It may not be cool to admit this in some circles, but apparently some of us feel that cats are easier to get along with than humans. I have heard this several times from completely different people. Is this true? Once you adopt a cat, is it really easier to have relationships with cats than humans? Here’s what I think:
Humans and our behavior are complicated. We have our filters, our experiences, our background, and our free will. It all shapes how we respond to things and how we get along with other humans. We can aspire to the highest human ideals, for example, but we often seem to bump up against our stuff when we interact with one another.
But when we interact with cats, we are interacting with an entirely different being. They are not human. There’s a bond there that gives us so much. I know, for example, that when I’ve had it with the world, or if I’ve had an unpleasant or strange encounter with someone, that I can then have an entirely different kind of interaction with my cat.
Humans aren’t always the best at unconditional love, but our animals sure do a great job of modeling it. Your cat doesn’t care what you weigh, or if your clothes are new, or if you’re making tons of money or very little. I think we humans need and thrive on this respite from the rest of the world. Who doesn’t thrive on unconditional love?
Even better, our cats teach us about unconditional love. I remember the time I first realized this. I had the flawed belief that I could not love anything, simply because it hadn’t, to that point, been very well modeled in my life. When my first cat was ill and I threw myself into her care, I remember realizing and being surprised that I was giving unconditional love. Within my means, there was nothing I wouldn’t have done for that cat. This was a huge relief. I felt a little more human because of this realization. Crazy as it sounds, it was very freeing to realize that yes, I was capable of unconditional love. These cats have taught me a great deal.
The fact that our cats depend on us for their needs is also something that certainly makes the relationship different than, say, a relationship we might have with a human. Because we must provide for and make decisions for our pets, it brings a unique dynamic to the relationship. It puts us in a caring, helping, and loving position. It’s a huge responsibility we are entrusted with to make decisions for the care of our cats. It can be difficult and heartbreaking, but it’s also something that can bring out the best in us. Maybe that’s why it may be easier to relate to cats than some humans — maybe the nature of this special relationship lays the groundwork for really special interactions.
My relationship with my cats is just one way that I keep on learning patience, care for others, adaptability, letting go, and love. Of course, you could argue that we learn the same thing in human relationships. That is true. But there seems to be an ease of learning these things that comes in the relationship with an animal companion. Perhaps loving our feline companions is a safe way to learn to become or practice becoming a better human.
What do you think? Is it easier for you to relate to cats than humans? Why or why not? Let us know in the comments.
More by Catherine Holm:
About Catherine Holm: Told that she is funny but doesn’t know it, accused of being an unintentional con artist by her husband, quiet, with frequent unannounced bursts into dancing liveliness, Cat Holm loves writing about, working for, and living with cats. She is the author of The Great Purr (cat fantasy novel out June 1), the cat-themed memoir Driving with Cats: Ours for a Short Time, the creator of Ann Catanzaro cat fantasy story gift books, and the author of two short story collections. She loves to dance, be outside whenever possible, read, play with cats, make music, do and teach yoga, and write. Cat lives in the woods, which she loves as much as really dark chocolate, and gets regular inspiration shots along with her double espresso shots from the city.