A long time ago (coming up on fifteen years), I set out to get a cat. A friend of a friend gave me a kitten – a feisty long-haired grey with a bad-ass attitude and frightening intelligence. Bast helped to make my house a home. Over the years, I gained a few more cats, all by accident, and all giving immeasurable joy every day. So as a long-time pet of multiple cats, I can personally attest to the many benefits of companion animals, and science has been backing me up for decades now. Your health, both physical and mental, will be significantly improved by the presence of a cat, dog, or other pet. Here are a number of informative sources:
Of course, if you are considering adopting a companion animal, you need to take many things into account. How much time do you have? How much money? What kind of lifestyle? Also, I know many people think that a particular breed is special or attractive, but the fact is that there are many wonderful mongrels and mixed breeds in shelters all over the United States (and world) who would love the chance to become your companion, so check your local shelters and you will be sure to find a friend. Above all, be patient and caring. You will be repaid a thousand-fold.
For more information, visit the Humane Society of the United States, the ASPCA, and Best Friends Animal Society; and of course your local shelter and/or sanctuary. Feel free to send your comments, questions, and stories; I will answer all queries, and may feature your own tale in a future column.