Relationships

Is Your Pet Your Best Friend?

Is Your Pet Your Best Friend?

Sometimes I get worked up about a certain someone in my life. Is her diet healthy enough? Why is she so hyper? Is she happy? To which my partner usually says…

“Megan, she’s just a cat.”

But to me, she’s so much more. Almost two years ago, on a chilly Sunday, we adopted Edie from a woman who rescues cats from shelters. She was tiny and sick; she sneezed and shed all over our jackets when we held her. Right away, we knew she was ours.

We were told that when she came home with us she’d be scared and overwhelmed; that we should keep her in a closed room to give her time to acclimate. But as soon as she arrived, she tottered over to me on her little kitten legs, hopped up and nestled herself on my lap, as she’s done most nights since.

The day after she arrived, my boyfriend had to go abroad for work, so it was just me and her. (One reason we had decided to adopt a pet was to keep me company during his frequent travels.) I fed her and nervously gave her medicine. She began her favorite pastime of following me around the house, like the little puppy that she is not.

Edie quickly became a constant, when so many things felt all over the place. And I was her person. We watched TV together, we chatted, and we sent way too many selfies to Mac during his trips. She sat on the bathroom sink while I brushed my teeth and snuggled up next to me in bed. Edith Wharton said: “My little dog — a heartbeat at my feet.” My little cat was a heartbeat curled up beside me.

Like 35% of American households, my family had a cat growing up (44% have dogs). I knew I’d like having one around, but I never imagined loving a creature so much. While I soon learned that Edie was not all purrs and nuzzles (she can be a wild terror at times), the bond we formed is steadfast, no matter how many times she scratches the couch.

The French writer Jean Cocteau said: “I love cats because I enjoy my home; and little by little, they become its visible soul.” I’ve never been a homebody, so spending time alone, while Mac was gone and friends were doing their own thing, wasn’t something I naturally cherished. But Edie has become that visible soul inviting me to stay; she makes our apartment feel not empty but full. And when it’s all three of us curled up on the couch together, even better. It’s hard to imagine the time before she came into our lives.

She’s my best friend. Even though she’s just a cat.

Is Your Pet Your Best Friend?

Are you an animal person? Do you have a pet?

P.S. A dog story and making friends as an adult.

(Bottom photo from Obie & Jane.)

  1. I feel the same way about my Puppy (Harley) he is my best friend. Notice I said Puppy… he is 10 years old and he will always be my Puppy; not dog. He has been with me through a divorce and the death of my Mother. He was the reason I got out of bed a lot of days when all I wanted to do was stay in bed and cry all day. My husband and I haven’t even taken a honeymoon yet because I don’t want to leave my Baby behind. My husband says he aspires for me to spoil him as much as I spoil Harley. I think he is a tad jealous!

  2. Tatiana says...

    My BF is Toby! he is a Morkie (Maltese-Yorkie). He’s been with me for almost a year and has helped me with my anxiety problems. Since I am a housewife, Toby and I spend every single day together. Recently I bought him a stroller, I know, I know…everybody thinks I went too far but the truth is that I did it because that way Toby can be safe with me while I’m doing some shopping! Toby is not friendly at all so that’s why I need to keep him in his stroller. The funny part is when ppl look at me like “is she crazy?”.

  3. Every year the hardest part of our annual vacation trip is leaving behind our best friends, our two cats, Katze and Jayla. They’ve seen the suitcases load up and wheel out, and when I try to say goodbye they’ll hide under the bed, as if that will change the impending situation.

    My husband’s parents spent a month with us, and I could see how much my mother-in-law also missed her cats at home. I always thought maybe I was just a little too crazy about my cat. Maybe not! Thank you for writing this article! This Cup of Jo article gave me the push I needed to write about how we try to ‘Manage Vacation Anxiety for Your Cat and Yourself.’

    • Tatiana says...

      It is funny how we think that other people think we are crazy!

  4. DJ says...

    I have 2 cats and a dog. Growing up we had a bunch of small animals, but never a dog (what we really wanted) until I was 13. Then we always had dogs and cats. At one point we had 3 dogs and 4 cats. I’m more of a dog person, but I love my cats too. Cats and dogs are very different, but honestly I think they’re better together. I take the dog running with me for “protection” and I blame the cats anytime there’s a weird noise in the house.

    My first dog passed just over a year ago and losing her was awful. She’d been there for me since I was 16 so we went through a lot of changes. I was just starting looking for a house, so it was hard losing her and knowing she’d never be in the new house with me. Kind of weird, but I wish she’d been able to be there just so I could have memories of her with me in the new place.

