Editor’s Note: Laura Barcella is the night and weekend editor for writer for Catster’s sister SAY Media site, xojane.com. This article first ran on xoJane, and we’re running a shorter version (with permission!) so you can comment on it.
I’ve always loved animals more than I loved humans. I know, lots of people say that (a lot of people I know, anyway, but maybe that’s because all the people I know are bleeding-heart lefty animal-loving types). In my case, though, I really mean it (at least most of the time).
I’ve been a massive animal lover since birth, basically. When I was a kid, we had a cat named Trouble, whom I enjoyed chasing, harassing, and forcing to snuggle with me; she enjoyed routinely scratching my face when she wasn’t purring and being a lovebug. She lived to be 16, and soon after she died, we promptly adopted two kittens.
Except for my freshman year of college, I’ve literally never NOT had a cat. Nowadays, I’ve got two kitties (Joon, 14, and Batman, 10-ish) and a dog (Henny, eight-ish), all rescues. They are one of my primary reasons for living — I love them so much I can hardly deal sometimes.
My adoration for animals sometimes manifests itself in weird ways, like how I can’t drive past road kill without wanting to shriek and throw myself from the vehicle. Oh, and I have to physically look away during those awful Sarah McLachlan commercials — you know the ones. (I doubt I’m alone there; those ads are traumatic!)
Anyway, here are my five reasons animals are better than people. Let me know if you agree with my assessments.
They’re like living, breathing stuffed animals. How could anyone NOT go instantly mush-gush and start involuntarily emitting squeaky high-pitched noises when confronted with fuzzy critters? (I’m equal opportunity — my strongest passion is for cats and dogs, but bunnies and gerbils and ferrets and all kinds of other small furry animals are great, too). How could anyone NOT want to take an adoptable fur-face home for their very own? There’s nothing I like more than watching terrible TV like The Bachelorette with a purring cat sprawled across my chest. Preferably while shoveling frozen yogurt into my maw.
This means they can’t yell at you, or fight with you, or belittle you, or try to make you jealous, or insult your intelligence, or catcall at you (heh), or ask you for things you aren’t prepared to give, or tell you how to live your life. This also means they (sadly) can’t propose marriage, or thank you for dinner, or give you life advice, or ask you to change their cat litter. But who cares. Sitting in silence with an animal is awesome. And they communicate effectively with meows, barks, glances, glares, and odd body language (my personal favorite: elevator butt, when a cat shoves his ass in the air to indicate that he wants you to scratch his back).
They have no ulterior motives. They don’t plot to steal your boyfriend, or make insipid comments about your roots starting to go grey, or answer important questions with frustrated sighs. They’re all heart and gut. They do what they feel, and they can tell if you’re sad. When they love you, it’s clear. If they aren’t that into you, it’s also clear. There are no guessing games with animals, no human-scale subtleties, nuances or shades of grey. Sure, there can be some mixed signals when you first meet ’em — when they’re not sure about you, when you’re first starting to build a bond. But once they’ve learned to trust you, they tend to become wholeheartedly obsessed with you — and they have zero interest in “playing it cool,” feigning indifference, or not calling you back. They have more important things to eat.
Humans like to be needed. I’d even go so far as to say that we NEED to be needed. It makes us feel valuable, like our existence matters, like it would be a concrete loss — to someone, or something — if we died. Our animals need us. They rely on us for food, and shelter, and bathroom supplies, and luxuries like toys and treats. (And love, of course!) And because they can’t ask for what they need, this kind of dependence feels even weightier — not only do they need us, but we’re expected to KNOW what they need without them asking or telling us. They’re like babies, but … forever! This is a real responsibility, one that obviously shouldn’t be taken lightly. Thankfully, for many animal lovers, I don’t think it is. Plenty of us actually enjoy feeling responsible for keeping our creatures healthy and happy. They pay us back a zillionfold with cuddles, purrs, and in helping us feel less lonely.
Animals give us the kind of acceptance we should be giving ourselves, but don’t. They don’t give a whit about our hair, or our outfit, or our adorable new platform shoes, or how bad we stink when we’ve somehow managed to forget to take a shower for three days. (Actually, who knows — maybe they DO give a whit, but they can’t verbalize it, so we’d never know! Doh.) Regardless, our pets’ love for us is untainted and unconditional. They accept us whole; they don’t mind kissing us when we have morning breath, and they certainly don’t mind snuggling up with our sweaty gym clothes or dirty socks from the hamper (they actually kind of like it — ew). They’re cool with whatever we do, however we look, however we feel. They’re just SO INCREDIBLY OUT-OF-THIS-WORLD GLAD that we’re there at all.
Did I forget anything?! Add your own reasons in the comments!
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