278 Days ’til 40: Unconditional Love

19 May

Unconditional love.  Isn’t it what we all really want in life?  Yet, how often does love truly come without conditions?I would venture to say that we all experience different types of love, which are dependent on the type of relationship (i.e.: spouse vs. parent/ child) and that the type of relationship will often play into the ability to truly form unconditional love.

I LOVE my pets because I think that they are an amazing gift and they teach us a phenomenal lesson in unconditional love.  I have three cats, and while cats may have a bad rap when it comes to love (often described as aloof and noncommittal) I find that to be anything BUT the case with our three felines.  In fact, most often our cats are on our laps purring to their heart’s content.  I love the fact that these precious animals love us because we are.  Yes, they do tend to demand food, water and a clean litter box, but in return for caring for them the love flows freely.  There is nothing like the gaze of an adoring animal as they look into your eyes and purr or nuzzle into you.  There are many animals capable of this bond… dogs, cats, horses, dolphins… and so many more.

I think that these animal connections are so special because they do not come with the conditions that relationships with humans often come with.  It is easier for us to love an animal unconditionally than to love a human unconditionally – because we place many more expectations on the humans in our lives.

Additionally, I would say it is easier to love a child unconditionally (at least in today’s society) than a spouse….  you expect more from a spouse than your child.  Many people (unfortunately) go into marriage with unrealistic expectations and when they have to work at the relationship they will often choose to leave, rather than put in the effort.  Most people do not choose to leave their children – they love them no matter what they do… no matter how painful, and they work to try to support and assist them.  Yet, we all create many conditions for our spouses.  We give them ultimatums, we are full of conditions (in some cases the conditions are needed, if your spouse is hurting themselves or others).

I wonder what life would be like if we could interact with each other in a way similar to our pets.  If we were able to give and receive and exchange that unconditional love that is so freeing.  If we could allow that type of love to flow, what would relationships look like today?

I must admit, I have been accused of having a co-dependent relationship with my cat.  We have been together for 14 years now.  He came before my spouse and my children and he knows he holds a special place in my heart.  He reciprocates by “killing” an array of stuffed animals for me each night, which he proudly announces at 3:00 a.m. as he places them outside my bedroom door.  Love for loves sake….. I wish we could all experience it.

Today, 278 days ’til 40, I am thankful for the wonderful lessons my loving pets teach me.  May I be open to the  lessons they have to teach me and may I apply them in my relationships with others.



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57 responses to “278 Days ’til 40: Unconditional Love

  1. Claire Cappetta

    May 19, 2012 at 00:14

    I agree, we have a fat, black cat who thinks she’s a dog and sometimes ‘talks’ endlessly and understands “Get out of the kitchen, you great furry ball!” She’ll turn tail and run because we both know she ate way too much already for for the day! 🙂

    • 400daystil40

      May 19, 2012 at 10:32

      So funny!!! We have one cat that talks back to us when we yell at her for doing something wrong – it is hilarious!

  2. boomiebol

    May 19, 2012 at 00:14

    Insightful post!!! I am not a cat person but I know pets can be loving to the end, and children too. No matter how much my twin girls are put on time out by me or dad, they still run back into our arms for hugs…even after they’ve been scolded.

    • 400daystil40

      May 19, 2012 at 10:31

      So very true! Yes, it is amazing how forgiving children can be! We as adults could learn a lesson.

  3. charlesmashburn

    May 19, 2012 at 00:22

    We are NOT related! CATS??
    Seriously, though, pets are absolutely the most forgiving things on this planet, and that is the key to unconditional love–forgiveness. That said, discussion of this topic could go for days.
    Here’s a quick little story about our old dog that goes well with your post–another good one, by the way!

    • 400daystil40

      May 19, 2012 at 10:34

      What a great post! Yes, it goes perfectly with what I wrote about! Just know, I have converted many dog lovers into cat adorers (my partner being one of them). 🙂 😛

  4. stephenedwards425

    May 19, 2012 at 00:23

    We are currently the proud parents (we refer to them as family members, never as pets) of Callie the Sleek Dog, Jake the Wonder Dog, OC the World’s Smallest Cat, Molly the Vampire Cat, and Zip the Free Climbing Kitty. There is never a dull moment with them.

    Be encouraged!

    • 400daystil40

      May 19, 2012 at 10:31

      Very true! Our cats keep us entertained and we also refer to them as family (our daughters call them their sisters and brother).

  5. jensine

    May 19, 2012 at 00:48

    i think it is rare to have unconditional love and that is why it should be treasured … cuddle your cat (when he allows) and enjoy … cat-less, spouse-lees and childless only leaves my pillow for me

    • 400daystil40

      May 19, 2012 at 10:29

      Yes, it is something to be cherished…. I know many people who get pets for that love and I also know that it is well-researched that seniors with pets live longer… most likely for these same reasons.

      • jensine

        May 19, 2012 at 12:23

        really, that is interesting.

  6. buckwheatsrisk

    May 19, 2012 at 00:51

    interesting, my Hubby is co-dependent with our dog, that is a struggle for me.

