Pets Are the Best
March 1, 2018
Like a lot of moms, whenever one of my kids asks me for a pet, I immediately think of how much work this hypothetical pet would mean for me. Let’s face it, pets can be a lot of work (kind of like the little humans that want them). That actually might be one of the reasons they are so great, though – hear me out.
A couple of years ago, my offspring decided that they wanted a kitten. We already had a cat, but she was here before said offspring existed, so they had never known what it was like to have a kitten. My husband said, “No kitten” – but he likes kittens, and I like kittens. So we got a kitten.
Now, this kitten was only six weeks old, which is really too soon for a kitten to be taken away from its mother. He also came with a parasitic infection that we discovered two days after his arrival. This infection wasn’t contagious or anything, but he could not gain weight. He literally weighed less than a pound and we couldn’t get him over that hump. This is called “Fading Kitten Syndrome,” and the vet warned me that I might have to explain kitten death to my kids.
So guess what I – not my kids – got to do? I got to syringe feed high calorie cat food to a kitten five times every day for several weeks. But it worked. And we were relieved. And, though I hated struggling through the forced feedings, I now loved that kitten; everyone else did, too (well, except the other cat – she hates him to this day). Putting that work in to simply keep him alive made us bond with him.
That kitten is now a fat and happy 3-year-old cat who gets into everything and eats a ton. His recent decision to identify as a trash panda led to the necessary purchase and placement of lidded garbage cans throughout the house. Sounds like a pain in the butt, right? But he’s part of the family. He gives the best lap snuggles and follows my husband everywhere in the house. He’s silly and funny and can always make us laugh just by being his goofy self.
Our older cat may be kind of stand-offish, but she is also a big helper. Every time one of the kids is crying, she is right there to give them loves and try to comfort them. She’s a big part of our family, as well. It’s funny just how easily a pet can make you feel better.
According to this article in TIME, pets can help:
- Relieve anxiety
- Alleviate depression
- Reduce PTSD symptoms
- Assist patients with Alzheimer’s
- Help kids on the Autism Spectrum become more social
These pets don’t just exist in our lives, they can actually improve our mental health (Oaklander, 2017).
As much work as they can be, our pets can give us purpose and show us unconditional love on even the hardest of days. Sometimes people suck. Sometimes life sucks. Be good to your furry friends; they’re not “just” pets, and the work is worth it!