Unconditional love is a beautiful thing. I get big doses of it every day from my five animals and I never take the joy their love brings to me for granted. I’m sure all you pet owners out there know exactly what I’m talking about, but since this is National Pet Week, I’d like you to take a special moment to really think about and appreciate the happiness your pets have brought to your life. Ahhhhhh, that was nice, huh?
Now, that said, I admit having five animals running around the house can be a lot of work. Consider the shedding issues alone, especially now that it’s springtime and they’re all losing their winter coats. I can run the vacuum every day (and I have, like three different kinds of vacuums being the neat freak that I am,) and still I find hair. It’s on the floor, on the couches and chairs, on the sheets, and don’t even get me started on our clothes. I probably keep those tape roll people in business from just rolling hair off my black clothes alone. (Why do I still buy black? Why, oh why??) Then, there are those tumbleweeds of hair that collect on the stairs and under the beds and seem to multiply faster than bunnies. I don’t have enough arms, or vacuums, to keep up. You’d think the daily brushing I give the animals would help, but even though I have enough hair left over to form a whole new cat after grooming just my Persian, there still seems to be plenty left over to drive me crazy.
And what’s up with the sloppy eating habits? I don’t own any pigs but I might as well. Every single one of my cats and even the dog have a certain way of eating and apparently it’s designed to make sure as much of their food as possible will fall on the floor. I’ve studied this people, and it’s just not right. They’ll pick up a mouthful of food from the bowl, then STEP AWAY from the bowl to start chewing. Meanwhile, half the kibble they picked up is now falling out of their mouths and scattering everywhere. They’re literally ingesting only about a third of the food they put in their mouths. Do I have a bunch of animals with eating disorders? Did I accidentally call them fat one day and now they have a complex? Whatever the reason, I do know where you’ll find me after each feeding time: on all fours, paper towels and Clorox cleaner in hand, gathering up food bits and crumbs, only to then turn around and CRUNCH! Yep, another piece of food squashed underfoot.
Then, there are the lovely litter boxes to handle. We have three boxes placed strategically around the house. Two are upstairs and one downstairs so the cats can easily find them no matter where they may roam during the night. But, either they’ve all taken a blood oath or there’s something magical about the box in the back bedroom, because it’s basically the only one they will use. When I go to clean them each day, (and it’s always me, never my husband, go figure) two of the boxes are pristine and the other one is…well, you can imagine with four cats using it. As clean as cats are, I can’t fathom why they all want to muck around in just one, stinky box. I’ve tried luring them to the other ones, even going so far as to pick them up and put them in front of the boxes, saying loudly and slowly, ‘This. Is. A. Clean. Box. Use. It. For pete’s sake!’ But for some reason they still haven’t gotten the message. I guess I should should just chuck the other ones and submit to their will, but call me an eternal optimist. I live for the day when I find cat poop in another box. (Wow, that’s sad.)
So between the hair, the messy eating and the lone, dirty litter box, my animals keep me hard at work. But would I have it any other way? No way. For every tumbleweed I capture and couch I vacuum, there’s a sweet kiss and a lick of my hand. For every backache I incur from cleaning litter boxes, there’s a soft purr that lulls me to sleep. For every time I clean up their crumbs, there’s the warm feeling of them snuggling in my arms. It’s that unconditional love thing I was talking about. You just can’t beat it, no matter the cost.
What would you like the world to know about your animal during this National Pet Week? Leave us your thoughts and stories in the comment section of our Adopt-a-human Facebook page at http://bit.ly/adoptahumanfacebook . And if you’d like to experience the amazing love that animals can bring to your life, please consider finding your new friend at SPCA Tampa Bay, http://bit.ly/spcatampabay.