    • 400daystil40

      May 19, 2012 at 10:29

      Yes, at times it can be challenging if the codependence is too much…. thankfully I have mine under control enough that it is not an issue between my partner and I (maybe because my partner is smitten with them too???)

  7. saymber

    May 19, 2012 at 01:01

    My gosh I can relate to what you talk about here. I have a better time relating and interacting with animals than I do most people lol. My dogs and cats are the way I tap into my conception of the “divine.” My Sammy, our male cocker spaniel we lost in April 2011, was the closest I think I’ve ever been to living with tangible, unconditional, nonjudgemental love and when he left oh it’s hurt!!! I told my therapist recently that I think I can relate to how the apostles felt when Jesus left….a loss beyond consolation. My little female rat terrier and two senior female cats don’t care if I haven’t showered, put on a bit of weight or have a huge zit in the center of my nose…bad breath. They love me and yes, I too wonder if our world could be so much better if we all learned to coexist like we do with our pets!

    • 400daystil40

      May 19, 2012 at 10:28

      Yes, so very true… amazing that our pets love us no matter how we are….. I personally believe a house is not a home until a cat is in it 🙂

  8. narf7

    May 19, 2012 at 01:06

    Right there with you and the pets…I think unconditional love is the love that is left once all the magic has gone…its the thing that keeps you cleaning up vomit in the middle of the night, covering your partner up when he is snoring on the sofa and carrying on long after there is anything left to carry on for. Its when you choose to take love seriously and find it in your heart to choose to love whether you are loved in return or not. Its powerful, its beautiful and sometimes its downright tragic. Pets and mothers…you can’t get more unconditional love in this world than from either of these 2 species.

    • 400daystil40

      May 19, 2012 at 10:27

      I agree with you – love the comment about unconditional love being what is there when the initial magic has worn off – great way of looking at it.

  9. True STORIES.

    May 19, 2012 at 01:07

    I think unconditional love is nice for pets and for children. And I think certain lessons from the ability to love that way should be applied to a marriage or partnership. Definitely. But I do think that it’s good to have a bottom line–and to know what it is and when it’s being crossed. Even if it isn’t technically abuse. I think walking away because you’ve reached your bottom line and you need to stay true to yourself is different from walking away because you don’t want to work for it. Every effort should be made–because it is a lot of work. But if you’re not being met half way…
    Anyway, good post!

    • 400daystil40

      May 19, 2012 at 10:26

      I agree with you, which is why I mentioned just that in my post. There needs to be a limit to unconditional love (even with pets and kids) if a person is doing something that harms themselves of others. You are completely correct.

  10. The Quiet Borderline

    May 19, 2012 at 01:18

    Hehe, reminds me of my sister’s cat called Charlie. He was lovely. He would bring my sister dead birds that he’d caught in the garden to her in the mornings, right next to her pillow!

    • 400daystil40

      May 19, 2012 at 10:25

      Oh wow, I am so glad that my cat is indoor only and can only kill stuffed animals!!!!! 🙂

      • The Quiet Borderline

        May 19, 2012 at 17:24


  11. writerwannabe763

    May 19, 2012 at 02:12

    I enjoy your blogs on all subjects and admire your perseverance ..and so even though you maybe already have this award…I have nominated you for the Versatile Bloggers Award Diane.details

    • 400daystil40

      May 19, 2012 at 10:25

      Thank you so much, Diane. I really appreciate your thinking of me, it means a lot. Thanks.

  12. compositions of wool

    May 19, 2012 at 02:45

    What a lovely post, I was just thinking about this earlier as I realized I was excited to come home and nuzzle with my kitty who just turned 5 today. 🙂

  13. writerwannabe763

    May 19, 2012 at 05:01

    When you talk about your cat…it melts my heart. We’ve had an array of pets and now only have one doggie but we lost two cats last year and they do look lovingly into your eyes and you can almost think they’re understanding what you’re feeling at the time. Yes unconditional love…the purest there is….Diane

    • 400daystil40

      May 19, 2012 at 10:22

      Definitely! It is so hard to lose a pet/ family member.

  14. dcwisdom

    May 19, 2012 at 05:40

    A well-written post and great analogy! Faulty human love from faulty humans – that’s why we need the unconditional love of a perfect Savior.

    • 400daystil40

      May 19, 2012 at 10:21

      Faulty human love can seem to surround us….

    • rabidmongoose

      May 20, 2012 at 05:41

      Agreed dcwisdom…The love of God is the only true and unconditional love I know. It’s hard to unconditionally love others because of the hurt we cause each other.

  15. Vikki (The View Outside)

    May 19, 2012 at 10:09

    Awwwww, what a lovely post 🙂

    I love my pets too, they are my babies….you can’t beat the sound of a cat purring on your lap 🙂


  16. consciousquared

    May 19, 2012 at 11:32

    I really enjoy what you share. Your posts are awesome. Thank you. Co-dependent to your cat. LOL!

  17. lijiun

    May 19, 2012 at 13:43

    Hi! It’s really great if we can love other Animals same like our “Pets”. This can reduce animals “Killing” and less “MEAT” eating! What a beautiful world! Cheers!

