The Importance of Pets
Not every elder feels the need to have a pet, and I respect that. However, today’s JOAG blog is about the importance of pets so, if you’re not a fur baby person, I’m not offended if you click off for today.

Pets are that thing for me.

That thing that keeps me grounded in the need to stay well, to be responsible for another living thing, and to never take myself too seriously.

National Cat Day was at the end of October, and I celebrated. Not with a paper party hat, confetti, and invited guests but with an additional special treat of Kali’s favorite food:  wet food, any gag-worthy-to-me canned cat food! She only gets it twice a week normally, so it’s a thrill for her to see it appear unexpectedly. And she loved it! Thanks, Mom! Purr purr purr.

Since I’m not a dog person, I can’t speak to the intrinsic value of them as pets, though I’m sure it’s the same whether it’s dogs or cats … or even birds, ferrets, or snakes (yikes!).

We love out pets! As we age, we love them more.

Pets keep us company, some of the best company ever since they’re adoring, loving unconditionally, and they don’t contradict us when we mouth off. Where can you find such stellar qualities in a person (and, no, I didn’t say or mean to refer to your spouse!)?

So much of my emotion is packed in the love I have for my pet. I’ve often imagined that if I was an actress and someone said, “Okay, you’re gonna have to cry on demand in this next scene,” I’d think of something bad happening to Kali. It’d be no problem for me to sob instantly, in fact, I could cry just typing these words. Over the top? Okay, I see your point. But that’s just me.

Pets can improve our health.

Having a bond with our pets can keep us younger longer. Stoking the soft or wiry fur of our “babies” lowers our blood pressure. Also, stress is reduced when we bond with Spot, Kali, Sammy, Colby, Toby, or Chloe. Pets also keep our activity level up if we’re walking them. Most seniors experience less loneliness when they have pets. And who doesn’t laugh more when their pet does something cute or klutzy?

Kali has never disappointed me … even when she deposits half-chewed kibble all over the house sending out the “Welcome” mat to the ants I pay professionals to remove. She doesn’t care if my breath stinks or if my outfit is too frumpy or outdated. She doesn’t care if I meet my deadlines (unless, of course, I’m a nanosecond late to one of her feeding times), and she could care less if I floss my teeth or shave my legs.  

All my pet does is love me. Well, if love is a feeling she is capable of having. I don’t know, perhaps she does feel something like love. I don’t care either way; she is always close to me, leaning into me and touching my cheek with her soft little paw.  I could go on and on about the value of my pet and how she enriches my life.

What about you? If you have a pet or are just a pet lover, what is it that makes them so important to you?