I love animals. I am a proud mom to two wonderful cats, I have been a vegetarian for 15 years (since I was a young teenager), and I most certainly brake for squirrels and other wildlife. It is known that animals can make a positive difference in someone’s life, and that they can calm an anxious person, and comfort a depressed person. Pet’s give their people something to think and worry about outside of themselves.
If you type into google any combination of words involving pets and mental wellbeing, you will find over a million results, for this reason I am not going to go into much detail about statistics or discuss studies, this has been done, you can even read many of the peer reviewed studies for free online. Instead, I am going to talk about my own experience with pets and mental wellbeing.
Many articles focus on dogs, and the benefits of having one. I love dogs, but I do not have a dog at this point in my life. Dogs are good for encouraging their human to go outside for a walk and to meet new people (and their dogs). Cats can also benefit their people. Today I will provide anecdotal evidence from my own life.
As I stated above, my husband and I are the humans to two cats. Both of our cats are boys, and both have been neutered. Seamus, the older of the two, has chosen me to be his primary human. If I am home, he is with me. He is my little shadow. Sammie, on the other hand has chosen my husband to be his primary human. They play, often roughhousing around.
Both cats are spoiled, as I believe all pets should be. Seamus, being my shadow, is also very attuned to my emotions. When I am feeling particularly depressed, he snuggles closer, and purrs more forcefully. Purring in cats is an amazing thing. It is one of the most comforting sounds I know.
Pets can increase a person’s self-esteem, and one of the ways this rings true in my life is by seeing the amount of pure love shining through Seamus’ eyes when he looks up at me from my lap. Then there is humor, Sammie often makes me laugh. One of the most humorous things I think I’ve ever seen was when my husband tapped Sammie on his shoulder on the opposite side of where he was sitting. Sammie looked over, didn’t see anyone, and jumped 3 feet in the air.
Whether it be comfort, humor, or simply distraction, pets are extremely helpful to mental wellbeing.