Those who love and respect the special bonds we can form with animals – the bonds that show us that the term “people” is a bit too specific to a certain know-it-all species – can skip this. It’s not meant for you and won’t say anything you don’t already know. This is directed at those others.

Permit me to rant a moment. There are those who see our companion animals as things. Too stupid to know any better, to remember their past, to understand pain and loss. Then there are those who know better. Not because of some idiotic mystical nonsense, but because they’ve actually opened up their hearts and minds to a dog, a cat, or some other intelligent animal. That’s when they learned that, while no animals – a cat for example – are quite as smart as a human they’re damn sure not stupid. The smarter ones are … smarter. They remember things. They get sad and even vindictive. If you don’t think a cat can hold a grudge and then make a very clear point beyond “stupid animal” about it, you’re the one who is fooling yourself, not the cat owners.

The same goes for a dog. Hell even pig owners who’ve allowed a pig the same special place in their family as a cat or a dog can see an impressive amount of self-aware “person” in that creature. It’s a shame they’re so tasty I’m not a PETA member, I’m an omnivore, but I believe in treating all animals (even the ones we eat) with respect.

I address this post to those insensitive, vulgarly stupid assholes who close their eyes to reality and favor “conventional wisdom” – for whatever reason – about just what defines a “person” and whether a cat, dog, pig, horse, dolphin, chimpanzee, or whatever has a right to be treated, respected, and loved like a person.

For those of you who would tell me, in my current situation with a sick cat whom I’ve lived with and loved deeply for my entire adult life, that “she’s just a cat” and that I’m somehow being unreasonable with the depth of emotion I feel over her rapid decline and eventual loss, I have a few things to say to you.

First: Fuck you. Seriously.

Second: I feel very sorry for you (but still, fuck you) because you’re missing out on one of the most important lessons you can learn in this life.

Third: I never wish a beloved animal (*person*) in your life to die, but here’s what I do wish upon you: Against your will, a creature whose intelligence and personality you’ve dismissed, will worm his or her way into your heart. You’ll grow to truly recognize them for individual they are. Then you’ll be forced to be there for them when they age and eventually die. I hope that by this time your bond is so close, you wouldn’t dream of being impersonal … that you’d feel the responsibility toward your loved one that really is there – the deep-seeded need to be there for them, to make them comfortable, to worry over whether to let them go naturally or worse, to worry over when it’s time to end their lives for them.

In short: I wish you my fate. Not out of cruelty, but out of a hope that there’ll be one less hard-headed, closed-minded, soulless fuckwad out there because he or she went through a heart-breaking experience that taught them one fuck of a valuable lesson about love and commitment.

Even if it is “just a cat.”

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