While grocery shopping after work one evening I bumped into an old friend I hadn't seen in several years.
We immediately exchanged the condensed versions of our lives since high school and laughed about the good old days, reflecting on parties we went to and the many sleepovers we organized.
Then she started to fumble through her purse, and I knew what was coming next - wallet-sized versions of her children.
"This is my oldest, she just made 5. Oh, and here's a picture of my little one, he's almost a year old now," she said pointing to the photo of a chubby baby with rosy cheeks.
So, in return, I pulled out my wallet and showed her a snapshot of my “little one” - my 6-year-old black and grey American longhair cat named Pootie.
The expression on mu friend’s face went blank. She looked confused. Then she started laughing.
"You carry a picture of your cat in your wallet?" she asked. "Yes," I replied.
My long-lost friend couldn't seem to grasp the idea of someone loving her pet so much that she would carry a picture with them at all times - like many people do with photos of their children, and I couldn't figure out why she thought it was so odd.
Maybe it's because I come from a long line of animal lovers, but I treat my cat like he is a child.
Think about it - you do many of the same things with pets that you do with children.
You take them to the doctor to get their first shots, and also when they are sick.
You feed, bathe and play with them. You discipline them when they won't listen and give them treats when they are good.
You dress them up in cute clothes and protect them from harm.
So, what's wrong with carrying a picture of your dog or cat in your wallet?
After all, isn’t a dog a man’s best friend?
My cat is the first one to greet me when I come home in the evening and he curls up in my lap when I am upset.
In my eyes, that makes for a pretty close comparison, and I couldn't imagine my life without the little guy.
And one day when I have children, I'll make room in my wallet for their picture, too.