  18. Lela Bonchjela

    May 19, 2012 at 14:05

    I couldn’t agree with you more 😉

  19. sued51

    May 19, 2012 at 15:33

    I have had cats my whole life; their unconditional love means everything. I lost my 20 year old cat in 2009…she demonstrated pure heart and pure love until the day she died. She waited for my husband to get up come into the kitchen and speak to her before taking her last breath.
    Great comments on this post…thank you saymber and narf7 and True Stories…

  20. viveka

    May 19, 2012 at 19:44

    Had two cats – Whiskey & Zoda … Whiskey just moved in .. big black and white … the king where ever he came – even if he had been castrated. Nobody was challenging him, they just stepped to the side. Zoda, an adorable tabby in grey and apricot. Whiskey didn’t like her very much for a long time and he was right to blame me to get her into the family – he made all the house rules for her and she obeyed. Our vet said that’s not natural that a male can behave like that. Both gone since years back and miss them still.

    • 400daystil40

      May 19, 2012 at 22:48

      Yes, I miss all the pets I have lost over the years too… they are so special.

  21. MamaToBean

    May 20, 2012 at 03:31

    I wish I wasn’t deathly allergic to cats – the way you talk about yours makes me want to get a kitty. 🙂 I admire them from afar. I have a dog though and my family has always had a dog in our lives. It was a great lesson in responsibility and in unconditional love – and the loss that comes with loving something so much. I had just mentioned to Fatherbean the other day that no matter what our lives will always have a dog in it. I’m willing to go to lengths for my dogs that I wouldn’t for myself I think because she gives me so much and asks for so little. We adopted her from a rescue but she saved me when I was having my hardest time emotionally. I still say to this day if it hadn’t been for her I wouldn’t have healed so fast. 🙂

    I loved reading all the comments on this post too. I think that sharing an animal’s love brings people together.

    • 400daystil40

      May 20, 2012 at 16:31

      You could always get a hairless cat! 😛 Dogs can also be wonderful pets!

  22. golanskistreasures

    May 20, 2012 at 04:58

    Can’t get myself to consider them pets, as that implies we own them. In our household, it’s quite the opposite, and we are loving owned BY OUR furry family members! Just lost our beloved Ragdoll mix (cat) three months ago. How I miss my dance partner – a macho-man and cuddle muffin rolled into one. We plan on bringing a Ragdoll baby home w/in a couple of months (born – just needs time until he can go home with us), and the joy of welcoming the playful energy and comedic relief of a kitten is being eagerly anticipated. Our dog is a sweetheart (and sees himself as the cats’ protector, ombudsman and spokesperson), and we love him dearly. He’s all about love. Our cats love us on THEIR terms, which is quite fine. There is simply NOTHING to bring peace to the heart like a purring cat — NOTHING. Our Maine Coon mix died at 19 1/2 years of age. She wasn’t a cat – nor a pet – not even an animal. Human? No — Cleo was a spirit above and unique onto herself. Our teacher, or heart. Life without our cats and dogs would be hollow indeed.

    • 400daystil40

      May 20, 2012 at 16:30

      Okay you are right, they really own us!!! I LOVE Ragdoll cats! In fact, we keep looking at them ourselves! 🙂

      • golanskistreasures

        May 20, 2012 at 19:47

        Try as I might, I can’t seem to find an appropriate entry for a cat in GOLANSKI’S TREASURES. However, as I explore a “prequel” to the book I’m giving serious consideration to a cat as a character. Time will tell.

      • golanskistreasures

        May 20, 2012 at 19:48

        I’ve been giving serious consideration to how I can give my central character a cat in GOLANSKI’S TREASURES, but it just doesn’t seem to work. However, in the “prequel,” which I’m planning – a cat may fit in quite nicely!

  23. irishsignora

    May 20, 2012 at 14:33

    Indeed. Sometimes I think our dogs are closer to God than we are 🙂

    You might enjoy this: — it’s a website with all sorts of links about pets being destined for Heaven. Peace be with you! — Kelly

  24. John Jonelis

    May 22, 2012 at 22:41

    Not to get too heavy here, but no mortal is capable of true unconditional love. Some come closer than others. But not to despair–it was demonstrated on earth just once. By the one Isaiah prophesied to come. The one he called Immanuel–“God with us”–AKA Jesus Christ.

    • 400daystil40

      May 23, 2012 at 08:39

      I suppose all of us humans come with conditions on some level, don’t we?

  25. Lucianus Mauricius

    May 29, 2012 at 07:07

    I once heard this phrase in a movie which have long forgotten the tittle of; Unconditional love means I love you, but you don’t have to love me back.
    Unconditional love is unrealistic to say the least, and yes we’re talking about human interactions, though I did get mad at my cat when he didn’t show affection towards me when I needed the most. I guess I’m not cut out for unconditional love.

    • 400daystil40

      May 29, 2012 at 10:34

      Very good points…. Sad, but also funny comment about being mad at your cat for not showing affection… ironically, the cat probably sensed your mood at that time and was uncomfortable being close – animals are very sensitive in those ways.


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