A lot of us will remember the old ‘Love is...’ cartoons from the 1970s. They always made us smile and say ‘Awww’ but for me and many other people in the world, love is... being with an animal!
Many people have difficulty socialising with other humans and do not particularly enjoy the company of other people. Socialising can be difficult, people can be mean, manipulative and deceiving – because of this we often turn to animals.
In wagging their tail and licking your face, your dog welcomes you with unbridled, unending and most unconditional love. Your cat rubs against your leg, purring loudly with its tail high in the air twitching. When sitting on your lap it washes itself and ‘kneads’ at your legs – though this may at times be annoyingly painful, it is a sign of your cats trust, comfort in your presence and affection towards you as its human. Animals do not lie, deceive, manipulate, insult. Although no words are spoken between you and your pet, the love, trust and comfort you feel in each other’s presence goes unspoken.
With animals there are no expectations, and with us there are no real expectations of our pets – just being in the presence of each other is enough. The presence of a pet gives us warmth and comfort when nobody else and no other situation can. You feel the love emanating from them every moment that you spend together. Cats are a fiercely independent animal and seek affection on their own terms, but they will come and seek you out, when they are ready for your company – this is affection that is wonderful to receive.
My cat Scrat had to be put to sleep a couple of days prior to Christmas and he had been my companion for almost 7 years. I acquired him from a pet shop, almost bald and riddled with ring worm. Scrat remained my constant companion right until the day he died, from a thrombosis, which paralysed his lower body. I was sadly working when he was found, unable to walk, but I rushed from my job to the vet so that I could be with him to the end.
As I helped Scrat, he too helped me through many difficult times, like when I lost everything for example and all humans (including my partner at the time and my family) decided that I was beyond help, Scrat remained by my side. He didn’t care that I had no money or possessions, he didn’t care that my mood was sombre, all he wanted to do was love me and be loved and cared for in return – that cat saved my life back then. And for the last 2 years of his life, every day without fail at 4pm (you could almost set your clock by him) Scrat would seek me out (not for food – tea time was much later) just so that he could spend some time with me!
If I was on my computer working (which I undoubtedly was) he would jump gently and gracefully onto my keyboard and rub his back into my face! As annoying as this was at times, it always brought a smile to my face and a warm flush to my heart – regardless of the day’s events. If I was outside, then he would leave the house and come out and find me, rubbing against my legs and meowing until he was picked up for a cuddle. He never stayed long, but long enough to share some love and cuddles, and long enough to let me know that he was still there and that he still cared.
I miss my 4 o’clock visits and in terms of that four letter word – Love most definitely is... animals!
This blog is written by Dale Preece-Kelly from Critterish Allsorts, if you would like to find out more information about them please visit their website.