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Why Do People Want Pets?

My childhood cat, Pepper
By Julia Williams

There are so many different reasons why people want pets. Like stars in the clear night sky, you can’t count them all, can’t even begin to try. Though many reasons seem to be the same on the surface, when you delve deeper into the “why” you begin to see a million shades of gray. Why do people like any one thing and not another? Why do I, for example, love caramel and the color pink but detest sauerkraut and khaki green? Because I’m me, a wholly unique human that brings a cornucopia of life experiences with me wherever I go. The things that have been written on the slate of our soul can’t be erased, and they change the fabric of our life in ways we can’t always comprehend.

I often wonder why my sister and I developed an intense love of cats despite being raised by a mom who was apathetic about all animals. This love of cats, of wanting to have one so much that to live without would be unthinkable and not worth the trouble it would take to breathe, is certainly not hereditary. In retrospect, I think I now want – no, need – cats in my life because at a very young age one saved my life. Not literally, as though he raced in and dragged me out of a burning building. That would be quite a feat for ANY cat!

No, my childhood cat Pepper was not capable of such a thing. But he was there to pick up the pieces of a young life shattered by unspeakable tragedy. He was there to convince me that despite the horrors of reality, I could still dream. He was there to keep me tethered to life even when everything around me was turning to dust. Little by little, day by day, Pepper helped me climb out of the rubble that had become my life. I’m convinced that my beloved Pepper’s “job” was one of healer, and he was very good at it. He, as well as every wonderful cat in my life since, helped to heal my wounds in a way that no human doctor ever could.

I want pets in my life because to not have them would be like taking out my heart and telling my body to keep breathing. That’s just one of countless reasons, and what follows are the answers other pet lovers gave when asked why they like having a pet.

Ruth Franklin: “Because of course she loves me unconditionally and makes me laugh when I'm not happy.”

Sue Grybel Doute: “A pet is good company...a good listener and doesn't dominate the conversation!”

Christine Elspeth MacGregor: “I think some people get pets because they (the owners) have a lot of love to give. There's something nice about knowing that, because of me, a helpless creature is happy, healthy and well fed, and doesn't need to worry about anything. And of course because they're great company and help relieve stress.”

Lori Lankhorst: “My pets have given me an understanding, loving, humorous, bonded kind of Friendship that NO human could ever give!”

Laraine K. Harford: “When people have let me down, I could always count on my cats. When I feel as if I am about to unravel, my cats hold me together. When my heart's breaking and there's nobody around to comfort me, my cats are here, purring, allowing me to stroke their fur, doing their best to let me know that they love me.”

Tammy Clemens Burcham: “I like having a pet because they keep you company without complaining, and our cat is a great listener.”

Kristine Webster: “They love you unconditionally.”

Jenn Martin-Ilo: “My cats are warm, soft, happy beings that make me smile and feel loved after a long, hard day at work. And their silly antics provide me with great belly laughs! Plus, they make great foot warmers on chilly days!” ;-)

Tara M. Clapper: “As a freelance writer, I make my own schedule and love it! Still, it helps to have some structure to my day, especially since my husband is presently unemployed. Our two dogs help me stay on a consistent schedule and ensure that I get away from the desk for some light exercise when I take them for walks.”

Di Anna Lawhead-Nation: “My dog is my world. :) He comforts me when needed, loves me unconditionally, never tells any of my secrets, and when I have a seizure...he is right by my side.”

Why do YOU like having a pet in your life?

Bottom photo by by Ninha Morandini 

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