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Why Having Pets Makes Us More Human

11/13/2013 10:12:00 AM

Tags: pets, Lindsay Mcnamara, New Jersey

catWhen I was in grade school, I wanted nothing more than to have a cat.  I begged and begged my parents.  I watched all kinds of cat shows on Animal Planet to learn as much as I could about being a pet owner.  Finally, my dad took me to get a cat.  I was so happy I wore my ‘Cool Cat’ shirt and gladly hopped in the car as my dad drove us to his friend’s house.

After what seemed like forever, we arrived.  There were several black and white kittens running around this man’s home and I couldn’t believe one of them was going to be mine!  All of the kittens were very playful and friendly, but there was one that stayed with my dad and I even when all of her brothers and sisters went in the other room to play.  That kitten was the one for me.  I loved her immediately and we took her home to meet the rest of my family.

My parents named her ‘Trixy,’ after one of the characters in The Honeymooners.  Over the course of time, she got used to her new home and found lots of ways to make all of us smile.  She sat on the ledge of the bathtub whenever my sister took a bath and drank water from a yellow smiley face bucket.  My sister got into a lot of sticky situations when she was a toddler and Trixy was her partner in crime.  cat with fish

Trixy loved Christmas time and enjoyed sleeping underneath the tree and playing with ornaments until they fell down.  She would always come down to the kitchen when my mom was making turkey or roasted chicken…or when we shook the bag of her treats and asked if she wanted a ‘yummy.’ 

After a new arrival to our family, Luke the dog, moved in, Trixy was not too thrilled, but she still cuddled with us every night and purred when you rubbed her whiskers or pet under her chin.  She was a happy cat who enjoyed making all of our nice furniture furry.

When I moved out on my own to my apartment, I was a little lonely at first.  My parents suggested Trixy move in with me.  Trixy became a beach kitty almost a year ago, in late December of 2012, at the age of 14.

Over the course of the last several months, Trixy and I became closer than we had ever been.  We grew up together.  She was one of my first hellos when I came home from college.  I judged all of my boyfriends based on whether she liked them or not.  That’s what happens when you have a pet since you were eight years old.  I can’t imagine how different my life would’ve been growing up without her.

A lot of folks have strong opinions about cats, like them or dislike them, but I will always think of Trixy as one of my best friends.  She was there for me when I was upset and would put her paw on my hand to show me that she knew I was sad.  She would greet me at the door when I would come home from work.  Trixy loved to cuddle and would often bite my laptop if it was on my lap instead of her.  She begged for food like a dog and was particularly fond of my Sunday morning omelets.  She was a constant source of support, always listening and never judging.  She was someone to come home to and someone to take care of, which is important for a single girl living alone, especially when she helped me try to kill bugs.

I grew accustomed to having her around.  I didn’t shut my bathroom door all the way at night so she could use her litter box if she needed, and I pulled my bed sheets down in the morning before work so she couldn’t sleep under them and get everything (even more) furry.

My friend passed away last week at the age of 15.  I have thought a lot about our friendship since then, and through all of the tears and the heartbreak, I have found that having a pet makes us more human. 

They challenge us to be as selfless and loyal as they are.  They teach us responsibility when we are younger and the importance of trust.  Our animals rely on us to feed them and take care of them and in return, they ask for a simple belly rub or to cuddle up on the couch.  I think our connection to animals is strengthened by the fact that we don’t speak the same language.  It makes us to get know one another on a deeper level and really understand their feelings.  They do become part of your family, but in most cases, they are better than family because they tend to be more likeable.  Our animals are a constant source of love and joy and make us laugh at any chance they get.  I think if everyone acted a little bit more like their pets; the world would be a better place. 

At night, I still don’t close my bathroom door all the way and I still pull my bed sheets down before work in the morning.  I don’t think I will ever stop.  It reminds me that although Trixy is not here, she will always be with me and she will always be a part of my life.  I will always think of her as I strive to be a good person and to make a positive impact on the world.  I hope anyone who has lost an animal – a cat, dog, horse, hamster, rabbit, fish or lizard – cherishes the time that was spent in their presence and tries to be a little more human every day.  

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11/14/2013 11:01:01 AM
I felt the same way when our two, old, dachshunds both died within a month of each other a few weeks ago. In fact, I posted their passing on my blog: As sad as we both were (the hole they left in our hearts and home felt enormous), I knew I was alive." To not have had their companionship, loyalty and love would have made me a very different person.

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