It’s “National Love Your Pet Day” and we have a busy schedule of…basically what we do each day. We sleep together, wake up together, the foster cats get a morning visit, then the regulars have breakfast of the raw diet I’ve mixed just for them or a canned or prepared food I’ve carefully chosen. I watch each of them eat and note what I see. We spend some time with affection and even a little play after they eat, then we head to the basement to toss on a load of laundry, scoop litterboxes while I observe their litterbox use and we all look at the birds out the basement door. Then they bathe and begin their individual days, which often includes following me around in whatever I’m doing. Which, next, is heading back to the fosters in the bathroom and feeding their breakfast. Through the day I spend some time with each of them as they come to curl on my lap for a nap, I pick up toys and toss them, we look out the windows, I photograph and sketch them, and spend time with the fosters, helping them socialize to living with humans through play and affection and slowly integrate into the household. Soon enough comes dinner, then evening, then bedtime, with play and affection integrated once again.
The entirety of each day includes something I do with my cats, whether intentionally or because they happen to be there as we enjoy each others’ company. The larger things that go into their care, like meal-planning and health care based on their daily habits, environmental enrichment tailored to their need for focused and physical activity, grow from my daily observations. They tend to get more donated and handmade toys, found objects and play areas constructed out of the boxes and containers I use to store my materials and merchandise than they do items designed for cats, but they don’t seem to mind that. That is part necessity and part my own creative expression, which they enjoy participating in. For me, this is loving my pet, or pets, sharing our space, giving them a good, long fulfilling life, and it happens every day.
It looks like a majority of pet owners might feel the same way.
Around Valentine’s Day 2015 a “Love Your Pet” nationwide survey asked more than 2,000 pet owners to share how they cared for and felt about their cats and dogs. The survey results showed that, on Valentine’s Day, pet owners:
- are far more likely to buy a gift for their pet (69%) than for their significant other or spouse (61%), their kids (42%), friends (10%) or co-workers (3%)
- if given the choice, most pet owners would prefer to stay home on Valentine’s Day and cuddle with their pet (63%) than go on a romantic date with their significant other or spouse (35%)
In many ways, pets are far more easier to please, so why not?
A few other things the survey found:
- More than 60% of pet owners say that their pet sleeps in bed with them.
- Nearly 83% of pet owners say that they receive the most unconditional love from their pet, vs. their significant other or spouse (9%), their kids (7%), or their best friend (1%).
- More than 80% of pet owners say their pet gets more kisses on a daily basis than their significant other.
- More than 83% of pet owners say that their pet is better at cuddling than their significant other.
- 73% of pet owners consider their pet to be a “Sweet Angel” vs. a “Little Devil” (27%).
- 47% of pet owners selected “soul mates” as the best way to describe their relationship with their pet.
The survey was sponsored by VetIQ®, which markets a line of pet prescription medications, flea & tick preventives and other health and wellness supplements for pets.
The best diet I could provide, toys and environmental enrichment even if homemade, and just inviting them to be a part of nearly everything I do seems to have worked for the past 35 years. And no doubt the love they’ve given back to me has kept me healthy, and I know it’s enriched my life. After all, they gave me my career!
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