I grew up in a family where cats have been a major member of the family. We had a few cats that showed up and admittedly I treated them terribly, and then we had cats that lived a good long life and we had tearful goodbyes. We had cats who had their lives taken much too early, and then also got to listen to immature dog lovers who bragged about their killing of cats. Since I grew up a paper carrier I did not have the best relationships with dogs. Over time we had a tortoise, some chickens, and we had a rat for a while. All of which were pleasant pets.
After leaving home I was listening to one of the radio shows and the host said some very thoughtful words. These words still stick to me several years later. The words he said were "Pets are here to remind of us about our mortality." Adding to that I would also say that they remind us to live in the now with them because they may be gone before you know it.
My wife grew up with a dog in her life. She also had rabbits and chickens as well. The later ones she was more involved with raising. After we got married I convinced her that cat's were more independent and we adopted two cats as indoor cats since we live close to the edge of town where coyotes wander. She very quickly felt that I deceived her with how much they bugged her for attention and food. A lot different from the cats i grew up with. While I chose to adopt the black domestic short hair female, Princess, in the end she chose my wife, while the bright and always seeming to be cheerful boy, Jichan, that she chose eventually chose to be with me all the time.
Six and a half years later the shy quiet Princess passed from cancer. It was tearful, and my wife took it hard. A month later, my first dog, Musashi, came into my life. He is very playful and always cheerful, now. When we got him, he was quite, and calm, and what we didn't know, he had pneumonia. Several vet visits, and many antibiotics later he became what his breed is supposed to be like. Eventually the only problem that came up was that the boys were boys and liked hanging out. My wife missed her cat and her character. This led to our most recent addition Vivi. A beautiful grey domestic short hair that exhibits many of the similar characteristics of princess. We'll see because every animal is it's own character, and that is part of the reason we love them.