Keep your Valium, doctor, I have my cat!


Natural stress reliever

Cats have been part of my life since I was a little girl. Dogs are great, but due to our love of travel, adding a canine to our family hasn’t seemed the wisest option. In recent years though, my husband has often stated that our current cat is THE LAST ONE.

*gasp*

Don’t get me wrong, he likes our feline companion, but he’s concerned about the toll it takes on us to care for an animal, especially as it ages and we’re forced to make tough decisions with medical options.

I agree on one level. I don’t look forward to emptying and changing the litter box, and my heart broke when I had to say goodbye to another loving pet five years ago. But, there are so many wonderful aspects to pet ownership. Isn’t the sacrifice and commitment worth it?

A feathered friend I met on Duval

You’ve heard of the studies about the positive effects of pets on humans. You know how a cat snuggling on your lap can relieve your stress, or how a dog wagging its tail can melt your worries away. If only for a little while. 

I’d heard about some of these studies, too. What I didn’t know, however, was the extent dogs, cats, and other domesticated creatures can contribute to our quality of life. So, the next time my spouse reminds me of how simple our life would be without a feline or canine underfoot, here’s my response:

Benefits of Pet Ownership:

  • Pets improve your mood. I mean, who can stay sad or angry when greeted by a loving, non-judgmental fur ball? I can’t.
  • Pets lower your blood pressure. Wow. There’s hard science behind this one. (See the study, “Pet Dog or Cat Controls Blood Pressure Better than ACE Inhibitor“)
  • Pets provide social support and relieve stress. This one makes me think of all those romantic comedies where the guy uses the dog to break the ice with the girl he adores from afar. But there’s more to it. Pets can give us the opportunity to get out and socialize.

Best Friends and Co-Workers

On our summer getaway to Key West, my husband and I met the street performer in this photo. If you are a regular reader of Margarita Moments, you know my motto, “You can see it all on Duval.” That’s the norm in Old Town. However, we are much more likely to engage in conversation with those vendors or performers with a pet by their side.

That leads us to the last benefit proven by scientific studies.

Unlike me, one of my dear blogger friends, Catie Rhodes has had the honor of being a dog owner. I urge you to read her touching blog post, “Life Lessons and Little Dogs” . You won’t regret it.

Is the research right? Does your pet provide you with an escape from daily life hassles or worries?

DISCLAIMER: If you dislike animals, are allergic to fur or dander, or otherwise unable to care for a pet properly, I wouldn’t recommend getting one for the benefits listed above. In addition, I’m not a medical professional, and as such, used the title as creative license, not as medical advice. If you are experiencing anxiety, depression, high blood pressure, or other emotional or physical ailments, please seek the advice and consultation of a trained medical professional. This blog post is merely the opinion of an animal lover.

19 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Subhan Zein
    Oct 08, 2012 @ 23:37:41

    I think I need a pet, hehe. Thanks for your post, it’s been great to know. Blessings to you. :-)

    Subhan Zein

  2. Nicole Basaraba
    Oct 08, 2012 @ 23:53:06

    I love pets. I’m pretty sure once your husband is sans kitty for a few weeks, he’ll come home with one and surprise you. P.S. love the disclaimer at the bottom, don’t you love how these are necessary sometimes.

    • Jolyse Barnett
      Oct 09, 2012 @ 18:49:50

      Hopefully this kitty has a long, healthy life. She is currently five years old. We love dogs, too. Perhaps we’ll get a little dog in our retirement years. Have a wonderful week, Nicole! :)

  3. Marcia
    Oct 09, 2012 @ 00:12:05

    My husband recently said “someday when we don’t have anymore pets….” I stopped him right there and said, “That day will never come. I will always have a pet.” End of story! LOL I had dogs all my life – rough collies, border collies, cocker spaniels, a toy fox terrier. I love them all. when I began living in apartments in 2000, I found cat love at the ASPCA. Right now I have my 8 yr old love, Rocky, and my 4 month old kitten, Frankie Blue Eyes. Frankie was born a preemie and is deaf. He contracted a bad virus from his distemper shot but is now back to being his playful self. They make me laugh everyday and they’re great snugglers. Your reasons for having a pet are spot on and I also believe that everyone who can, should have a pet.
    Love the pic of your kitty, Jolyse!

