The Confessions of a Cat Lady.

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cats and kittens playing together

“Animals are such agreeable friends- they ask no questions; they pass no criticisms.”- George Eliot.

Such is the beauty of animals on general note, and even more so in case of pets at home.

What’s the best way you’ve been woken up yet? Have you ever been woken up by the sensation of little wet paws stomping all over your face? Those are the better days. More often than not, the process of being startled out of your sleep occurs by the on-shot of sharp nails digging into your ankle or the feeling of your hair being violently wrenched out of your head. Sometimes you just fall out of the bed due to the lack of space. Yes, I’m talking about some very brave people who deal with these assaults the first thing in the morning- pet owners and how they are different from other ordinary people.

The title of a ‘pet owner’ may mislead others into thinking that you are a responsible person who has total control over his own life and the animal that he had kindly decided to let into his house. But this idea cannot be more wrong. Every person who falls in love with his pet, must willingly sacrifice his pride and ego. Isn’t there a saying that when we fall in love, we give that person the weapons to hurt us and yet we trust them not to use it? Love for animals almost works the same way, except for the fact that they do use their weapons. Thankfully, our lovestruck heart hardly notices the wounds.

Even since I was a child, we had a dozen cats in our house. Though people have this strange stereotype about ‘cat ladies’, I can assure you that it’s a misconception. Cat ladies are not unsocial people who talk to their cats and pretend like the cats can understand them. People who keep cats may be unsocial but this cannot be generalized concept. Also, who doesn’t talk to their pets? But I’m not trying to say that cat ladies are totally similar to the ordinary people. They are very very different and this is how:

We do not feel pain. The countless scratches do not hurt. When those nails prick us, we do bleed but it does not compare to other regular wounds. Even when we’re clutching on to our blood soaked hand, we’ll still laugh while we narrate how funny the entire incident was. Many think it’s wrong to let pets get away with mischief, some blame them- I fail to understand these people. Each animal is different, just like each human being is different. No one can generalize them and say things like all dogs are loyal and all cats do not care about their owners.

This popular belief is wrong. Some cats are bored, some are active, while some are snobbish. All dogs may be loyal but not necessarily like we want them to be. It’s not their duty to stay awake all night and protect our property. People who keep dogs just because of this purpose and hate cats because they do not benefit human beings in any way- are obviously not animal lovers.

‘Pet’ is a slightly degrading term according to me and does not explain the relationship that certain human beings have with these animals. Of course, to an outsider, a person, who provides a little muddy stray kitten with a shelter and food, is a savior. This outsider may blame that kitten for not having a similar view of its owner but this does not make sense. The kitten grows up in a home and learns to believe that it has a right over all the objects and humans in the house. That is what it is supposed to believe. It is not supposed to fall upon it’s knees and praise us every time we walk by. Rather, if it claws at our feet- that’s normal.

Yes, the animals who stay at our house are no less than our human family members. They may not be able to speak but that does not stop them from being important inhabitants of the house whose opinions count while making decisions. I may seem like a crazy cat lady here but tell me- have you never refrained yourself from buying an expensive and beautiful sofa just because you know that it’d become a scratching post anyway, or have you never stopped yourself from placing a glass vase on the table because the cat may ensure its doom? Every major decision in interior designing is taken by the cat instead of you.

The life of a person who is in love with an animal is very different from those who are not. Animal-lovers are happier people. No matter what, you get to come home to certain creatures who love you. They may not be very affectionate and they may possess rather sharp nails but they do love their humans. Just having an animal in the house does not make anyone more responsible. But if we can really treat them like they deserve to be treated it makes us better people. They humble us. No matter how horrible you’ve been, they do not care. They do not keep score. After a while, we do incorporate certain animal-like behaviors in our own self. But this influence is far from what people imagine it to be.

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These furry companions do not teach us how to be ferocious. When we really begin to understand them, it makes us kinder, more forgiving and less egoistic. Maybe falling in love with a person has the same benefits. But how readily can that person love you back? There’s a very cliched concept that animals provide us with unconditional love and I cannot help but agree with this. They may be perfectly horrid to us, but they do love us back.

But I must warn you- keeping an animal in your house is not easy if you cannot treat it appropriately. For people who simply keep animals because of superficial reasons like “oh, I have a bit of time on my hand after my board exams, I can buy a puppy” or “I must buy a kitten- they are so cute”, this is my advice for you- DO NOT go through with that plan. If you are simply concerned about a kitten or a puppy’s cuteness, know that one day they will grow up and you cannot throw them out for not fulfilling your expectations. Having an animal in the house does not really matter but getting to understand that animal completely changes our lives.

Keep an animal in your house only if you can let it into your heart. Yes, they are a lot of work and that’s the reality of it. There are a million pets that are thrown out into the streets every day for not being able to satisfy their owners with their cuteness. There in so need to increase that number.

But I must tell you this, little paws walking all over your face is one of the best ways to be woken up.