Do you have animals in your life? If yes, what do they mean to you? If no, why have you opted not to?
I have three fuzzbucket kitties. Two orange males named Cheddar and Colby, and one Siamese female named Chantico. I adopted the first two from the OKC Animal Shelter shortly after I was allowed to move off base when I was promoted to Senior Airman. They were about four and a half months old. I adopted Chantico nearly a year later. She was about two months old. She fit in fairly quickly with the older two, which is good. I was quite worried initially due to the size difference, but then I saw this little white cotton ball of a kitten chasing a larger orange cat through the living room and decided she would be fine.
My cats are definitely considered family members, like furry children. I honestly cannot imagine life without them. For example, I panicked one afternoon when Cheddar escaped outside for a few hours shortly after I returned to Seattle after separating from the Air Force. At the time, my parents had a couple cats who came inside to eat, but lived mostly outside. I would have my cats down the hall during the day while I was at work, and their indoor cats would be down in the family room during that time, leaving the cat door open for the outdoor cats to come and go as they pleased. Well, one afternoon, less than two weeks after I returned to Seattle, I let my cats out from down the hall and went about my business. One of the outdoor cats came in and yowled. I realized my error and did a quick check on my cats. Cheddar was missing. After frantically searching the backyard, going around the block, and asking neighbors if they had seen him, I waited inside in a half-panic. Cheddar finally came back inside and I picked him up, hugged him, and told him how much of a brat he was. Why was I so worried? My family lives on a very busy street and it has claimed numerous pets over the years. Cheddar has not spent much time outside, so I worried he might panic and run into the street. I am grateful that did not happen.
Some people may not like cats or think they are as sociable or friendly as dogs, but they have never met Cheddar. That fur ball greets me at the door most times I come home, follows me through the house, and is quite friendly to guests. In fact, I have had to remove him from the room if we have people come in to fix various appliances, because he constantly demands attention. I really do not need my kitty getting in the way while a guy is trying to fix the furnace, right?