One of the most powerful bonds known is the bond between humans and their cats. In some ways, it is an ethereal relationship - cats can sense when we don't feel well; when we experience stress or unhappiness because of finances, the job, or other personal relationships. We can also intuit when our cats are not feeling up to par, because of stress, conflict with another cat, or depression over the loss of another family cat. At these times we feel our cat's pain and are as concerned as when our children are sick or unhappy.
The bond between people and their pets is so universal that in 1997 the Purdue University School of Veterinary Medicine changed the name of its Center for Applied Ethology and Human-Animal Interaction to Center for the Human-Animal Bond.
We Consider Our Cats Family MembersIt has become so routine as to be common to see someone refer to her cat as "my baby girl," "my boy," or "my furkid." The age of the cat really doesn't matter. We can be as maternal (or paternal) toward a cat of 17 as one of two or three. In fact, in my day-to-day contact with readers, it has become fairly rare to see anyone refer to his or her cat as "my pet." To me, "pet" has the connotation of demoting my cat to second-class citizenship; about the same as considering him my "property." Although I routinely use the generic term "pets" when referring to multiple species, e.g. "cats, dogs, birds, and exotic pets," my cats are my kids, my babies, my boys and girl.
I'm not alone in this. My readers also consider their cats as family members: