Nathalie Jonsson

Science Writer 

Love Thy Pet


I grew up with a cat. Actually. From the day she had kittens, I had two cats. Despite being one year apart in age they both lived to be 16 years old. First the one, then the other.

I have lived longer with those cats than without them, which means that my family and I can describe their personalities. We can reminisce about things they did and what they thought about things. Just as if they were human.

And you could argue that pets border on human, if you get stressed a pet can have the same calming impact as a friend or a loved one. Keeping a pet does not only keep the heart rate down in times of stress. They also help people in nursing homes keep their mental stamina and help people in correction facilities to reconnect and respect authority. They can add a sense of normalcy to people who have lost out on social skills and ended up in correction facilities and people with disabilities are also approached more if they are accompanied by a pet (shame on the rest of us, I guess).

Of course a pet can also make you become more popular (which is what we all strive for right. I know you do). The greeting rituals of a pet can cure loneliness and feelings of isolation. Where as the affection, we perceive as unconditional love promotes self-esteem and make us more confident. When people walk their dogs they are more likely to engage in conversation than if they were walking without the dog. In fact the dog is the most advantageous of all pets since it brings daily exercise as well.

And even though it has been statistically proven that young Labradors are the best social lubricant, you should never underestimate the importance of any of your pets.

Back to index