Dogs and cats are not only loyal companions that add love and joy to our lives, they are a source of mental and physical health for their human family members. The unique bond between animal and human is one of trust and unquestioning loyalty, but for our overall health the relationship with our pets offers us so much more.
There is no question that having a four-legged companion or two gives every two-legged family member a sense of companionship and a connection to another living being. Even though they cannot speak our language, dogs and cats communicate in their own individual style. Caring for our pets and interacting with them is a constant in our lives. To them, we are not just a part of their lives, we are everything. That deep companionship is very bonding and healthy.
Oh sure. The phrase “working cat” might seem to be the best example of an oxymoron, bar none. It’s true that cats are not generally known for their dedication to hard work. They probably think dogs already do enough work to benefit mankind and there’s really no need for them to have a job. Or maybe they just enjoy long catnaps in the sun. Who really knows? Suffice it to say, if you Google “cats with jobs” you won’t find a very long list.
That does not mean, however, that cats are not working at various times throughout their day. You may not realize it, but cats are on the job much more than it would appear to the casual observer. That’s because most of their “work” come naturally to cats. Here are 7 jobs that cats do admirably well.
How many times have you felt unwell and found yourself being nursed back to health by your feline friend? My cats always seem to know when I need the “healing power of the purr” and they stick to me like glue until I am feeling better. I am certain their purrs and loving presence hasten the healing process.
Look, we all need someone to tell our secrets to, and not just the deep dark ones either. The best thing about having a cat for a confidant is that you just know they won’t go running to every cat in the neighborhood saying “Guess what Julia just told me!” You don’t even have to preface telling them your secret with “Now, please don’t tell anyone, but…” Their lips are sealed, no matter how juicy your secret is.
I have nothing against medical doctors. They’ve certainly played a role in my care since birth, and have even helped me a time or two. But there are times when I opt for a more unconventional mode of healing, one I’ve taken to calling “Purr Therapy” for lack of a better term. Sometimes, Purr Therapy is all I need to cure whatever ails me. Whether I suffer from a physical, mental or emotional malady, Purr Therapy can miraculously take me through the illness and into perfect health.
What is this strange healing power I call Purr Therapy? Well, it’s not some mumbo-jumbo snake-oil tactic, I assure you. Purr Therapy is simply believing in and allowing the natural healing power that my cats have. Though some might dismiss this notion as fallacy, the miraculous healing powers of pets have been well documented by doctors, veterinarians and animal lovers alike. And truly, just about everyone who has a close bond with their pet has experienced this natural healing ability firsthand. Purr Therapy – and its companion Wag Therapy – can be holistic complements to your wellbeing regime.
Purr Therapy allows my body’s own natural healing ability to shine, thereby creating health and wellness in every cell. Purr Therapy centers me, lifts my spirits and makes me feel glad to be alive. Who can feel sad or sick with a cat lying on their chest so close to their heart, purring like mad? Certainly not I. Who could allow pain to diminish their happiness when there is a pet nearby, so willing to give and receive love? Oh…not I, that is for sure. Purr Therapy has the miraculous ability to make everything seem all right, even when it isn’t. In fact, I think Purr Therapy can be a thousand – no, a million! – times more effective than any anti-depressant medication.
If you’ve ever shared a special bond with a pet, that question probably seems a bit silly. Of course the world is a better place because of pets, you’d say. As a lifelong animal lover, I wholeheartedly agree. However, I also know there are people who have no use for pets. Just as I can’t fathom why anyone would ever want to live without a pet, the non-pet people don’t really understand how humans can form strong bonds with animals, or why they would want to. I suppose the universe is big enough for all kinds, but just between us, I am eternally thankful that I’m a pet person. My world is absolutely a better place because of my pets, and I wouldn’t want it any other way.
I am the polar opposite of the cat-hating boyfriend featured on Must Love Cats, who demanded that the bedroom be a “cat free zone.” I have very few cat free zones in my home. For sanitary reasons, I do try to make the kitchen counters and table cat free zones, but Rocky challenges that notion daily. I don’t have cat free zones because my home is their home too, and they should be allowed to live in it.
I certainly could have been – but sadly wasn’t – the person who came up with the funny saying, “If you don’t want pet hair on your clothes, stay off my furniture!” True, this policy of letting my pets sleep wherever they feel like it does present some moments of embarrassment. I’ll never forgot the day a visitor turned to leave and I discovered he was wearing what amounted to “half a cat” on the seat of his pants. It was mortifying in the moment, but I laugh about it now. I came to realize that if he was a pet person, he’d understand, and if he wasn’t…c’est la vie. I don’t much care.
“I could not imagine my life without pets” was a recurring comment in response to my article “My Best Friends All Wear Fur.” Nor could I imagine life without my cats. Well, actually I can imagine it, and it’s certainly not the life I would want for myself. I find that no matter what might be wrong with my life “in the moment,” a head-bump from my heart cat Annabelle can make it right again in an instant. I think I love her exuberant kitty head-bumps more than anything else on earth, and I simply can’t imagine life without them.
