I grew up in a pet-friendly family, so it's only natural that I grew up loving animals and wanting to care for them. However, when I got my first pet I was younger, so I didn't have the tools or resources to make a more informed choice. Yes, I purchased my first pet, Caesar—a beautiful cream Labrador with eyes that could melt your soul. Now before you judge me, I genuinely believed this was this only way to get a pet and frankly I was so obsessed with the breed that I couldn't see beyond it. So, even if you asked me today would you have done things differently? I would tell you that I might not have chosen otherwise because I got to live through 14 glorious years of having him in my life.
He was my best friend, my solace so when he passed; he left this gaping hole in our chests that no other creature could fill or so we thought. I could see my mother still grieve his absence and I realised she was lonely, she felt lacking in purpose because my dog was like a second child to her. This was when I decided to adopt a cat and in walks Bear—the tiniest, frail lil chap. We don't know how or who had hurt him but he had severe spinal damage and it killed us to watch him drag his feet and walk, we did everything in our power to try and help him. Skip to one year later and the pandemic hit us, I was stuck at my husbands home. Turns out there was a cat who would hide out on his balcony who eventually gave birth to 3 little kittens. I had no intention of adopting another one fearing my parents would get upset because it's hard to take care of pets.
We looked high and low for people to adopt these kittens. We were extremely lucky when we found the most wonderful couple to adopt 2 babies. They've now become our friends and we visit them and the babies often. We're at peace knowing they were adopted by such a warm family and we couldn't be more grateful. However, 1 lil runt got left behind, she was playful, funny and did silly goofy things all day. It took my husband and me about 2 days to fall head-over-heels in love with this brat. We realised we couldn't part with her and without a shred of doubt in our minds adopted our baby, Chewy.
Now that you have the back story; let me tell you why adopting made our lives so much better and why we recommend this everyone:
1) You have a constant source of entertainment.
I can assure you that I have not had a moment to be bored. Our cat Chewy is quite talkative, so when she wants something rest assured she's going to tell us what she wants. We often find her running around the room, sleeping on our laptops or huddled up in our quilt. I could be dead busy on a day and I'll look up and see this creature knocked out, drooling in the most awkward sleeping position, you can't help but giggle. Anything and everything will amuse her and a chase will begin and OMG! when there are birds around, these cats won't stop chirping.
2) You get plenty of love, attention and snuggles.
I don't know why but non-verbal displays of affection just feel more meaningful. And there's something so pleasant about looking into the eyes of a pet and feeling their joy and happiness from having been taken in and loved in return. And the best part is when they curl up on you or next to you and fall asleep, it can make you feel so special.
3) You have a sense of purpose when having to care for another living being.
Of course, having a pet forces you to become responsible. You have to keep track of their food needs, grooming, health and overall well-being. You want them to be happy and feel safe so you somehow take it upon yourself to be the best pet parent ever.
4) They easily reduce stress and feelings of loneliness.
The fact that they provide you with unconditional love reduces stress considerably. But the fact is that they distract you so much from the day-to-day trauma and drama that you forget to feel anxious and stressed. I'm not going to lie about having felt stressed but having a pet really reduced the degree of it considerably. To add to that, they never leave you alone, NEVER. Chewy follows us into the toilet, she howls when my husband is in the shower and demands that the door be left open so she can see him. So prepare to never be alone again.
5) You're forced to be active during their playtime.
Our pets love being chased so it's a no brainer when you see us running around the room that we're getting some amount of exercise in. Cleaning and grooming them can also feel like you've been plenty active.
6) You're bound to have a pest-free home.
Pets are obsessed with flies and any other pets you might find in your home. From Caesar to Bear to Chewy all my pets have consumed some form of a creepy crawler in their lifetime.
7) They make you disciplined.
Pets are regimented with their own lifestyles, to say the least. They need to be walked at a certain time, fed at a certain time. Sleep and playtime also take place around the same time and schedule daily, thus making you follow a routine as well.
Here's what I learned from having a pet or rather a cat:
1) They teach you humility.
When you have to bend over to pick up after your pet poops or when you need to clean their butts or litter. Definitely a humbling experience.
2) You learn to be patient.
Not all pets will react or respond the way you want them to unless they are trained. And regardless a pet will do as they please and when they please so you gotta learn to be patient with a pet. Eventually, they will fall in line but it is a long and slow process.
3) Your skin becomes resilient.
Dogs and cats can both leave you with scars. Dogs unknowingly grip you when they are excited and cats will knowingly swipe at you when annoyed. So if you're any kind of model, you best be prepared.
4) They are independent and come with a unique personalities.
All animals have a unique personality and it is a journey to uncover and understand their likes and dislikes. Our cat is very curious and we feed that curiosity by allowing her to smell and check everything, this way we understand her likes better. Since she is a pandemic baby, you might say she is a bit co-dependent but independent nevertheless. She doesn't like it when we're gone too many days, she becomes visibly upset. My dog, on the other hand, refused to go into my room if I was gone for days, he would climb into my suitcase and protest. But dogs really aren't as independent as cats, they need constant care and attention. Cats enjoy their solace and can go for hours without needing any interaction.
5) You're saving a life.
Just remember that once you adopt an animal you are saving its life. You're saving it from cruel people who throw acid on them, beat them and kick them out of their societies. You're protecting it from having to scavenge for its food. You'd be saving them from having multiple births and then eventually dying from childbirth. You don't know this yet but you are giving them the best chance at survival. So #adopton'tshop and save a life.
How did your life change for the better after adopting a pet? Let us know in the comments below.
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