being is a unique individual. It shouldn’t be surprising, then, to feel different things for different people.

One might say there are as many “shades of love” as there are stars in the night sky. So it’s a perfectly natural, human thing to have a favorite child, but most parents won’t admit it because the backlash can be brutal. Recently, one dad blogger received the internet equivalent of being burned at the stake after he confessed to having a favorite child. Society says we’re not supposed to play favorites with our kids. And that goes for our pets, too.

The reality is that some kids and pets are closer to our hearts than others. We may not understand why, but we know it’s true. It is what it is. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t create feelings of guilt. We think we should be able to love them all exactly the same, and we feel bad because we don’t. We can’t change what we feel, though, no matter how much we might want to.

I admit that I feel guilty for having stronger feelings for one of my cats than the other two. I positively adore Mickey and Rocky and would be a hot mess if anything happened to either one of them, but my spirit would be shattered if I lost my sweet Annabelle. I don’t know how (or even if) I could ever get over that loss, because this little cat has touched my heart in a way that I didn’t even know was possible, until one day … there it was. Annabelle is my heart cat. There will never be a cat that I love as much or more than Annabelle. As sure as I know my own name, I know this to be true.

Loving one child or pet more doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to treat them all as equals, but we all know it’s easier said than done. Little things slip out. Seemingly insignificant actions do not go unnoticed. I know without a doubt which child is my mother’s favorite, and it’s not me. I am not foolish enough to think that my own cats don’t also know which “fur kid” is my favorite. They do. Oh, I make sure to give them all the same number of those TidNips treats they’re crazy for. I pet them, brush them and speak lovingly to them as equally as possible. Yet I am certain they know what’s in my heart. How could they not?

My three "fur kids"
There is something unexplainable about emotions, something mysterious (spiritual perhaps?) about the bonds we have with others whether they have two legs or four. Mickey and Rocky probably don’t like not being the favorite child any more than I do, but that does not alter reality.

Is it okay to love one pet more? Well…I feel what I feel, so it has to be okay. I take good care of them and do everything possible to keep them safe and happy. I love them all as much as anyone can love another, and that’s what matters most of all.

Read more articles by Julia Williams


  1. Interesting post. I'm not sure I love Derry "more" than Nicki, but I have a softer spot in my heart for him because I fall for the quiet, smoochy adorable ones. I love Nicki too, but not in the same way. He often frustrates me more, for various reasons. There's so much that is endearing about him, and he's a *good* cat, but let's just say that while I love him, I often don't *like* him--specifically, what he's doing.

    As for your Annabelle, I hope she is with you a long, long time. But I can tell you from personal experience, you *will* survive her eventual passing. Even though you might then feel your heart and very soul have been torn from you, your body will keep going, until one day you will find some measure of acceptance of the loss.

    But as I stated, I hope that won't be for many years yet.


  2. I do know that each of our cats have touched my heart in ways the others haven't. So in some ways, I think in a way, I love each of them more than the others. In their own special way.

  3. It's hard to quantify loving more or less but differently. With my dear meezer siblings Merlin and Coco, Merlin was and still is #1 but when Coco died it didn't make me grieve any less.

  4. I think that may be normal but we each feel loved and special so all is okay!

  5. That is all so true. But I think we can love our animals in all kinds of different ways and for different reasons. I have had several heart cats and they are special for all kinds of special reasons. I guess a bond is just formed with certain animals. Good post.

  6. As an only cat household, there is only one favourite, but he is also my heart kitty out of all the ones I've had in my life. I dread losing him, but treasure the time we have (hopefully many years!) Lovely heartfelt post, Julia x

  7. As many “shades of love” as there are stars in the night sky. That sums it up perfectly. We've lost pets that were our heart pets and the mere mention of brings fresh tears to the eyes. Others bring a wide smile while others....we just shake our heads and wonder what if. Ditto for our current batch.

  8. Our and my heart cats were Robin and then Bianca (Admiral) who came several years after Robin went to the Bridge. Katie is absolutely one too. Each in their own way and loved just as deeply but the two who passed bring tears to my eyes even now. Losing Katie will kill me too.

  9. I am glad you wrote about this! I know Finn is mine, and I am working wi Charley, but I know I will be devastated when Finn leaves (hopefully not for a long long time) and I will be upset if something happens to Charley but it is a different feeling. I make sure to go out of my way to make sure both get special love from me, so hopefully Chalry doesn't know he is number 2. Hope that doesn't make me horrible!

  10. Yes, all pets touch us in different ways, especially those that become those extra special, heart pets. I have always loved all of my animals and cared for them as best I could, but some really do resonate with you on a whole different level. Zoey is my feline soulmate, and Bailey was my canine soulmate. Bailey is no longer with me and was taken far too soon from this earth, but her memory remains as strong as ever.

  11. We love each differently for different reasons, and I think its natural to have favorites. It doesn't mean you would do less for the others. Shame on those people for giving that dad such a hard time. I wish I had known about it, I think they were awful to him.

  12. I had an amazing golden named Kasey. I rescued and adopted her from a humane society in another state, because there just was "something" special about her. She was 3 years old at the time (2006) and was serene. She was my therapy dog with some issues I had, and then she was just an amazing dog. We were inseperable and I have never loved an animal so much as I did her.
    In 2008, I met my now husband and we got Turk. I adored Turk as well, but turk had the bond that Kasey and I had, with my husband.
    In 2011, we moved into together, planned our wedding, and Kasey and Turk were inseperable. In early 2012, I became pregnant and Kasey and turk followed me around everywhere, constantly, but Kasey was never far from under my feet, like she was.
    In October, when my daughter was born, Kasey became her guardian as well.. I loved to see how Kasey fussed over her every cry and coo. :)
    Fast forward to Christmas eve 2012. My babygirl is not able to stand, move, and can barely breathe, we rush her to the vet only to find out she was bleeding internally from a cancerous tumor that had ruptured and that we weren't even aware she had. My husband tried to make me leave and just stay home as we let her go to the rainbow bridge, but there was no way I was leaving her, I was there with my hair all crazy messy, sticking out every which way, baby on my hip, pants on backwards and inside out, and crying hysterically. I stayed until the end.

    Not even a month later, my friend found me a 4 month old golden puppy who needed a new home asap. she went and got her for me. While I felt better having two dogs again, I don't love Scarlett as much as I did Kasey. I feel like the worlds worst pet owner because I just cant seem to feel like I feel like I should.
    She is a great dog..even if shes young and puppyish..but I just feel horrible for not being overly and madly in love with her. I feel closer to Turk, and Turk is glued to my side than I do her.

    So I guess its possible to love one more than the other..but whether its good or not, or harms them..i don't think we will ever know.


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