Tuesday 6 January 2009

Unconditional Love of Cats

There was a recent article in the press about the outgoing president's lack of unconditional love of cats. He had two it seems. One, Ernie, a stray moggie that Mr Bush adopted when he was running for president in 2000. He gave away Ernie to a friend when he moved into the White House to protect the furniture. The Bush's other cat was called "India" and was, I am told, a black American Shorthair (purebred) who has sadly just died (but after a long life) . The Bush family kept India throughout her/his life. It looks like Mr Bush used Ernie to help him get elected president. When the job was done, it was goodbye. Does this show a lack of integrity? Have I got the story wrong?

unconditional love of an animal
Yes, this is a dog. The same rules apply and it's a great photo in which there is a lovely sense of relaxed acceptance and tenderness between these two. Photo by carf

Frankly this all seems rather typical and one can't really criticize because Mr Bush did improve the moggie's life, it seems. However, the unconditional love of cats is the mark of a true cat lover and animal lover. It also might be the mark of a better kind of person but one who finds it more difficult to integrate into life.

Wikipedia states that, "Unconditional love separates the individual from his behaviors. The individual is loved unconditionally as a "perfect" child of the Higher Power. However, the individual may exhibit behaviors that are unacceptable in a particular situation." (reproduced under Wikipedia's creative commons license - this is an extract from the full article).

So, it seems the Bush family had unconditional love for the purebred but not the stray. The point is that to love truly unconditionally is, I would argue, quite rare. It is an almost saintly act in this flawed word. Mother Teresa comes to mind and even she was flawed. But with cats it is particularly important to love unconditionally as a cat's behavior can frequently clash with our ideas of what is acceptable behavior. Cats do behave differently to humans and anyone thinking of keeping a cat needs to ask themselves whether they can fully accept that behavior. In other words accept the entirety of the animal not just the appearance and presence of the cat. The unconditional love of cats will result in no behavioral problems of the cat provided the cat is healthy. If people turned their minds to these things before adopting there would be less adoptions and less abandonments and less feral cats and less pain and less killing of feral cats.....

The concept of declawing is a good example of a lack of unconditional love. It demonstrates a highly modified and truly conditional form of love. "I'll love my cat if she is turned into a modified cat, a human version of what I want a cat to be." In fact, highly conditional love of cats can lead to poor or abnormal behavior in cats and so is self defeating. To love unconditionally allows the cat to behave normally. A normally behaved cat is easy to live with. People who dislike cats (see e.g. i-hate-cats) are also unable to love anything unconditionally.

A person who is able to provide unconditional love of cats is a person who is able to behave in a way that is very pure. It is behavior that is untainted by self interest. I argue that this sort of person will sometimes have difficulty integrating into society because most peoples' actions are driven by self interest. There is a clash.

Book: Unconditional Love: Love Without Limits

Audio Book: Four Pathways to Success: Succeed in Life Using Discipline, Wisdom, Unconditional Love, and Surrender

Unconditional love for cats to choosing a cat breed

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1 comment:

  1. Unconditional love is meaningless. Just as in human relationships, what creature would want to be loved for NO reason whatever. Love is conditional, if you murder someone, if you abuse your partner, if you cheat, lie, steal, or alter your character to destroy what you are, you do not deserve love no matter what you do. No one and no thing does. Love is earned. If you are on your deathbed, and you tortured your children, do not expect their love, if your beloved pet dies, after years of being your best friend- and earning your love, don't destroy what it means by speaking of "unconditional" love.


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