May is National Pet Month: Why Pets are Good For Your Heart and Soul Year Round

As the Project Manager for the military department, I dig in – whether stepping in to help production on the floor – or managing tedious contracts and paperwork in my office to ensure all our orders get out on time.

I work for a manufacturing company, managing the shipment of products for our military department. It’s both a physically and mentally challenging job, with lots of critical deadlines that have to be met, and when I leave for the day I’m already exhausted. My drive home is stressful – the traffic crawls and the roads are not equipped for the heavy flow of drivers, meaning sometimes you have to wait for several light cycles to turn green before you can even move forward from one intersection to the next. My point being, I’m completely drained by the time I walk in the door and all I want to do is grab a glass of wine and put on my comfy sweatpants.

While this is an older image, back when my angel Jazz was still with me, the same concept holds true every day…that of all my cats waiting to greet me at the door when I come home from work!

But that’s not how it goes. Before I pull into the driveway, my cats already know I’ll be walking in the door. Their internal clocks are completely in tune with the time I’ll be home and they are waiting by the door, causing me to trip over seven very animated cats that are glad I’m home. They’re happy to see me, both because they missed me during the day, and because they know dinner will be served shortly thereafter.

My routine is pretty basic, after tripping over my feline fan club; I walk from the entryway to my office to quickly set down my purse. It doesn’t happen every day, but sometimes I’ll step on a hairball someone has hacked up and I have to clean that up. And then I’ll notice that someone has left a gift in the litter box that needs scooping. Typically if I scoop, one of them will instantly appear to replenish the gift pile, meaning I have to scoop again. Since we have several litter boxes, this ordeal can go on for some time.

This is a typical pre-feeding wrestling scene at our house. While it looks pretty bad, it’s really more for show and no one is getting hurt.

When I finally make my way back to the kitchen, feeding them is akin to being both a juggler in a circus and a referee at a boxing match. Cats jump up and down from the counter while I’m trying to put food in their dishes, and once I put their dishes on the floor it becomes synchronized chaos as one cat tries to steal the identical food from another cat’s dish. There can be swatting, wrestling, growling and more going on in tangent.

After that ordeal, I wash the dishes and try to make my way to the bedroom to put on my sweats. I say “try” because if one of them has eaten too fast, I’ll have some resulting vomit to clean up. And chances are high I’ll also have some after dinner litter gifts to scoop up, so in actuality, it’s probably a good 30 – 45 minutes later before I finally have my sweatpants on and I’m sipping that much-needed glass of wine.

This image says it all for me…

On the surface, it might seem like I’m complaining, or that I find it all to be a bother. That couldn’t be further from the truth. May is National Pet Month and that’s the long-winded, backward point of this story. While the routine might be temporarily hectic and add to my exhaustion, the fact that I’m doing it means my cats are a living, breathing part of my life. It means I can see them, touch them, and love them. I know my time with them is borrowed and I treasure every single second I am blessed to have with each and everyone one of them.

This is me, dark roots, no makeup, flabby arms and all. My cats love me regardless.

Whether a pet is given to us, or we find one somewhere, or we adopt one, or it finds us, or we buy one, that pet becomes a lifelong commitment and responsibility. They rely on us to give them food, shelter, veterinary care, and an enriched environment. In the case of a cat, one with lots of toys, cat condos, sleeping mats, clean litter, and more. The love in return is worth every small and large bit of effort. And their love is unconditional, too. They don’t care that my skin is starting to wrinkle and sag. They don’t judge me because the dark roots are showing in my hair because I just don’t have the time to get it colored anymore. They don’t care how much money I make, or how many followers I have on Facebook. They love me for me.

The happiest part of my day – being surrounded by the love of my cats. Instant calm and peace for me.

At the end of the day when I settle down on the couch, they are my rocks. My blood pressure lowers and my stress starts to ebb away. One will jump to come snuggle on my lap, and soon after I’ll be covered or surrounded by the rest of them. It’s a peaceful time and the best part of my day. And all those glorious moments in between – the happy cat prance dance I get when I enter a room and one of them is there. Or the random meow conversations they share with me. Or them following me from one room to the next like a little puppy dog.

Zee left this gift on my computer one day while I was at work. When I came home and saw it, the gesture brought me to tears. No money in the world can replace this kind of love.

I have an endless list of the gestures of love they show me and I wish everyone could experience that love. Pets are good for your heart and soul and there are so many pets in shelters and rescues that need a good home. Wouldn’t it be a wonderful world if they could all find a forever home? National Pet Month is a great time to spread that message, but as you all know about me, every day is a day to love a pet. Or respect a pet. Or adopt a pet…

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  1. Andrea Dorn says:

    It’s so nice to hear someone else in a multicat household dealing with the same events as I do. And yet we overlook all of those gifts and tiffs for the love they give us every moment. You’re right, we must appreciate them during the short time they visit our lives.

  2. Charles Huss says:

    Your story is almost exactly the same as mine (at least about the cats) except feeding always comes before everything else.

  3. Oh gosh, yes all of that is so true. Pets, companions are great levellers, and need our attention, love and play. To beat stress and have a good life, one needs to have a home, and we all know home is where the heart is, it is also where our companions are too. Spirals aren’t good in nature. Nature is full of circles, companions make a circle of life complete, at least in my book and world.
    Toodle pips and purrs

  4. jmuhj says:

    Yes, yes, and YES. The love of cats makes the rest of it bearable! In our family, cats have always BEEN family, never “pets” and I really don’t know how any of us would be able to get through the stresses of life without their beauty, grace, elegance, loyalty and LOVE unconditional! *Your pix are wonderful, btw. Especially that first one of the clowder waiting by the door.*

  5. The same feelings you describe are aroused in myself and my cat family. How empty the place would be if they were not there to greet me.

  6. That sounds so familiar, except the fact that we get fed before humans ! Purrs

  7. Ellen Pilch says:

    Excellent post, furbabies are the best medicine.

  8. meowmeowmans says:

    What a beautiful post, Deb. We, too, think coming home to our pets is the best part of the day. 🙂

  9. Deb, thank God for cats but self-care more. You ‘re amazing but have your hands full and soon more responsibility as CWA prez. Where is your cat man Dan? I’m on a digital detox but visiting a few old faves xo

  10. Chirpy Cats says:

    I missed this post but it’s right up my alley! Oh my cat I can really relate to this. Luckily I work close to home with zero traffic but when I get home it takes my husband and I a full 45 minutes for the kitties feeding routine before we feed ourselves. And of course litter duty with the inevitable litter box ‘refresher’ from each cat as one gets cleaned. Luckily my husband does litter box duty and I only do the odd scoop. Mol.

    But the snuggles and love they bring into our lives far out weigh all the obligatory kitty chores we do for them.