Dogs and Cats Aren't Just Pets, They're Family

Dogs and Cats Aren't Just Pets, They're Family
Valeria Sabater

Written and verified by the psychologist Valeria Sabater.

Last update: 21 February, 2022

More and more frequently it is said that the person who has never had a pet, who has never discovered what it is like to live with a irresistible cat or an obsessive and energetic dog, does not know what true, pure, selfless love is…

That kind of love that is offered for nothing in exchange. It is a love which lacks resentment and that, quietly, through the smaller details, makes our life more peaceful, pleasant, and authentic.

We understand the term ‘pet’ as a domesticated animal that lives with humans. However, it could be said that this idea goes further: a pet does not only live with us, they are an essential part of our family. 

It is likely that for many people this idea might be difficult to understand, especially if we understand the word family as a bond in which shared blood is what establishes the relationship.

So, in reality this word can be defined through many different points of view. Sometimes, blood is not enough to “create a family.” There are many relationships based on reciprocality, on bonds that grow to become significant, and on day to day authenticity that brings people together. This is just as true with humans as it is with animals.

All positive emotion, no matter where it comes from, enriches us and helps us grow. So, it’s just fine if we give our dogs a spot on the couch right next to our partner, or our children. We may get laughed at if we try to explain how each morning our cat comes to wake us up, or that our dogs have a certain intuition that knows when we our sad.

Our dogs and cats and other pets form a part of our  emotional life, too. For that reason, we embrace them and include them. We recognize them as an intimate part of our little world. As part of our family. 

When we are adopted by our pets 

girl and dog pets

Have you ever experienced the feeling of being adopted by a pet? When an animal enters our life, it will at first watch us timidly and with surprise. This is because the world of humans is sometimes a little too crazy and complicated for them.

As humans we are sometimes unstable. We accumulate moments of rage, times of happiness. We are sometimes resentful, and what we don’t like today we may love tomorrow. Contrarily, cats and dogs are always the same and only hope for one thing: to be loved. 

When we are adopted by our pets, many things can change in us that we don’t even realize are changing. However these animals, through their playful yet sincere gazes, usually know how to read our thoughts.

When a pet enters our life, we all of a sudden discover that we are the center of their attention, and that they completely depends on us. In turn, we come to depend on them, too. We grow to love the moment we arrive home and they greet us with boundless happiness.

They need to be included in the family and considered a member of the family. They like routines and habits, and that we always treat them the same, consistently and without contradictions.

When this mutual adoption becomes full and complete inclusion in the family, we all change a little bit. Our pets become our protectors. We are their tightest bonds, their role models, the lap on which they take their afternoon naps; for them, we are members of the same pack. 

They are our daily emotional solace. They offer us relief. They are our silent confidants, consolation to our sadness, and pepper our days with explosions of laughter and relaxation.

When we form a relationship with a dog, or a cat, our family becomes bigger. Our hearts become stronger. Caring for them is a duty, but loving them, and being loved in return, is the greatest privilege.

My pet and I are unique to each other 

dog and cat touch noses pets

When we make our pets members of our family, we become the center of their existence. It doesn’t matter if we wake up in a bad mood, or if we come home from a horrible day in which we failed at everything we tried…

For our pets, we are always the same, no matter what happens. Our mistakes don’t matter, our moments of carelessness, our physical appearance, and whatever happened in our past. Our pets live only in the present moment, and only know how to show us that we deserve to be loved, no matter what. 

Sometimes, wrapped up in our daily worries, with our responsibilities and places to go, we don’t realize how our pets take care of us, how they look at us… and this is something we should notice. 

They live each moment to its fullest. Yesterday doesn’t exist and tomorrow has no meaning. Our pets are only eager to spend some time with us, hoping to be the best, happiest, and most at ease they can be.

They are not demanding. They never judge us. They have the subtle ability to bring out the best in us. When we arrive home feeling sad, our pets, these special members of the family, know how to relieve our tensions in an instant. 

They will always take a hug, an embrace, a kind word. They let themselves love fully, and only hope that we will do the same. They are loyal creatures that make our everyday lives an adventure full of funny stories, and kindhearted moments. They will always hold a special place in our hearts. 

Images courtesy of Nadezhda Yume 

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.