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Do Pets Make the World a Better Place?

By Julia Williams

If you’ve ever shared a special bond with a pet, that question probably seems a bit silly. Of course the world is a better place because of pets, you’d say. As a lifelong animal lover, I wholeheartedly agree. However, I also know there are people who have no use for pets. Just as I can’t fathom why anyone would ever want to live without a pet, the non-pet people don’t really understand how humans can form strong bonds with animals, or why they would want to. I suppose the universe is big enough for all kinds, but just between us, I am eternally thankful that I’m a pet person. My world is absolutely a better place because of my pets, and I wouldn’t want it any other way.

I am the polar opposite of the cat-hating boyfriend featured on Must Love Cats, who demanded that the bedroom be a “cat free zone.” I have very few cat free zones in my home. For sanitary reasons, I do try to make the kitchen counters and table cat free zones, but Rocky challenges that notion daily. I don’t have cat free zones because my home is their home too, and they should be allowed to live in it.

I certainly could have been – but sadly wasn’t – the person who came up with the funny saying, “If you don’t want pet hair on your clothes, stay off my furniture!” True, this policy of letting my pets sleep wherever they feel like it does present some moments of embarrassment. I’ll never forgot the day a visitor turned to leave and I discovered he was wearing what amounted to “half a cat” on the seat of his pants. It was mortifying in the moment, but I laugh about it now. I came to realize that if he was a pet person, he’d understand, and if he wasn’t…c’est la vie. I don’t much care.

“I could not imagine my life without pets” was a recurring comment in response to my article “My Best Friends All Wear Fur.” Nor could I imagine life without my cats. Well, actually I can imagine it, and it’s certainly not the life I would want for myself. I find that no matter what might be wrong with my life “in the moment,” a head-bump from my heart cat Annabelle can make it right again in an instant. I think I love her exuberant kitty head-bumps more than anything else on earth, and I simply can’t imagine life without them.

When we lay together on my bed, me with brush in hand and she with rumbling purr, I tell her, “This is the best part of my day.” And I mean it. As I brush Belle, she drools in a way that only a truly contented cat can. We settle into the rhythm of the brush-brush-headbump ritual we’ve both come to love and need. People who believe that felines only tolerate people for the food they provide, have obviously never had a cat like Belle. They’ve never experienced the sheer delight of a kitty headbump, or the amazing, transformative power of the purr. I have, and I can say without any doubt, there’s nothing quite like loving and being loved by a cat like Belle. 

Sometimes I wonder if I might love Belle too much. She is only 8 and in very good health – thanks in part to her wonderful Felidae cat food! – yet now and then I have fleeting thoughts of how much I will miss this beautiful soul when she’s gone, and it scares me. It doesn’t seem fair that our animal companions have such short lives compared to ours. I don’t want to outlive Belle; I want her to be with me forever, but I know I can’t change what is. I can only enjoy the special kitty headbump moments we share each day. I can only love her with all my heart for as long as I am able. And each day that Belle is here, I say a prayer of thanks for this special soul that makes my world a better place.

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