You

You’ve Got a Friend in Me

In the great dog versus cat debate, I have always been an outspoken member of team dog. Maybe that has a lot to do with the fact that I have had a dog since the day I was born, and therefore don’t really know how to play with or handle a cat. They tend not to appreciate an obnoxious person running towards them for a rough-and-tumble pet session, but I just don’t know any other way! Cats also tend to pee on me. I have no idea why this is, but it has become a running joke in my family. All of that changed in June when a family friend had a litter of kittens abandoned in her backyard. She sent out a desperate plea for adoptive families for the little felines, and even I couldn’t resist the little balls of fur. I was also in a particularly vulnerable state seeing as I was currently experiencing my longest stretch of being pet-free ever. My fiancé and I decided to take one of the little girls in, and it was love at first deworming. We’ve been a happy little family now for a few months and I can already tell that we are going to have a good life together. I never realized how much of a positive impact having a little kitten running around would have on my health and happiness.

The first noticeable effect has been a sharp decline in work productivity! Every time I carve out some time to write articles she plops herself on my keyboard, adding lines like “khlyrktylugt.i” or “tdrsrejstyf”. In fact, right now I’m typing this with one finger as I hold her in my arms in a desperate attempt to keep her off the keys. For me, this is good. I’m a bit of a workaholic, and any minute that I’m not doing things for grad school I’m working, or writing, or cleaning the house, or volunteering myself for committees. She makes me stop and play, which in turn is keeping me from pilling on too much stress, and is ultimately keeping me healthier. In addition to being playful she is also incredibly snuggly. On a bad day her laser pointer induced antics make me laugh, and her cuddles warm my heart. She truly is a wonderful little friend and distraction. My dogs always knew when I wasn’t feeling well and would lay on the couch with me all day if I needed them to, but my cat still expects me to get up and play. In my opinion both are helpful in their own way. The real key for me is the companionship.

I couldn’t ask for a better human support system, but a pet can be that cherry on top. And it’s not just me, studies have actually shown the positive health benefits of pets. Pets can lower blood pressure (when they aren’t destroying things and elevating it), decrease cholesterol levels, ease anxiety, fight depression, encourage you to exercise more, and help avoid isolation. People with multiple sclerosis can also greatly benefit from having service dogs. According to the National MS Society, service dogs can help with balance, opening and closing doors, retrieving items, alerting their owners to sounds, pulling wheelchairs, and responding to the needs of their owners when they become anxious or fatigued. A pet may be a great investment in your health if you are able to provide the time, care, and love that they require!

Do you have a special pet in your life? What impact have they had on your health?

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The MultipleSclerosis.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.
View References
  1. http://staging.nationalmssociety.org/living-with-multiple-sclerosis/mobility-and-accessibility/assistance-animals/index.aspx
  2. http://pets.webmd.com/ss/slideshow-pets-improve-your-health

Comments

View Comments (3)
  • sandyz
    2 years ago

    I have RRMS and my 3 dogs and 6 cats are the greatest therapy in the world. Bliss, Riley, and Duke make everyday special!

  • Pammie
    4 years ago

    I love my cats. I have always had cats amoung other animal friends and when a young yellow tabbie showed up at the back door 2 years , I couldn’t turn him away. He notices when I feel bad and makes me fill better. I do wedding photography and after my neice got married a few months ago, I took her pics, as well as directed, provided some of the decorations, went to rehearsal, but that is what an Aunt is for and I couldn’t tell her I was not feeling good due to my MS, the day of her wedding, because I had been rushing do get every thing done for her. That night after I finally went to bed, TigerBoy crawled up between me and my husband and while I was laying there in the dark, I felt two furry paws press softly against my cheek. He knew I felt bad. They can tell. Great article! Cats or Dogs doesn’t matter, (but I love my cats):)

  • Laura Kolaczkowski
    4 years ago

    Finally! A great explanation of the difference between ad cat and a dog. Perhaps now that you have this fur ball you might need to get Dragon Speak Naturally, so you can dictate with the feline creates the footnotes to your work. ~Laura

  • Poll