Pets Are Not Just Animals, They're Family

Pets Are Not Just Animals, They're Family

If you aren't a pet person, you just can't understand.

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Over St. Patrick's Day weekend, my eleven-year-old, adorable, loving little kitty Gherty gave my family quite the scare. Yes, she's old, and yes, she's a little overweight (though I prefer to think of her as extra fluffy). But we certainly were not ready for her to leave us. I cried for hours and hours. I prayed for her and worried about her constantly; it was even more difficult considering her and my family are over 1,400 miles away from me. My family cried as they held and pet her and had to give her an IV and antibiotics. We all thought it was her time to go and it broke our hearts.

Luckily, Gherty pulled through. She still isn't in the clear yet, but she's doing so much better. I always knew how special Gherty and my other kitty Gilbert are, but Gherty being sick really helped me realize that my cats aren't just pets- they're family. The two of them are always there for me, they know when I'm sad and they stay by my side. Gilbert is there every night when I go to bed and every morning when I wake up. He's next to me for every meal (he's a sucker for human food). Gherty and Gilbert sit by the door, waiting to greet me as soon as I walk in. They're just like family to me, I treat them like family and I love them like family. I like to think that they think of me like family, too.

Now, don't get me wrong, I get it. I probably sound like some old, crazy cat lady, like someone who is going to be alone for the rest of their life with 30 cats (that actually doesn't sound too bad...). But if you don't have pets, you just can't understand. To all my fellow cat and other pet owners: I think you can understand pretty well. These cute little animals, they're not just your pets. They're apart of your family. They get their own stockings at Christmas, they have their own toys all over the house, they have their own spots on the beds and couches. They're such a special part of your family and you could never imagine life without them.

I don't know what I would do if I didn't have Gilbert and Gherty. They've grown up with me over the last eleven years and I couldn't be more thankful that I've been blessed with the cutest, most loving little balls of fluff and fur. I am so grateful to have my kitties in my life as members of my family. Gilbert and Gherty are most definitely not just my pets- they're family and I love them like it.

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20 Of The Coolest Animal Species In The World

Animals that almost seem imaginary.
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The world is full of amazing animals. So amazing, that narrowing them down to 20 felt nearly impossible. To determine who made the cut for this list, I used very important factors such as, cuteness and how much some of them looked like Pokémon . I know, very official. So here are some of the coolest animals in the world.

1. Pink Fairy Armadillo

The pink fairy armadillo is the smallest and cutest species of armadillo. It is on the list of threatened species and is found in the sandy plains, dunes, and grasslands of Argentina. The pink fairy armadillo is a nocturnal creature that survives mostly on insects and plants.


2. Okapi

The okapi is an animal native to the Democratic Republic of Congo in Africa. Although the stripes make many people believe okapi are related to zebra, they are actually closer to giraffe. Okapi are solitary creatures and come together to breed. They are herbivores, mostly eating leaves, grass, and other plants.


3. Glaucus Atlanticus or "the Blue Dragon"

These little dragon-like creatures are often only about a few inches long and can be found in the Indian Pacific Oceans. The blue dragon floats upside down in order to blend the blue side of them with the water, and the silver side with the surface of the ocean. This tiny dragon feeds on creatures like the man o' war and can even deliver a sting similar to it.


4. The Maned Wolf

The maned wolf is often found in the grasslands of south, central-west, and southeastern parts of Brazil. It is neither related to wolves nor foxes despite its appearance and name, but is actually closer to dogs. The maned wolf hunts alone and primarily eats both meat and plants (about 50% of its diet).


5. Fossa

The fossa is a carnivorous animal located in Madagascar. Despite having many traits similar to cats, it is more closely related to the Mongoose. The fossa is only found in forest habitats and can hunt in either daytime or night. Over 50 percent of its diet happens to be lemurs.


6. Japanese Spider Crab

As the name suggestions, the Japanese spider crab inhabits the waters surrounding Japan. In many parts of Japan, this crab can be considered a delicacy but can be considerably difficult to catch. The Japanese spider crab can grow to 12 feet long from claw to claw. There is only one sea creature-- amongst similar species (aka crustaceans)-- that beats the weight of a Japanese spider crab: the American Lobster.


7. Pacu Fish

Look closely at the teeth, do they look familiar? This fish is found in the waters of South America. This fish, while related to the piranha, can actually grow much larger. They can also be found in rivers like the Amazon and is an aid to the fishing industry. Unlike the piranha, pacu mostly only eat seeds and nuts, though can still create nasty injuries to other animals if need be.


8. Slow Loris

The slow loris is a nocturnal creature found in Southeast Asia. While very adorable, the loris's teeth are actually quite venomous. The toxin on their teeth can also be applied to fur through grooming to protect its babies from predators. Often times these creatures forage and spend time alone, although can on occasion be seen with other slow lorises. Apart from their toxic teeth, the slow lorises have another defense mechanism, in which they move nearly completely silently in order to prevent discovery.


9. Angora Rabbit

These cute, fluffy rabbits are among the hairiest breeds of rabbit of both wild and domestic types. These rabbits originated in Turkey although managed to spread throughout Europe and was even brought to the United States in the 20th century. These rabbits are often bred for their soft wool which can be made into clothing, and often get rid of their own coats every 3-4 months.


10. Axolotl

The axolotl or "Mexican salamander" (who looks like a Pokémon , if you ask me) is often spotted in lakes in various places around Mexico. These little salamanders are amphibious although often spend their adult lives strictly in the water. However, the population of these cute creatures is dwindling due to non-native predators and the continued urbanization of Mexico. The axolotl eats small worms, insects, and fish in order to survive.


