It was love at first sight!

For me, the first time it happened I was only 7 years old.  When I first laid eyes on him, I knew he was the one. He looked right back at me and I knew he felt the same way. Meowing and climbing on his cage to get out and see me, I had fallen in love with my first pet! There is something so special about the love we have for our pets and for me, spending time with current cat, Elmo, is an important part of each and every day.

Now, if you’re not a pet person, the rest of this post will seem uninteresting and perhaps, a bit off the wall. For those who have not experienced that love at first site with a pet, it’s always hard to explain why we love our animals the way we do, and why, essentially, they are the masters of our homes. If you do have a pet, you know exactly what I mean. Over the years, I have had many pets.  My first cat, Freddy, lived to be about 14. He was not the friendliest cat but he did purr quite loudly (but also meowed VERY loudly!).  Elmo joined the family when Freddy was 8 – and let me tell you, Elmo was the CUTEST kitten you have ever seen.

When I moved out for university less than a year later, I left Elmo and Freddy at home with mom & dad.  I’m sure a few of us have done that, moved away and left our pets with our parents. I missed them but university life isn’t always great for a pet.  Freddy did have to be put down shortly after, because he was suffering from arthritis and in a lot of pain. Elmo still happily ruled the home at my parents place.

To be clear, I am not a dog person.

Shortly after I graduated university I met my first husband. Now, at that time, he owed a dog.  The rumours about cat people and dog people are fairly accurate. Both of us loved animals of course, but I thought I could convert to being a dog person … anyone ever tried that? It doesn’t really work either way. Shortly after we started dating we moved into a 1 bedroom apartment together.

This time though, he could not leave the pet behind at mom & dad’s place. Some dogs might be ok in an apartment, alone all day – but border collies are definitely not that breed.  With great sadness, he parted with the dog, in order for us to be together.  I still think that might have been one of the most difficult things for him to do, although at the time I didn’t really see any other options.

I caved in and finally got a dog.

I felt bad enough about the first dog having been given up, so I agreed to adopting a farm dog. Did I mention that I am a cat person? Yet when that puppy was first carried into our home, I fell in love all over again. She was not always the nicest dog, but was very loyal and loving.  And often so excited to see us that she would pee while running to say hello (one reason we would let her out to say hello when people came to visit!). It was my first experience with a dog, and when we separated a few years later, letting go of her was one of the most difficult parts of the separation.

Fast forward a few years, and I once again find myself living with Elmo.  Yup, he’s still around. 18 years and still going strong! In fact, he is in great health and still quite active. And even though I haven’t slept through the night in almost 3 1/2 years, I still love him. Yes, he wakes us up at least once a night for food.  He is very creative on how he does it, so closing the bedroom door is not an option.

And master of the house, for now, that is still the case.  He is very talkative and lets us know when he wants something.  Sometimes he just likes to go into the office and meow – we think he likes the sound of his voice. I look forward to our cuddles, he likes to lie right on my chest and listen to my heartbeat when I’m lying on the couch. And although we do realize that he is a senior citizen, we know that it is possible for cats to live into their 20s – so we’re hoping Elmo is one of those cats.

Are you a cat person or dog person? Have you experienced love at first sight with an animal? Is your pet the master of your home?

Update: Elmo passed at 21 years old, having lived a long and full life.

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