Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Monday 20 September |
Saint of the Day: St. Andrew Kim Taegon and Companions
home iconLifestyle
line break icon

How Getting a Pet Helped Me Better Appreciate My Parents

Nicholas Lee

Lilia Draime - published on 05/01/14

If a cat is this hard, then I can only imagine what raising kids is like...

My mom, mother of four and caretaker of seven animals, knows a thing or two about effectively running a household.

Now that half of her kids are out of the house and one more is preparing to start college in the fall, most of her housework revolves around the pets.  She always half-jokes that she does not vacuum to clean the house, but to keep up with shedding animals.

Before I adopted my own cat four months ago, I never really appreciated what she meant by that, nor did I understand how demanding it is to care for other beings.  

Margo is a seven-year-old black puffball with bright yellow-green eyes, and this long-time shelter cat is the ultimate companion.  As I write this, she is alternating between curling up in my lap and climbing on my torso to sit across my shoulders.  She insists upon treating me like a combination pillow-jungle gym whenever I sit, which is a high form of flattery coming from a cat.

As smitten as I am with Margo, taking responsibility for another creature—especially as a student with a busy schedule and a home base 400 miles away—is stressful.  My apartment is generally unkempt, because it’s difficult to keep up.  Fuzzy black tumbleweeds blow across my living room; bits of cardboard from the scratching post glitter the kitchen floor; little nose- and paw-prints decorate each window.  

I can no longer come and go as I please, but must plan for someone to be here for her (my dad insists that she not make the trek to the Draime abode during breaks with me).  Moreover, Margo is a senior, which makes a good vet clinic, proper food and medications, and close attention to her physical and mental health imperative.

These labors of love easily become overwhelming.  I can only imagine what it was like for my parents to care for us kids.  From the time we were infants, all four of us had health problems and illnesses ranging from severe asthma to chronic headache disorders.  Though life with Margo is hardly comparable to parenthood, loving her has given me deeper appreciation for what parents do.  

With Mother’s Day approaching and Father’s Day not long after that, the most I can do is thank my parents: for giving me life, continuing to make sacrifices, being role models, and providing so many amazing opportunities to grow.

Lilia Draime is a junior at a Catholic university in the United States. Her biweekly column addresses issues that impact young students struggling to live their faith on college and university campuses, whether those institutions be Catholic or not.


Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...

Top 10
Domitille Farret d'Astiès
Attacked with acid as a baby, Anmol Rodriguez overcomes and inspi...
Kathleen N. Hattrup
Pope considers what to do with pro-abortion Catholic politicians
Esteban Pittaro
Argentine “Mother Teresa” was a former model and actress who embr...
Philip Kosloski
Your body is not a “shell” for your spirit
Kathleen N. Hattrup
On same-sex unions, Pope says Church doesn’t have power to change...
Cerith Gardiner
12 Habits of Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati that every young adult...
Visalia CHURCH
J-P Mauro
The largest Catholic parish church in the US will soon be in Cali...
See More
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.