Loyalty Day, the lesser-known May 1 holiday, celebrates American freedom and the reaffirmation of loyalty to the United States. It's also a fine time to celebrate the loyalty of your loveable pets.
Dogs are often looked at as the epitome of loyalty. Ever since Lassie rescued Timmy from a well, dogs have been portrayed by the media as loyal, faithful, and "man's best friend." Cats, on the other hand, are portrayed as aloof and distant. Remember the cats in Lady and the Tramp? Well, it's not like that in my house. My cat is just as loyal as my dogs.
The Cat Was Here First and She Still Loves Me
First, a little background: My cat has been around since before I met my husband. Shortly after we married, we introduced a puppy into the household and followed that up with another puppy. Within a year of the second puppy, we brought home a bouncing baby boy.
Through all these changes, my cat has stuck by me. She puts up with being chased by a couple of frisky dogs and our pesky toddler, but she'll still cuddle up on the blanket next to me, purring. She's the first one to greet me in the morning and never lets me read a book without placing herself directly on my lap. If that's not loyalty, I'm not sure what is.
Cats Need Love to Give Love
In my opinion, cats are reciprocal in nature. That means we have to show our cats loyalty first in order for them to give it back. That's not necessarily a bad thing. We just have to work at it a bit. Once we've shown that we love them, respect them and are kind to them, they'll give that love back tenfold. However, like with all truly meaningful things in life, their love must be earned first.
Because They Want to Be
It has been my experience that dogs are pack animals with a fairly rigid hierarchy. If you've ever watched one of those dog training shows, then you know that the alpha dog rules the behavior of all other dogs within the pack. Cats appear to be autonomous. They don't think you are better than them. They think you and they are completely equal. Because of this, you can't force them to do anything. Everything they do, they do because they want to. Cats can be truly loyal, but unlike dogs, that loyalty comes out of their desire to be loyal to you. That makes it so much more valuable.
So, this Loyalty Day, I'm celebrating the loyalty of my cat. Like the battle for American Independence, my cat's loyalty did not come easy. In the end though, she's shown she can be every bit as loyal as my dogs and that makes her place in my life all the more special.