  5. Rachel says...

    My cat Luca is my love, too. He is 7 and when I was recovering from 2 massive surgeries due to bilateral breast cancer, he never left my side. He is more loving and loyal than some family members.

  6. Claire says...

    We’ve had our golden retriever, Bob, for almost two years now and he is definitely up there with my top three favourite things in the whole world! He’s a total dude, handsome to boot, and is the most loving, loyal dog you could ever hope for, so affectionate! He’s a total mama’s boy and the feeling is 100% mutual! Friends for life! ❤️

  7. Your cat is adorable. I love cats. My cat is a little devil but I love him to the moon and back. He is the highlight of my days. He is my little dog-cat. x

    • Megan Cahn says...

      Sounds just like Edie!

  8. I couldn’t have stumbled upon this article at a better/worse time. My cat, who I have had for 8 years, escaped last week and I have not been able to find him. I live alone and it’s been just the 2 of us for almost a decade. He’s seen me through 2 careers, 3 relationships, lots of happiness and lots of tears. He is my best bud. The loss I feel is indescribable and Jean Cocteau’s quote could not have said it better. My home feels so empty. Thank you for posting…

    • Megan Cahn says...

      I am so sorry to hear that, Steph. Thinking of you and hoping he wanders back home.

  9. Sarah says...

    This post has come at a painfully fitting time for me. I put my cat, Gabriel, down on May 3, and have been wading through the grief associated with losing your best friend. We were together nearly every day for 12 years, since I was 19 until now, 31. They were formative years, that would have looked very different without my fluffy sidekick. It is a strange time where some people can relate, and others try, but fail, having never had the warm, physical relationship a pet offers. The comments I’ve been reading here make me feel much better understood. OF COURSE a pet is a best friend, the love of a lifetime! I am warranted in feeling the deep loss that I do. Thank you for this.

  10. I’m definitely a pets person. That’s why I study veterinary medicine, because I loved my pets. I have a dog, a beagle named Bernie, and it’s like my baby. I love him so much. He came after I lost my other dog, a poodle named Cotton, after 16 years, and I was depressed.

    Pets are part of the family. Everywhere I go, my dog goes. I got married, and there was my dog. And I hope to move to another country soon, and my dog comes with us. When we have babies, my dog will be their nanny haha.

  11. Marsha says...

    When I first gazed into the eyes of our rescue dog, I knew I would love him…I just didn’t anticipate how much I’d be IN LOVE with him. He is my best friend, my favorite thing and the light of my life.

  12. Ally Henderson says...

    My cat, Scuttle, came into our life five years ago this October and he is definitely the heart and soul of our home. When we went to the local shelter, and were in the midst of over 200 kittens, I saw him and his dirty little white nose (he’s a black tuxie) and instantly knew I wanted him. I held him, and he immediately began to purr and knead me, and [naturally] I cried. He added so much life to our tiny little one bedroom apartment, and he continually does so to this day. He has a way of mediating arguments between my husband and I, and our favorite thing to do as a family besides cuddle on the couch is play stalk-chase together. I love that little terror-kitty boy, and he will forever be a part o our family.

  13. Pascale says...

    A million times yes. My dog is the light of my life, my very best friend.
    I often feel misplaced in social settings, whereas with her it is just the two of us in our own little world. The sound of her light, gracious strides following me around the house is my favorite. And she just brings so much joy to the simplest things ! I can never stay grumpy in the morning because she’s so happy she succeeded in getting me to come down. And she loves music and curdles down next to me whenever I play the piano. Her little face is always there in the corner of my eye, watching everything I do – like my mom loves to say, I can only wish I am half the person my dog thinks I am.
    She is 11 years old now, a little black cocker that still gets mistaken for a puppy whenever we go out. I couldn’t imagine our life without her – and as I’m sure you can tell, I could gush about her all day long :)

  14. My cat is absolutely my best friend. Actually the two of them. This post was like saying everything I feel, but couldn’t say myself, outloud. I love being at home with them and wonder how they are doing when I am not there. I talk to them like they are my children and they respond. We all love nuzzling around together and weekends are always the best time when we can all spend more time just at home.

  15. Kim says...

    Pets will never abandon you!

