Take a moment to think about your pet(s). You just perked up with pride, didn’t you? The truth is, animals that were domesticated and trained for practical reasons like hunting or protection have worked their way into human hearts, and they’re not going anywhere soon.
Do you have dogs or do you have “fur babies”? Does your cat run your whole household like a boss? The number of adorable and mischievous pets killing it on TikTok is evidence that humans respond to animals much the same way they do to children. Here are some reasons why Americans put so much time, money and effort into their relationships with the creatures they adore.
Pets Are Family Members
There’s a huge difference between pet owners and pet parents. If you consider your animal companion a member of your family, then you don’t care if your boss is perturbed when you take a personal day to care for your ailing feline friend. Your bond with your four-legged family member is important to you, so you care when Fido falls ill.
Just be careful you’re not being manipulated into skipping work to stay home and snuggle. Veterinarians have confirmed incidents of intelligent animals faking injuries to get attention from their humans.
Animals Are Medicine for People
Research shows interacting with animals decreases the stress hormone cortisol and lowers blood pressure. This means having a dog or cat is tantamount to taking medications without the negative side effects. If having a pet improves health, then there’s no wonder people invest so much into their furry companions.
Pets Are Incredible Teachers
Pets are much smarter than people give them credit for. Plus, many animals have what are considered positive character traits valued by human societies, such as empathy, protectiveness and loyalty. Have you considered the education your human children pick up from your fur-kids?
Respect, reproduction and grief are all important life lessons kids learn from living with pets. There is no bond like that of a pet and its favorite child.
Veterinary Care is Costly
If you’ve ever had to take your pet to the emergency vet, then you understand how painfully expensive animal care can be. Because healthcare costs are so high, many Americans opt to purchase additional pet insurance policies to help offset the exorbitant prices of treating illnesses in animals. Additionally, pet parents are committed to following recommended annual vaccine and exam schedules. Just like in humans, regular health checkups help to prevent disease and chronic illness in pets, and people want their cuddly loved ones to live long, happy and healthy lives.
Pets Are Predictable and Reliable
While your dog or cat cannot tell you how they feel in words, you can generally guess how they’re feeling, what they want and whether or not they’re happy in the moment. Many aspects of daily life are fluid, unpredictable and stress-inducing. However, when your bond with your furry best friends means they’ll be waiting at the door for you when you get home each day, it makes the daily grind a little more palatable.
Dogs and cats tend to adhere to their routines right down to the minute. They’ll let you know when it’s time to wake up, fill the food bowl and reach for the leash. This means, even on those days when your mental health has you down, you have a very important reason to get up and get moving.
Keeping domestic animals requires a lot of time, money and care, but the reciprocal value you get in return is worth it all. Therefore, there’s nothing weird or wrong about calling yourself a “dog mom” or a “cat dad”. When your pet is happy and healthy, so are you.