This article is an expansion of Iris’ submission for Pawjourr’s #WhatsYourReality campaign. We recommend reading her original submission before proceeding with the article [link].
Pet ownership is a difficult journey, but its challenges can be exacerbated by family members who are not understanding of your pet’s needs.
For Iris, she experienced this first hand when she invited a new family member into her home, someone who took an immediate disinterest in her cat, Kitty.
We reached out to Iris to know more about her struggles in maintaining relationships with her family while continuing to pursue her responsibilities in pet ownership.
We hope that through her story, we will be able to raise awareness of the importance of acknowledging pets as family members and cultivate a greater understanding between pet and non-pet owners.
1. Tell us more about your relationship with Kitty, and why you chose to adopt her.
We found Kitty as a stray kitten living near a void deck in Woodlands. The mother cat could not be seen anywhere near the area, so I took her in and brought her to the vet because I felt it was dangerous for such a tiny kitten to be roaming around alone!
Initially, I was just fostering her – I kept her in an old cage that I had for my guinea pig since she was so small! Even smaller than a guinea pig!
She was estimated to be about 3-4 weeks old at the time. I was looking for an adopter, but after a month of fostering her, I could not bear to let her go and decided to keep her. I had to convince and show my dad that I could take good care of her. He eventually agreed. I think she secretly had grown on him too!
2. What are the common misconceptions non-pet owners have about animals?
Non-pet owners that I have come across so far seem to think that pets/animals are just animals – and that they are of a “lower class” than humans. Another misconception is that animals are “dirty” and especially for cats – they are stereotyped as destroyers of furniture.
3. Why do you think it is important to treat your pets like family members?
Pets, just like any other human, have feelings!
Hence, they deserve equal care and love just like any human being. It is really important to make sure that pets are well-loved and well taken care of, as they will learn to reciprocate the love they feel. Plus, their love is unconditional.
Treating pets like our family members also has a positive effect on us humans, because they can help to reduce our stress and cheer us up when we’re down. After a long day at work, nothing that feels better than giving my cats a big hug. Plus point is definitely when they start purring on me 🙂
4. How can non-pet owners show respect and understanding towards pets, and pet owners in general?
Have sensitivity and if there is nothing good to say, just don’t say it.
If a non-pet owner is someone who feels strongly against animals, he/she can choose not to visit a pet owner’s house to minimise interaction with the animals – you can always meet outside (although not so much during P2HA!).
From my experience, I’ve actually been really lucky and managed to “convert” some of my friends who were scared of animals into being less scared of animals, just by simply letting them be around the cats. Being exposed to pets and animals in general in a safe environment helps non-pet owners understand that there really is much to love about pets!
5. I understand you moved shortly after submitting the story. How has Kitty adapted to the new home, and has there been improvements with regards to your relationship with the family member?
Kitty has adapted amazingly to the new home! We moved in just at the start of the first P2HA so that gave us a lot of time to be at home with Kitty and her siblings, Munchie & Floofy, monitoring them and making sure that they are comfortable and happy.
Kitty, being the oldest, took slightly longer than Munchie to adjust to the new environment, but she soon found and claimed her spots in the house and now she is very at ease in the new home.
Unfortunately, that family member has not come to visit us, partially due to the current regulations, and partially because we are unsure of how they would react to seeing Kitty again. Despite her, the rest of the family have also come to visit because they’ve missed the cats and it’s quite obvious that the cats miss them too!
Taking the cats out of the picture, our personal relationship with that particular family member has definitely improved since moving out. We are hoping that in time, the family member will grow to be more comfortable around the cats.
But for now, we’ll likely stick to meeting outside first!
Iris is not alone in facing such challenges. If you have faced a similar situation, let us know how you overcame it.
Do share with us your thoughts on the common misconceptions between pet and non-pet owners as well!
Thank you to Iris for sharing her story. Read her original submission to our #WhatsYourReality campaign here.
* This blog is designed to be a community where pet owners can learn and share. The views expressed in each post are the opinion of the author and not necessarily endorsed by Pawjourr. Always consult your veterinarian for professional advice.