Is it beneficial for us to have pets?. I wasn’t a pet person for a long time. I grew up without pets and I spent a good deal of my adult life without pets. I didn’t really think about them one way or another. I was vaguely aware that other children had dogs and cats but I didn’t ever feel deprived because of it. I have always had a respect for all living beings including insects and if I find an insect in the house, I will always remove it without killing or injuring it because insects have as much right to life as we do. I don’t know much about Buddhism, but I understand that they hold a similar belief about living beings.
I have experienced guilt when eating meat and the modern intensive meat production methods are horrendous. When I see photos of the way that animals are treated, it makes me wonder what we think that we are doing to living beings just to gain the benefit of cheap meat. I haven’t found a replacement for meat yet, but I think that I will have to sometime soon. I have always felt slightly guilty about eating animals, even before I became acquainted with pets.
If an animal was threatening harm to my family I would do what I had to do to protect them, but this is the only time that I would consciously injure any animal or other living being. Some people believe that plants have feelings too, but we have to eat something.
I was introduced to pets when I got married, specifically cats. I remember watching the first cat that we had, doing what cats do and it was a new and strange experience to me. We now have 3 cats. Two of them chose us and the third one was born to one of the cats that chose us.
Cat number 1, was feral and used to hang around in our back yard after it was born under the shed. This kitten approached me every time that I went into the back yard to smoke, it would sit next to me and it would want me to pet it. I didn’t pet it at first because I didn’t want to catch anything, but I eventual did. We then started to leave it a bowl of food and clean water in the yard every day. When we moved house, we tried to catch it to take it with us, but it would always run away. We still owned the house when we moved and after moving, I had to go back to the house to carry out some work and one day cat 1 appeared and sat a few feet away from me in the yard with it’s back to me the whole time. This was an obvious sign of disapproval from the cat. I saw that it had some injuries around it’s neck and we managed to catch it and take it to our new house. It lived in the garage for a week or so until a vet could check it out. The vet advised us that what appeared to be injuries was some sort of parasite in the skin. The parasite was eliminated, the cat entered our new house and has been with us for about 10 years now. The cat doesn’t go outside, by it’s own choice. If we leave a door to the outside open, it runs the other way, almost like it fears that we are going to throw it out.
Cat number 2 was born to cat number 1. Cat 1 was unknowingly to us, pregnant when we picked it up from the previous house and it appeared to get very sick after a few weeks. We took it to an emergency animal hospital and they told us that it was pregnant. Cat 1 had a litter of cats but only one survived due to the original vet giving it vaccinations while it was pregnant. We took cat 2 home in a small box that served as a bed and it was not expected to live. It lived and has been with us now for nearly as long as cat 1. Cat 2 doesn’t go outside. It sneaked out of the front door one day without us knowing. Later, we head a mewing and scratching at the front door and when we opened it, cat 2 sprinted inside, never going near an outside door again. It seems that it did not like it out there.
Cat 3 suddenly appeared outside our back door about 7 years ago. It sat at the door, looking into the house. Meowing constantly and at night we would hear sounds like it was being attacked. We started feeding it and in due course, it graduated to the garage. Cat 3 kept growling and attacking it’s own tail. We thought that it was crazy but we discovered that it had a broken tail. The vet amputated the tail and cat 3 has been very happy ever since.
Many people believe that pets are beneficial to humans, such as:
- Lowering stress levels
- Companionship for the lonely
- Lowering heart attack risk
- Helps keep older people’s brains sharp
- Some pets encourage you to exercise, because they demand it.
- A pet can reduce pain
- Makes children less likely to get allergies
And many more benefits. Most of the results have come from various scientific studies.
There are also reported of pets having psychic powers and reports of pets saving their human’s lives.
I don’t like to use the phrase “owning a pet” because any pet owner will confirm that they don’t own their pet, it is more of a friendship and mutual understanding between the animal and human that they like living together and have a relationship of respect.
I still have not graduated to referring to the cats as he or she, I still say “it” but I don’t mean it as a degrading term, it’s just the way I am.
There are certain animal that have a revered status in the western world. Cats, dogs and horses come to mind. I have also know people with pet goats and monkeys. I cannot see any benefit of having reptiles as pets because I don’t think that they respond to a human at all, except to attack the human, given a chance.
From what I have observed, I believe that cats, dogs, chimps, gorillas and horses have a soul. It has been reported that some people experiencing a near death experience, go to, or through an area similar to a waiting room that is full of cats and dogs waiting for their humans to join them. I can easily believe this.
I feel that it is an honor to have a friendship connection to another species. My cats show me friendship every day and I return the feeling. I never did consider myself as a pet person, but being able to write this post highlights to me the fact that I definitely am an animal person. I try not to consider our cats as pets, but as different beings with different perceptions, not on an inferior level, just a different one, because who really knows what things animals perceive that we are totally unaware of.