Most people who share their homes with cats profess to love them. However, there's a definite dividing line between those who look on their cats as "pets" or even "property," and those who consider them treasured family members. Consider the number of cat lovers you know who refer to their cats as "my baby," or "my children." These are not mere words, you know; we really do consider them our offspring, and worry about their health, happiness, and well-being just as we worry about our human children. In my opinion, that is as it should be. Adopting a cat (although the paperwork is much less complicated) should be as important a decision as adopting a child.
The sad fact, despite the kindest of intentions, is that once in awhile circumstances will prevent an adopted cat from remaining in a given home. Some examples from my forum discussions:
- Cat tested positive for FeLV, and there were other cats in the home at risk
- Immediate and ongoing battles between newcomer and resident cats, for which no solution could be found (by far the most common reason for surrendering an adopted cat)
- Unforeseen illness of the adopter, which precluded the grace of the time needed to integrate "old" and "new" cats
"Crazy Cat Ladies" Love Without Shame
Our thoughts often evolve to women when we think of humans who treat cats as their "children." Almost everyone knows a woman who live alone with her cat(s), and these relationships are always symbiotic in nature. One might wonder who benefits the most, human or cat. The cat thrives on the constant attention and pampering, and the "cat mom" glows with the knowledge that in this sometimes cold world there is at least one sentient creature who gives her unconditional love, who will be there for her day-in and day-out, regardless of what society as a whole throws at her. Not a bad trade-off at all, I think. I would have no fears of choosing that lifestyle, should circumstances dictate.
Visit my About Cats Forum on any given day and you will meet dozens of such women. You will find that they are not recluses at all, but are vibrant, funny, intelligent women. In fact, a number of them (both married and unattached) gathered together to form the "Crazy Cat Ladies' Society," and "Gentlemen's Auxiliary." The purpose of the society is to use humor to explode all those old stereotypes, and to band together for the betterment of cats. CCLS also has a store where cat lovers can purchase mugs, t-shirts, and other memorabilia with the CCLS logo; proceeds go to Best Friends Society, a well-respected organization with thousands of members, resources, as well as the Best Friends Sanctuary in Bryce, Utah. These women and men are proud of their love for cats, and want the world to know it.
On our forum and elsewhere, stories about cats abound when two or more "cat moms" get together. We brag about each new "trick" our kitties learn, worry about each "symptom" they display, console each other over illness and loss, and unashamedly admit to being completely owned by our furry kids.
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