Welcome to the Unconditional Love series, where we bring you heartfelt stories from bloggers around the Web about all of the ways their animals have shown them unconditional love through the years. Be sure to check back each week for a different post — and share your own story for a chance to win $50 worth of pet food.
This week, we talked to blogger Roslyn Ayers from Petsafe. Here’s what she said about her pet:
What does your pet’s unconditional love look like?
Forgiveness. After I take my cat, Lily, to the vet, she still lets me pet her. When I forget to give her dinner on time, she meows to remind me, then purrs to let me know it’s OK. When I brought home Doc, a bumbling, hairy, drooling beast of a dog (in her mind), she was terrified at first. She didn’t know what a dog was! But after a few weeks, she overcame her fear to jump in my lap even though the dog was nearby. I would watch her staring at the dog, creeping closer to my lap, hoping the dog wouldn’t move. Now she sits in my lap even if she’s touching the dog, and it doesn’t bother her. She forgave me for changing her life because she loves me.
When did you realize you loved your pet unconditionally?
It was 2 a.m., and I woke up to my husband saying, “Did you hear that? It sounds like fighting. Where are the cats?” We went downstairs to find the window screen had been popped open. After a frantic search through the house, we could only find three out of our four cats. My cat Lily was nowhere to be found.
I’d seen Lily attack the window when stray cats get near the house, so we concluded that she had tried to get to a stray and actually succeeded this time. We split up and walked through the neighborhood, shining our flashlights under bushes, shaking food cans and calling “Lily!” After two hours, we only found a skunk and the stray cat I suspect she went after.
We decided to do one last circle and start again in the morning, with the hope that she would come out of her hiding place and head home for breakfast. As we were heading back out, my husband heard rustling in the tree next to our house. Lily had been hiding not 20 feet from the house.
She was a little startled at the noise as he walked toward her, but he spoke to her in calming tones and approached her slowly. She seemed hesitant to get near him, until he pointed the laser pointer at the ground. Her fears forgotten, she stalked toward the toy. When she recognized him as one of her humans, she came up to him happily, and he whisked her back into the house.
Lily got a clean bill of health from the vet, and we learned not to trust window screens to keep cats inside. I see her little escapade as her way of defending us and protecting our house. This incident made me realize how much I loved her and how much I would miss her if she was gone.
Why is the bond between a person and her/his pet so special?
My pets bring out the best in me. For example, with my dog, I have to exercise even when I don’t feel like it. And when Doc wants to play, it’s hard to say no. I often give in — his playful attitude makes me want to play too.
Pets also make you feel special. When it comes to cats, you have to pay attention to body language to get them to like you. You have to be quiet and patient, and it feels like an accomplishment when a cat jumps in your lap. You have to win cats over, and when you do, it feels like they have chosen you. That makes you feel special, and that feeling’s especially nice when you’ve had a tough day or just had a disappointment.
Do you have a favorite pet from your childhood? What made it so special to you?
My first cat was a tortoiseshell kitten named Skittles. All of her littermates who had remained at the shelter died of FIP shortly after we rescued her, so I believed that fate had led me to rescue her.
She liked to cuddle on my lap when I did homework, and she slept next to me most nights. We got her a kitty harness to take walks outside together, and later we had an in-ground fence installed so she could safely explore the backyard too. During college, one of my favorite things about coming home was getting to spend time with my kitty.
She passed away due to kidney failure when she was 10, but she wouldn’t have had those 10 years if I hadn’t adopted her, and I wouldn’t have gotten to spend 10 years with such an awesome cat.