  16. Amy says...

    I’m so happy to see a pro-cat blog post, lol. I like dogs, but I have always LOVED cats. I’ve had six cats in my lifetime and loved them all, but two of them were super special to me. My Oliver is pretty much my kitty soulmate and the snuggliest dude around. Couldn’t do hard days without him. We discussed it and he’s going to live forever…

  17. Cris says...

    Thanks for putting in words how I feel about my two cats…I could not have expressed better how I feel bonded to them…they are the joy of my life, my rock in the storm and my light in the dark (even if some people might think I lost it, myself included:-)

  18. Our cats are the love of our lives…seriously!

  19. Emily says...

    Yes yes yes. I recently had to put down my soulmate of a best feline friend and it still breaks my heart, almost a year later. I work remotely and she was always by my side and could totally read my emotions. Cats are just SO special. Sigh!! xx

  20. Allison C. says...

    We have an 18-year old scottish fold who is the sweetest cat. He recently went blind but has adjusted so far. He still manages to jump on our bed every morning and nestles next to me or drinks out of the glass of water on my bedside table. He is our constant companion and best buddy and we love him dearly!

  21. Kiley says...

    My dog was instantly my baby/best friend from the moment my fiancé and I got her. I didn’t think it was possible to love a little creature so much! I frequently inform her that I love her more than most people :P

  22. Roberta Roth says...

    My relationship with my cat is just like yours! She was already an adult when I adopted her and she is my little precious thing! I too worry if she’s healthy and I send pictures of her to my boyfriend all the time. She follows me around the house and even waits for me at the door when I arrive home.
    She helped me cope with depression and anxiety when it was bad and I am forever thankful for all the good things I feel when she’s with me.

  23. My husband and I both agree that we love each other, but that we love our dog more. I rescued Grizzly when I was in college, and I really had no business raising a dog. But he ended up saving me- he was there through bad boyfriends, crazy roommates, multiple tragedies, and my constant existential crises. He is the love of my life.

  24. Yes, 1000% my dog is my best friend! My then-boyfriend/now-husband and I got him 2 years ago and while we were always a happy couple just the two of us, our puppy really made us a family. We walk together everyday and I cherish the few days a week I work from home and he lays at my feet. I probably spoil him too much, and now that we’re expecting our first human baby I worry about how he’ll adapt. Pets truly are part of the family. Thanks for writing about them!

  25. SARAH G MILLER says...

    Short answer – yes

    Longer answer – yes, my nearly 1 year old cat, George, is my best friend.

    Any other questions?

  26. molly says...

    I couldn’t agree with this post anymore!!! Sums up my relationship with my dog (fur child).

  27. Mea says...

    Are you kidding? I love my dog to bits. I’ve had her for 10 months now and it is no comparison (at least for me) to having cats. I had two cats for 14 years but this dog is just so much more. I love her like crazy and I’m sure it’s not healthy but I can’t help it.

    • Maddy says...

      This attitude sucks. I wish people would stop dismissing how much we love our cats- you have a stronger bond with your dog, exactly the same as you have different levels of friends and family.

  28. I feel the same about pet. I used to have a cat when I was a kid. She always sleep on my lap when I do my homework :'( thinking about her make me want to cry, she passed away a long time ago. I also love dog, but the feeling that cat brings us is very different. Having both of them will make my life perfect.
    https://le-lennyface.com/

  29. May says...

    We moved into an old farmhouse and I used the excuse to find a cat to keep the mice down. My husband told me to go ahead and find my cat. We adopted an adult male cat that had been in foster care due to an injury and have never looked back. As much as I love him, my husband has grown to love him even more! For someone who always proclaimed “I don’t really like cats” well, that’s pretty funny!

  30. I would never forget that cute little sausage dog that I grew up with. Even after 10 years of losing him, I still think of him with such fondness and sadness in my heart

  31. Babs says...

    Thank you for writing about pets. Please continue to do so – as can be seen from the wonderful comments, so many of us can connect with stories such as these.

  32. Ashley says...

    I have a dog, Jake. He has helped me through some heartbreak and anxiety with his loving kisses and constant companionship. Plus we know go running so he is also to thank for my slimmer figure and stronger legs.

  33. This post touched my heart. 11 years ago I became a single mama with a broken-hearted six year old. We adopted two litter mates — Tiger & Lucy — so that I could remind my son of the power of loving unconditionally. These two crazy kittens mean the world to us now and their presence in our house makes it home. 11 years later, I can’t imagine life without them!

  34. Caitlin says...

    Our 2 cats and Shiba Inu are the loves of our lives! My husband and I don’t have kids yet so these 3 are our kids! We are obnoxious with them. We actually say that our 1 cat (he’s a boy) is gay with my husband because he LOVES my husband so much – it’s hilarious! Pets are the best – they always make us feel better after a rough day and never cease to make us laugh.

  35. I feel the same about my cat! In fact, I feel bad because I don’t have as strong as feelings about our dog (we got our dog 2 years after the cat). I still love our pup, but our cat has a special place in my heart, as the first pet we got out of college & living on our own.

  36. Maggie says...

    Yes, yes, a million times yes. My cat is the love of my life.