    • Jolyse Barnett
      Oct 09, 2012 @ 18:56:01

      You have a nurturing heart, Marcia, and I imagine your pets all have known the extent of your love. I adore the name, Frankie Blue Eyes. Named after Sinatra, perhaps?

      Have a terrific week, and get back to your writing cave. You have a deadline, girl. LOL

  4. Catie Rhodes
    Oct 09, 2012 @ 13:26:05

    Thanks for linking to my post about Angel. I loved her so very much.

    You know, before she died, I said she was the last pet I’d ever have. I was tired of finding her a place to stay when we vacationed in place where she couldn’t go. I was tired of saying, “We have to be back by X o’clock to take care of Angel. Then, she was gone and it was over.

    I found that I was terribly, terribly lonely for the company of a dog. I got Cosmo. He didn’t replace Angel; instead, he filled a hole in my heart I didn’t even know was there. He’s my little buddy.

    Some people do choose not to get another pet when an aged one dies. My mom had this mean old cat for 20 years. She had have the cat put to sleep because the cat suffered liver failure. Mom didn’t get another pet. She wants one but doesn’t want the responsibility. So there’s a different perspective on it.

    • Catie Rhodes
      Oct 09, 2012 @ 13:26:46

      The quotations should close after the word Angel. Sorry for the typo. :D

    • Jolyse Barnett
      Oct 09, 2012 @ 18:57:50

      Well said, Catie. Thanks for sharing your memories with us, and I’m thrilled Cosmo has entered your life and filled a hole you didn’t know was there. How’s the training going, by the way?

      Happy week to you and your furry friend. :)

      • Catie Rhodes
        Oct 10, 2012 @ 12:13:08

        Cosmo’s training is going well. He is such a smart little guy, and so eager to please. We have tons of fun. I am thinking about enrolling us in a “nose work” course, which will teach him to find scents. I think that would make some more fun games for us to play.

  5. Julie Glover
    Oct 09, 2012 @ 15:38:02

    I’m a cat person. I think dogs are a little too much responsibility for me. Cats desire attention, but they tend to demand it less.

    We usually have two cats at a time, and that’s true now. However, there is also a neighborhood cat that I’ve given into feeding and petting (and naming and getting vet treatment for), so I guess he’s ours too. My hubby and I talk about not having cats after these are all gone (one of our cats is 15 years old), but I doubt that will last forever. We’ll take a break, and then someone will find a stray cat and I won’t be able to resist and the next thing you know…

    • Jolyse Barnett
      Oct 09, 2012 @ 19:02:17

      Hi Julie! Great to see you here. I have the best of both worlds. My cat thinks she’s a dog.

      I hear what you’re saying about the time, effort, and responsibility of pet care. We used to have two cats at a time, but the litter box became a hassle. One cat is more manageable for our busy life. That way I can give everyone the attention they deserve–human and feline. :)

  6. A. C. Cockerill
    Oct 10, 2012 @ 15:29:39

    Absolutely loved this post, Jolyse! I’m a kitty mom, too. Cheers, Ashley

  7. Donna Coe-Velleman
    Oct 12, 2012 @ 23:51:38

    I grew up mostly with dogs. When I got married the package, my husband, came with two dogs. Then we got another, a Great Dane, and over time a cat, another cat, a dalmatian, a Beagle, a Cocker spaniel and now we just have two cats.. Don wants another dog but I’m resisting because I know I’m the one who’ll be taking care of it. and like you stated they require more care. Plus our cats are becoming mushes. What else would one need?

    • Jolyse Barnett
      Oct 15, 2012 @ 18:49:08

      Wow, you must be chillin’ with all those pets. I think I’d resist getting another, too. Animals are wonderful to have in our lives, but they involve work. Thanks for stopping by, Donna, and taking the time to comment. Much appreciated. :)

  8. Raewyn Hewitt
    Oct 18, 2012 @ 01:05:56

    Ah our kitten is trying to ‘help me type this comment’… We haven’t had pets for years because we were travelling, and then we had babies. But this year we adopted 2 kittens who have totally changed our lives. Despite the fact they have scratched the new furniture, the curtains, me, don’t like many of the pet toys but prefer bits of paper or receipts they can scavenge or grapes out of the fruit bowl(!?), and demand to be let in and out of the house so many times I think I’m a doorperson – they are are a real blessing. Nothing like a playful, purring puss to make you feel life is okay. And the kids adore them. Now I wonder how we ever managed without them!

    Great post by the way!

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