As a cat parent, you are likely already familiar with all the meowgical effects your cat has on your emotional and physical health. But if this pandemic has taught us anything, it is that having a pet is even more beneficial and more fulfilling than we ever realized!
Most of our lives moved at a faster pace before the pandemic hit us. Suddenly, we found ourselves doing everything from home, hardly leaving the house, thus having just a little bit more time on our hands. While this may not be such a terrible thing for a short period of time, after a while, we are bound to start feeling "stuck" between the four walls of our home. Interestingly, it seems like pet parents may be handling the situation just a little bit better compared to people who do not have pets in their family. Why? Because their pet companions came to the rescue, of course!
Health benefits of pet ownership
It has been long accepted that having a pet can have multiple benefits for our emotional and physical health. A recent study confirms this belief and suggests that the human-animal bond can have a strong, positive impact on the quality of our lives, particularly during lockdowns. Furthermore, another study hypothesizes that animal ownership may play a role in reducing the feeling of loneliness during the lockdown, as well as have a positive impact on mental health.
But how does pet ownership actually benefit us? Here are several ideas on how your pet companion could be supporting you every day, making your life better with or without a lockdown in place.
1. Emotional support
Pets are our unconditional friends and the emotional bond we create with them can provide us with a level of love and support we might not be able to find elsewhere. This proves particularly important during the pandemic, especially if we consider that more than 68% of Americans are pet owners. If you have a pet to keep you company, you are much less likely to become lonely during the pandemic-enforced isolation. Furthermore, having a pet can also help with the stress or sadness we are bound to encounter from time to time in our everyday life. What could possibly be a better therapy than snuggling up with your pet after a long and stressful day?
2. Increased opportunity to socialize and exercise
Aside from the emotional benefits of having a bond with an animal, having a pet may also provide you with an increased chance to get moving. This is particularly true for dog owners. Having a dog will inevitably drag you out of the house for a stroll around the neighbourhood. In fact, research has shown that dog walking increases regular physical activity, which is beneficial both for humans and dogs, improving fitness, mental and overall health. During a pandemic, when our outdoor movements are heavily restricted, having a dog drag us out of the house for a walk might be more crucial and beneficial than ever before.
An Australian study suggests that in addition to promoting physical well-being, having a dog provides a channel for dog owners to socialize with other people doing the same thing during their daily walks.
If you are a cat parent and you feel you might be missing out on "dog walking" – we have a secret for you. It is totally possible for you to train your kitty to walk with you outside! Read our guide on cat walking for a few tips and tricks.
If cat walking is just not happening for you and your feline friend, you are still eligible for a few benefits similar to the ones provided by pet walking. Even if you don’t take your pets out for a walk, they all still need to get their fair share of daily activity. They are likely playfully teasing you throughout the day and stimulating you to interact and play with them. And, hopefully, you give in! Because playing with your pet is very beneficial for everyone involved – for you, it can be a great stress-reliever – and for your pet, it can be the purrfect way to remain active and healthy.
3. Sense of responsibility
Sure, we all have a ton of responsibilities in our everyday lives. However, the responsibilities involving our pets are different, consistent, and rewarding. This means that no matter what happens, you still must feed, clean after, and play with your pet, as well as provide them with all the love, attention and snuggles that they want and need. It's not an easy job, but it is certainly a rewarding one. Responsible pet owners who take good care of their pets are rewarded with a very special sense of fulfillment and responsibility. This may be exactly what you need to keep your head above water during the pandemic. If spending more time with your kitty during the pandemic has made you even more curious about what breeds make up your feline, and what health conditions they may be predisposed to, you may also be interested in the at-home cat DNA test.
4. A source of happiness
If you are anything like us, then your phone gallery is full of photos of your pet. And why? Because you are constantly finding them in a pose or activity worthy of adoration or a good laugh. Because the one thing all pets have in common is they never fail to entertain us. They embody the spirit of every home and make it the happy place that it is. We all need this – especially during a time like this.
Social isolation is a necessary evil during the pandemic, and we ought to embrace it to protect ourselves, as well as others. However, it can cause loneliness and depression, struggles you may have not dealt with before. Having a pet can provide you with a sense of comfort which could be exactly what you need right now – especially if you live alone. If you're not already a pet owner, it might be a good time to reconsider your stance, if your circumstances allow it. There are many animals in need of a home out there – and you could be just the hooman they've been waiting for.