how great are pets, am i right?! seriously though, i think animals and pets are an extremely underrated form of a coping mechanism. data from the american crisis text line indicates that pets are the second highest support system during covid-19; after friends, and before family and significant others.
that’s pretty big. and it’s pretty understandable. for me, my cats have been my rocks over the years. they’ve been there every time i’ve been struggling emotionally and they’ve been there in a way we sometimes wish people were there for us - unconditionally.
i live alone. so at the start of covid when we were self-isolating, i was worried. how was i going to get this social connection that we as humans so desperately need? the reality was, i wasn’t. at least not with other humans. but i got that connection, it was just in the form of my feline children.
people often questioned why i wouldn’t just leave my cats in the US when i moved back to australia. and i asked them, would they ever leave their children in another country? because in essence, these cats are my children. they’re involved in most significant decisions i make in my life. and i understand at times that can be limiting, but i also know the joy i’ve received from them is irreplaceable.
simba helped save my life back in 2015 when i was struggling with suicide. he was the one thing i would always look forward to seeing. especially when he would run from streets away just to greet me at the door. he was the light in a world of darkness.
not only do pets offer emotional support in the form of non-judgemental reactions and physical affection, but they also remind us to be present. they remind us there are things bigger than ourselves in this world. they give us responsibility. purpose. and all of that; someone to love, something to do, something to look forward to, are the ingredients for happiness. all of which my cats, simba and bailey, successfully supply.