The benefits of pet ownership on our mental health are well-reported. Our pets alleviate loneliness by keeping us company, can calm us through the simple act of giving them a pat, provide structure to our days and allow us to experience a powerful bond. Since adopting my cats, my life has undoubtedly become richer thanks to their company.
They remind me to be mindful
A friend of mine once referred to the sight of my cats gazing off into the distance as “catfulness”. Cats are the ultimate meditators and inherently know how to relax. Watching my two cuddle up together on the couch, observing the world going by outside the loungeroom window, dozing away as their chests rise and fall, it’s impossible for me to not feel more in the moment as a result.
They keep me calm
Patting a cat is said to lower blood pressure, and hearing their purrs can be incredibly relaxing. Of course pet ownership comes with its challenges – when my cats fight or use the litter tray for the fourth time in an hour I’m less than Zen – but overall I feel like a much calmer person as a result of their companionship.
I am never alone
When Melbourne went into lockdown in 2020 we were highly restricted on who we could see and where we could go. Being at home with my cats, I was never alone.
They can’t talk to me (though that doesn’t stop me chatting to them) or give me a hug, but their presence was enough to make me feel connected.
They rely on me
We all have those days in which we’d like to stay in bed, but cats are creatures of routine so I needed to get up – even during those monotonous days of lockdown.
Having pets will keep you motivated to stick to a routine.
They expect to be served breakfast and dinner at similar times each day, and do I hear about it if I am late!
They have given me a purpose
Having found Edgar as a stray kitten and helping him adjust to being a confident and healthy cat, I was inspired to help other kittens and cats in need. I became an animal foster carer and have since looked after numerous cats before they found their forever homes (and even ‘foster failed’, adopting one of our foster kittens). This role not only taught me a lot more about animals but also gave me a sense of purpose as well as a passion for animal rescue.