Once you’ve had a pet for long enough, you realize it isn’t much different than a human. That is, over time, you develop a way of relating to the animal that works. You have a communication scheme, and you know how to push its buttons, and they know how to push your buttons. The cool thing about animals though, is that they are not quite human, so they exaggerate the differences in human relationships to the extreme…you will probably never understand how to relate perfectly to your cat, for example, but by trying, it makes you a better person, because you realize the exact same skills apply to humans that are wired very differently from you.
I’m learning I have a hard time relating to people that think differently than me…when they say something unexpected, I have to learn to deal with them as THEY would want to be treated. Too many times I expect others to act like I would act, and it is my EXPECTATION that leaves me frustrated when they don’t respond like I think they should. With a cat, you learn the discipline of accepting others for what they are and what they do, because you can’t change a cat! You can’t even punish a cat.
In the same way, we probably should do less “punishing” of our human friends. It is fun to try and figure out what makes OTHERS happy, rather than always saying and doing things that make US happy. It’s also very hard, and goes against our nature sometimes. Hooray for pets, and the lessons they can teach us about how to be better people.