I grew up with lots of dogs in different stages of my childhood, well into my 20’s. I love having dogs around but when I became a mother, pets were fish, a turtle, and more fish (which we really don’t classify as pets as they can’t be touched anyway). It wasn’t until we cared for our aunt’s cats that we decided to get our own cats, albeit adopted older.
It’s been 4 years and they’ve stolen our hearts since, they got us under their paws. It’s true though that if we don’t have cats at home, there’d be more money to save, there’s more space on the bed, the house could be cleaner, but our hearts…oh our poor hearts would be a little less full. There’s so much I could say about what differences having pets at home made for us, but today let’s focus on what they’ve taught or given the kids (or enhanced) since we got them.
Teaches Compassion and Empathy
The kids have always been kind to animals, or any creature for that matter. But having the cats showed them that caring and nurturing for God’s creation is a wonderful thing. For the boys, it’s not seen as something that should be done only by girls.
A nurturing attitude takes time to develop. When kids spend time with pets and practice care-giving through them, they develop a bond – in a sense tame them and learn to connect with them emotionally.
Knowing that tiny creatures depend on them makes them see the importance of compassion and kindness no matter which animal.
Makes them Responsible
Feeding pets, cleaning up after them, walking them out, or simply combing their fur are little things kids can do for the pets. Yet, these so-called tasks help children see that their pets need them and it gives them a sense of purpose and achievement.
More importantly, they learn how pets also need love, and that they themselves have that much love to give.
Gives Them Comfort
There’s nothing more assuring than knowing that a friend you confide into would keep your secret safe. Animals are great listeners, although they would only reply with a thrill or a meow, you would feel how they would try to comfort you if they sense your sadness.
“It was one of those days that I had indigestion, my back hurts as a result and I couldn’t sleep from the pain. I lied on my side and our cat Iron came up to me, slid through my arms and positioned himself like a pillow, and purred. I fell asleep and woke up to him still there, purring. I felt so much better.”
While the kids haven’t had such incidences, they’ve related similar stories on how one of our cats would cuddle up with them and be beside them until they fall asleep.
No one of us can spend all our time playing with the kids. Given work and house chores, there’s a limit to how much we can be around. Pets are a great companion for them in this case, especially for solo children at home.
Play pretend, like having a friend to drink tea with, reading a book to a younger sibling, as a pet would allow are not only cute interactions, it’s having companions and friends around.
Being around horses gives kids a sense of belonging. These gentle giants allow them to feel that if they can be friends with such a great animal, being friends with others is not hard.
Having pets also enhances kids’ creativity. My daughter loves to craft and so she made little mouse toys for the kitties to play with.
She also takes inspiration from the cats when drawing, even drew their portraits at one point.
Cats have been my favorite photography subjects even at a time when we still use manual cameras, they are elegant, regal, and at times funny. While I enjoyed taking their photos in the streets back in the days, our cats at home are also great models.
Our older son has had asthma growing up, and allergies from dust, cats, and many other things. That time we catsit for our aunt’s furbabies, he wore a facemask on the first day. Since he didn’t get a reaction from the cats being around, we gradually allowed him to play with them, he’s been okay to this day, not having asthma attacks, and no allergy flare ups too.
As we are no experts regarding the immune system, we could only attribute to what many say: “The more animals you meet as a child, the lower your risk of allergies would be.”
In our family group chat, we send each other photos, videos, links, and what have yous of cute cats, dogs, and any other animal – all the time. Anything about cats is a great topic to talk about. Of course, pets aren’t the only things we talk about, but it’s a great starter. Same with people we meet, if we know that they have pets, talking about them makes conversation easy.
Another of the many benefits of pets on kids would be the fun they bring. You’ve seen all those videos of pets and they’re surely bring you smiles. Imagine having a goofy little roommate that has so many comical things up his sleeve. Pets would just be that – sleeping on their backs, showing you their bellies, stretching out while your walking and accidentally tripping you, falling off the bed while asleep – it must have hurt but it’s still funny just to see.
Benefits of Pets on Adults
It’s not only kids that benefit from having pets, adults do too. They make us swoon, and seeing them waiting for us by the door, every time we come home assures us that kind of belonging. No tough heart can’t be tendered by a loving cat or dog, even dads who say that no pets are allowed at home tend to be the favorites of would be pets. (You’ve probably seen a lot of such videos and it’s heart-warming, just one of the many benefits of pets being at home.)
No home is complete without the pitter patter of kitty feet…this might have been a perfect quote before we got our cats, we never knew that having them could make our home and our hearts full.