Waking up the sound of paper shredding and a couple of small innocuous items falling off of my night table at 5 am isn’t exactly my idea of the greatest way to start the day on a Sunday morning. If I had the choice, I would rather hear the birds chirping or the soft sound of chimes outside my window. However, that is not how it works in my world: Alice is my four-legged alarm clock, with an iron will and an insatiable appetite for canned grain-free meat. Try as I might, I can’t help but eventually give in to her relentless protests as little bits of paper fall from her mouth like tiny sparks of fire. “Okay, Alice”, I say with a sigh. Her wish becomes my command.
Spoiled rotten? Yes, I guess you could say so. However, I do not acquiesce to her desires in vain. As soon as I open a new can of food, she can feel my love for her. It is a love that she, at that precise moment, does not question. As she rubs herself against my ankles, I know that she is thanking me, from the bottom of her heart, and that I have just officially become the closest thing to a canonized Saint in her eyes.
As often as I gripe and complain about these seemingly outrageous early-morning demands from my best furry feline friend, I also know that at the end of the day, I feel so blessed to have her in my life and as her human, I have signed a contract which states that I will look after her, to the very best of the ability, until the day she takes her final breath. It is a moral responsibility and one I do not take lightly.
Having grown up with animals my whole life, the truth is plain to see: their love is the purest love one could ever hope to have. They are not calculating, fickle, or vindictive. If I step on her little toes one day, on accident, she may let out a meow and saunter away for a few minutes, but as soon as I hold out my hand and gently call her name, she runs back in forgiveness. I don’t have to fall to my knees, utter apology after apology, and repent. Somehow and in some way, my cat knows my heart.
I know it seems simple, but even in its raw simplicity, the take-away message is profound:
Love, when it’s genuine, shouldn’t always have to be earned, and that is arguably the greatest kind of love there is.
I treat my animal like I would another human being, with decency and respect. Being of a spiritual mindset, I truly believe that animals are our gurus for inner peace. They are the near-perfect embodiment of what it means to be truly present. If we pay close enough attention, our pets can even hold a mirror to us, showing us what we need to heal. Still, no matter how unhealed we are, our animals hold in their hearts the utmost regard for us.
No matter how flawed human love may be, I always know that my cat will never make those same mistakes. She will never abandon, disrespect, or disregard me. Nor will she ever even want or expect me to change. Her love for me is unconditional. We owe a lot to our animals for the love that they offer us—much more than we could ever possibly fathom, for their love is truly the purest love.