I didn't really grow up with pets, but I can't imagine living my life without some furry creature to dote on, love and care for. They just worm right into your heart, and like you say, brighten your day. It's the BEST welcome home anyone could ask for, if you ask me!
So the cats are your step-cats? I tell my fiance that all the time - as in my cats are his step cats (the dog is ours). Actually, what I really told him was that we are a package deal - get me and get 2 cats free. Ha! 1052 days ago