June 4th is Hug Your Cat Day and I’m going to extend that to all your pets (well, maybe not the fish, don’t try to hug them). Any of us who have pets know that they become part of the family. We care for our pets in much the same way we care for our other loved ones: ensuring they are well fed, providing them a comfortable place to live, taking them to the doctor for both preventative health and health treatments. In return, can help your physical and mental health. A pet is a loyal companion and provide unconditional love.
The bond that develops between a human and animal companion can be just as strong as the bond between two people. They bring companionship to those that might otherwise be lonely, grieving the loss of a loved one or suffer from depression.
Here are some other benefits of sharing your life with a pet:
Pets can help a shy child come out of their shell. They can be a great way to connect with other kids and can help boost a child’s self esteem. Pets, dogs particularly, can give a child a sense of security and protection, helping them to overcome fears. Pet ownership helps teach children about interaction, compassion and responsibility.
Pets can keep you active, especially dogs. Dogs need to be walked regularly, whether you want to or not. You will stay fit together and exercise consistently. Plus, spending time exercising with your pet helps you to bond with them easier. Just being outdoors with them has its own benefits.
Studies show owning a pet leads to lower cholesterol, lower blood pressure, a stronger immune system and lower levels of stress and depression. Pets can reduce the risk of allergies, asthma and even heart disease.
People bond over their pets. I don’t know how many times I’ve started a conversation over pets when I’m out walking.
Pets show us how to live in the moment, without any worries of the past or future. Cats in particular have an innate ability to simply be. They are completely unconcerned with anything other than what is happening right now. When you interact with them through play or affection, you can experience that same sense of presence.
I always enjoy it when a pet shows up in my online meditation groups. Pets have a unique way of bringing calm awareness into your life. Observing them through all your senses, noticing everything about them, all the tiny details that make them who they are, can help enhance the practice of mindfulness meditation. Give it a try next time you sit down to meditate.