I think if I were to write a book about my relationship with cats, that title would be “purrfect.” I have never been a social butterfly or a people person. Although I have family and good friends that I love dearly, and acquaintances whose company I enjoy, these relationships are judiciously chosen. There are only a handful of humans that I trust explicitly and feel deeply connected to. Animals are a different matter altogether. I’ve felt a strong connection to animals since childhood, and as each year passes my feelings of love toward these amazing creatures grows deeper. All of my best friends DO wear fur, and I’m not ashamed to admit it. I know there are people who consider that quite sad – hence all the jokes about Crazy Cat Ladies – but it’s not sad to me in the slightest.
We all experience life in different ways, and sometimes we don’t even really know why certain things appeal to us more than others; they just do. I like who I am and who I love, or I would do something to change it. I may live with cats instead of other humans, but I’m never lonely. I don’t have anyone telling me what to do, when to clean or what I should eat, and I like it that way. Um, wait…that’s not exactly true. My cat Rocky often tells me I shouldn’t eat that chicken breast or piece of fish and should give it to him instead. I just laugh, pour him a bowl of FELIDAE kibble and tell him to get over it.
Recently I’ve been thinking a great deal about my pets, about how much they mean to me and how thankful I am that they’re sharing this journey with me. Not a day goes by that I don’t look at my cats and smile, or laugh at their crazy antics. Every day I get to experience the feeling of a heart that is full of love, and I feel blessed to have such wonderful companions. That they happen to wear fur coats is inconsequential, really. Love comes in many forms, and if we have an abundance of it in our life, then we are fortunate indeed.
We love our dogs and they love us. As responsible pet owners we do the best we can for our furry friends and they repay us in kind. We also know that laughter is the best medicine and dogs are very funny. Therefore, it makes sense that owning a dog is healthy for us! I am extremely lucky because Abby is a funny dog. She also knows how to melt my heart.
We know that pets enrich our lives. Recent scientific studies have begun to pin-point the ways that companion animals improve our minds and our bodies. Beyond walks and games of fetch, eager faces at the end of the day and many kisses, pets provide documented health benefits.
A 1993 report in the Harvard Health Letter explains that companion animals have more consistent behavior compared to our human companions and that they offer unconditional affection. The effect is lower blood pressure, heart rate and anxiety levels for pet owners. We repay our pets with love and attention. More than 60 percent of pets receive “as much attention as children,” according to the 1994 American Animal Hospital Association pet owner survey. In my house Abby receives 100% since we have no children.
Laughter has been proven to reduce stress, increase muscle flexion, lower blood pressure and boost immune function by raising T-cell levels. Laughter also releases the body’s natural painkillers, endorphins, and increases emotional well being while decreasing feelings of depression. Dogs are natural born comedians; mine is and your dog mostly like is also. Abby makes my husband I laugh on a continual basis. With recent studies suggesting that depression is more deadly than many other chronic diseases, spending some time with a canine goof-ball might be the best health insurance available. If I am in a bad mood and Abby does something typically Abby, the bad mood lifts away!
Exercise – In a Columbia University Study participants lost an average of fourteen pounds when they started walking the dog for just 20 minutes a day five times a week. Dog owners are more likely than non-dog owners to walk regularly and longer. Taking responsibility for someone else’s well being is more compelling than looking out for your own health. I agree with that totally. I put off going to the doctor myself, but if Abby looks a little ‘off’ I call the vet instantly for an appointment.
Socializing – When we walk our dogs in the park or around the block people are more apt to speak to us. Dog lovers will naturally start up conversations. When we socialize with others we feel good about ourselves. We were on vacation a few years back in Chattanooga and visited Rock City. This is a huge mountain with all kinds of fun and interesting things to look at and squeeze through on the climb to the top. At the summit is a fantastic view of several states. That day there were many families with kids who had no desire to look at a view.
We sat down to relax and within seconds were surrounded by kids all wanting to pet Abby. Just watching their little faces made us feel better and Abby certainly didn’t pass up one kiss or pat on the head! Finally, parents realized the kids were having a better time with our dog because they were all on vacation and they missed their dogs back home. Rock City is pet friendly – check their website for more information on a great attraction! (www.seerockcity.com)
Sleep – I don’t know about other dog owners, but I know feel confident at night knowing my dog is in the same room snoozing – with one ear and one eye open! Our quality of sleep has a big effect on health. Lack of sleep has been linked to some cancers, heart disease, diabetes, etc. Now if I could just get Abby to sleep later than 6 AM I would be very happy.
All of the health benefits of canine companionship are good for us. Better brain chemistry equals better sleep. More exercise makes for less depression. Better sleep eases mood problems. And wet sloppy kisses can mend a broken heart!
Dogs are good for our health! Since they provide us such a beneficial service we need to make sure we take care of them in return. What better way to take care of your best friend than to feed your pet a premium food like CANIDAE?
The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.
The personal opinions and/or use of trade, firm, corporation or brand names, in this blog is for the information and convenience of the reader. Such use does not constitute an official endorsement or approval by CANIDAE® Natural Pet Food Company of any product or service to the exclusion of others that may be suitable. All opinions in this blog are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® Natural Pet Food Company.