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.
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?
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.
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.
- Pets decrease loneliness. In a 2006 study, researchers learned that nursing home residents were less lonely after five-six weeks of regular visits from dogs than residents who visited with a dog in a group setting. Researchers were shocked to learn that these elderly patients greatly preferred the company of a dog to that of their nursing home companions.
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.