11. Liger

The liger, however made up it sounds, is a real (and cute) animal created by a lion and a tiger mating. Ligers only seem to exist in captivity or zoos because the lion and tiger don't share the same habitat in the wild. Unfortunately, these animals don't live very long or are sterile despite being bigger than both the lion and the tiger. While these animals are cool and unique, they are not strictly natural or sustainable.


12. Bearded Vulture

I don't know about you all, but this vulture reminds me of a phoenix which was initially why I looked into the creature. These vultures inhabit a range of places from southern Europe to the Indian subcontinent, to Tibet. This vulture, like other vultures, typically eats dead animals, although it has been documented that the bearded vulture will attack live prey more often than other vultures.


13. Goblin Shark


This unusual shark is also known as a "living fossil" because they are the last representative of sharks that lived about 125 million years ago. It is a deep sea shark that can grow between 10-13 feet if not longer. The goblin shark has been caught accidentally in every major ocean. The goblin shark is not a fast swimmer and relies on ambushing its prey.


14. Red Panda

This cute, small panda lives in the eastern Himalayas and southwestern China. The red panda is rather small, only about the same size as most domestic cats. Its eating habits range from bamboo, to eggs, to insects, and several other small mammals. The red panda is primarily sedentary during the day and at night or in the morning does whatever hunting it needs to do.


15. Blobfish

This blobfish is, in a way, so ugly that it is cute (although reminds me of a certain Pokémon ) This fish lives in the deep waters of Australia, Tasmania, and New Zealand. The blobfish has a density only sightly above that of water. The fish primarily hunts by just floating along and letting creatures wander into its mouth, rather than expending any energy.


16. Leaf Deer

The leaf deer is usually found in dense forests in the northwest region of Putao. The adult leaf deer only stands at about 20 inches high and the males and females are nearly identical except for an inch long horn on the males. It is called a leaf deer because hunters could wrap the deer in a single large leaf.


17. Tiger

While tigers are a more common animal than many others on this list, it is still one of the coolest animals in the world. Tigers are the largest of all cats and once ranged from Russia, to Turkey, to parts of Asia — almost all over the world. These animals are fierce, powerful creatures, although they are on the endangered species list.


18. Narwhals

Narwhals are a species of whale that live in the waters around Greenland, Canada, and Russia. The narwhal's diet changes depending on the time of year: in the spring the narwhal will eat cod, while in the winter the narwhal will eat flatfish. Narwhals can live up to 50 years and most frequently die of suffocation from being trapped under the ice.


19. Cheetah

Cheetahs, while more commonly heard of then some of the other animals on this list, are still incredibly cool. They often inhabit many parts of Africa and Iran. These amazing cats can reach up to 60 miles per hour in three seconds and use their tails to make quick and sudden turns. These amazing cats also have semi-retractable claws which helps with speed. The cheetah, however, doesn't have much besides speed to defend itself.


And finally....


20. Superb Bird of Paradise

This GIF demonstrates the mating dance used by male superb birds of paradise. Typically females reject about 20 mates before selecting one they want to mate with. They are often found in New Guinea although it is unsure just how many of these birds there are. As far as scientists know, the population has remained stable.

Cover Image Credit: Tumblr

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When You Give A Stray Cat A Home

Most people don't know the difference between a stray cat and a community cat, yet these animals lives depend on it.

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The difference between a stray and a community cat.

Stray cats are people's pets who have become lost or abandoned. These cats are very friendly and comfortable around people. Stray cats are usually completely reliant on humans and haven't been able to adapt to life in the wild. They're the ones that will usually post up in your backyard or garage, hoping you'll feed them or give them some love. Community cats are those that have likely been raised in the wild. They've adapted to living on the streets, tend to keep their distance from humans, and like it this way. Community cats often live in colonies that allow them to live a longer life- especially with the help of a human caretaker. Caretakers provide spay/neutering, shelter, and regular feedings for community cats; allowing them to survive and live a long, happy life.

When you give a stray cat a home, you potentially save a life.

It's a tough world out there. Stray cats face many dangers in the wild like starvation and extreme weather conditions. Most of the kittens born in the wild will die within their kitten-hood due to diseases, parasites, and infection that they've been exposed to in the environment. Even then, if they survive their first few months their lifespan is still only expected to be about two years living on its own. People can be cruel and will set poison traps among other cruel attempts to eliminate the stray and community cats (In MY college town, there was food found on the side of the road where a colony of community cats lived that contained razor blades intended to harm them).

When you give a rescue a home, you give a rescue hope.

While some stray cats learn to adapt to the wild, "community cats" often tolerate human interaction, and in some ways, depend on humans for survival. These animals may be shy and abused by strangers in the past, but give them a chance. Offering help and kindness to a stray or community cat can encourage them to warm up to you, and give them a sense of hope. They have feelings too.

When you give a stray a home, you gain a best-friend

As I said before; a "home" to a stray doesn't even have to be living inside your house; a home to a stray could be your garage, under your porch, or any type of shelter around your house. Remember, these cats are likely to approach you and want affection. When you offer them shelter and food, they will become your best friend. ALL of my animals are rescues. We share a special bond, and they are so thankful and absolutely know who rescued them from the dark. They'll always be by your side and love you no matter what.

When you give a stray a home, you give them love, security, hope, and life.

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