I am referred to as a ‘crazy cat lady’. I am owned by four beautiful and loving fur babies. They are a part of my family. Does that make me crazy? If so, then by the same token, thirty million (the number is probably much higher) other people can be defined as crazy too. However, you what? We, those that have pets, might just have some insight to offer to you. Pets can be healthy for us. Yes, indeed, pet owners enjoy health benefits from sharing their home with a or more fur angels.
Pets can make us happy, they can make us better physically fit, and can even lower our blood pressure. I keep telling my friend, who is younger than me and takes medicine for her high blood pressure, that she would benefit from being owned by a cat!
Ways having a pet is a health benefit- breathe a little easier
My younger sister has severe allergies. If it lives, she is allergic… and she lives with four cats. She loves cats and by bringing them into her home at an early age, she has been able to acclimate herself to her pet’s dander and salvia. Think of it like receiving an allergy shot. The syringe is actually full of the ‘thing’ to which you are allergic. You body is being acclimated at a slow rate. The same with pets. After a while you will find you are not allergic to your own pets. Now my sister cannot come over and stay at our home for longer than an hour as we have multiple cats through our rescue. Her home, though, she is fine and loves her fur babies.
Ways having a pet is a health benefit- does a body good
You know the saying sick as a dog? I have said it and felt like it. I am sure you have also. Rather than being sick like one, might you consider being owned by one? Petting a dog can increase levels of immunoglobulin A. What is that you ask? It is an antibody that can ward off the common cold. Come on… four legged companions that act as if it is Christmas morning every time you walk through the front door? That, in and of itself, can keep us healthy by keeping us confident and loved. Hmmm…no wonder they are referred to as man’s best friend. Okay, this argument might not work on cats, but I do have one (out of four) that meets me when I walk through the front door and stretches up to greet me!
Ways having a pet is a health benefit- the golden rule
Growing up in a home with pets encourages children to learn to be nice to others. And since by not being nice can result in a scratch or bite, the lesson is learned quickly and it remains. It is an invaluable lesson. Being around a pet from a young age can also encourage children to be more emphatic to other’s plights. A friend of mine has three children. She received an emergency phone call from her eldest son’s school one day. She rushed to the office to see what the emergency was. Her son had spent his lunch hour rescuing a kitten than had wandered onto the school playground and was very frightened. She took the kitten home, to join the other three cats. Her son, she surmised, has learned added nurturing skills from caring for the cats. Her daughter learns nurturing from playing house. He learned it by living with a great role model. And … he is such a tender heart!!!
Ways having a pet is a health benefit- they are not heartbreakers
Listening to a cat’s purr can lower our blood pressure. Simply sitting and petting a dog that is looking up at you with complete adoration can lower our blood pressure. Holding a pet can trigger a relaxation response. I know if I have a stressful day at work, coming home and immediately picking up my greeter kitty, or any of my fur babies, I can “check” myself and the stress can be left at the front door. Better health for me, better home environment for my family. We all have heard that saying – if mama ain’t happy, then no one is happy- a pet can assist keeping that at bay.
My rescue director and I have a saying, nothing is cuter than a persian kitten… okay we are a bit biased, I will admit. However, the cuddling a purring persian kittens makes me all gooey inside. Serotonin and dopamine are being released. Now if I could just lay off the chocolate…
Ways having a pet is a health benefit- walking’s good
For those of you who have perused any of my other articles, I sometimes mention my mother and her favorite saying- walking’s good. She loves that saying and lives by it. She enjoys walking in the heat, in the rain, in the cold, or even in the snow. Not me. Not by a long shot. But… alas Artemis needs her exercise. She needs to walk. So up and out the door, I go. By keeping her fit, I am keeping myself fit. It’s win win.
Ways having a pet is a health benefit- my facebook friends profile pictures are mostly cats
Pets are natural conversation starters. People like talking about their pets. Some people do not like listening to people talk about their pets and have no idea how to offer comfort in the event of a person losing a pet. Yet, there are so many of us pet owners out there. We far outnumber those that are not owned by a pet. I have been able to meet more of my neighbors through walks with Artemis than just by waving as I entered and exited my car. I know them now and they know me. It also is win win.
Consider the possibilities… consider the rewards… consider yourself healthier… go out and adopt a pet today!