Feel Good Friday - Pet Power

Friday, 25 July 2014

We are big animal lovers in our house, in fact I suspect that my husband actually prefers them to people, he can't bear to watch the ending of Marley and Me, bless him!

We have two cats which became our furs babies when I was around 6 months pregnant with LC (we had gotten a kitten the year before who was sadly ran over just before her first baby, at this point I was 16 weeks pregnant and couldn't stop crying, I actually got sent home from work and was allowed 3 days off - that's hormones for ya!) These cats (our boy cat as a kitten above) have grown up with our family and are a big part of it, however they are not such big fans of Miss LC, I can remember their little faces when we bought her home from the hospital looking at us as if t say "WTF???" God knows how they will feel when it happens all over again in 7 weeks time, the OH is convinced they'll be sat by the front door with their little cat bags packed, with a house move happening in 3 weeks too I'm sure I will have two grumpy cats on my hands - eek!

Anyway, over the last 4 years that we've had these sweet moggies in our life they have become very precious companions to us all and despite their distaste towards LC they have have been a massive part of how she has developed and learnt.

A few years ago the Cats Protection League conducted some research with the Mental Health Foundation which showed how having a cat as a pet had a significant and positive impact on the owners mental health. Last year Time magazine reported on how having a pet could possibly lower your risk of heart disease too.

Here are some more good reasons why being a pet owner is good for your well being
  •  Owning a pet helps with low mood and loneliness through companionship.
  •  Encourages healthy lifestyle - walking your dog, horse riding, cleaning out a cage.
  •  Helps develops senses that can lower stress from stroking, walking, even talking to them! 
  •  Sense of responsibility and routine, having a pet puts structure in your day, positive for your well being and sense or purpose.

Here's my friends cuddly companions
 We've also found that as parents having our two kitties has helped us to teach and encourage LC to have compassion, thoughtfulness of others and about death too. As a toddler we showed her how to pet them carefully and be mindful of their space, now that she is older we get her involved with caring for them, she likes to get involved with feeding and combing.

Lastly, because we live next door to a diary farm, we get a constant stream of "presents"! Some are alive, which sees us running round the house at all times of the day or night trying to rescue mice, voles and birds, but we also get a lot of dead critters, mostly mice outside the front door. We have always been honest with LC about it, a very wise lady once told me not to tell her they were sleeping as this can make her frightened of bed time, so with out going in to too much detail we simply told her they were dead, no longer alive. Being little she just accepted this ans so when her Grandma's dog and Auntie's cat died last year she wasn't unfamiliar with what this meant and could grasp why they were no longer there. And so when my Grandmother passed away in April she wasn't scared by what had happened and understood why she wouldn't see her again. Recently she was in my mum's garden and they found a dead bird and she pointed it out to my mum who wasn't sure quite what to say to LC, "It's dead Granny!" she chimed, my mum agreed and when LC asked her what they were going to do with it my told her that her OH would bury it in the garden to which sweet Miss LC replied "Just like we buried Great Gran!" My poor mum didn't know what to say and just laughed, especially as my Grandmother was cremated! It just goes to show though that by having animals in our life from an early age we begin to understand and accept the cycle of life sooner which I think makes it more easier to handle as we grow older.

Now you could be reading this and be thinking "Well Karen that's all lovely and good but I don't have the time/money/space to be a pet owner!" - well, no problem, borrow a pet! You can do this through local services like this one  or this could simply be taking a friends dog for a walk, agreeing to feed Great Aunt Ethels budgie while she's on holiday or maybe spend some time at your local animal rescue centre as a volunteer, there are so many possibilities for you to boost your well being with some pet power!

So I want to know, do you have a pet that helps boost your well being?
What are your thoughts on pets and children?
Would borrowing a pet help you?

Share in the comments below!

No comments:

Post a Comment