We’ve all heard the arguments for why pets benefit from four-legged companionship – it makes them more social and active, less likely to have separation anxiety, it keep them young etc. I even posted a “top 10 reasons more cats are better than one” earlier this year.
But having started my career in sales, I know the singular question people ask themselves when making a commitment (be it purchasing a yellow pages advertisement or adding a new pet their home).
That question is: WIIFM. “What’s in it for me?”
So in honor of National Get a Pal for Your Pet Day I’ll share a few things I’ve gotten out of sharing my home with multiple felines.
Peace of mind: Okay, it’s an obvious one but when I leave for work or spend the night out (which happens rarely these days) my mind is at ease. I know my cats will have each other for companionship in my absence.
Better understanding of your pet: You may think you know your cat (or dog, bunny…), but you only truly see all aspects of your pets personality in relation to other animals.
I always knew Kippie was a good boy but it was only when I got my other cats that I understood how truly patient and non-confrontational he is. When Haddie sticks her head into his food bowl mid-bite, Kip stands back and looks up at me with his big green. If I don’t remove her, he walks over to her bowl and munches away as if nothing happened. Kip is the pacifists of cats and he makes me think about which battles are really worth fighting.
From fostering I’ve also learned that Kip is a nurturer, attempting to groom cat that crosses our threshold. It turns out my sweet failed foster Haddie, who acts as my pillow when I’m typing on my chaise lounge, has a very bitchy side. She hisses at any four-legged female who dares enter the premises.
Personal growth: Because each animal is a unique little personality, each of my cats has taught me something different about myself, helping me grow as an individual.
I’ve written about how Petie made me appreciate signs of love might come in ways other than I might expect them, and that sometimes people and pets need a little space to come out of their shell. And of course without him who knows if I HAVE CAT would even exist (he is the mascot after all).
Kip was my starter cat. He taught me the joys of cat motherhood. He was a patient teacher tolerating unwanted squeezes and kisses without raising a paw. Who knows if I would have gotten the second or third cat had my experience with Kip turned out differently.
Haddie, on the other hand, has made me to realize how deeply I care for my cats. Because of her I’ve found myself sitting on the floor of my steam filled bathroom in an effort to help her breath, and applying ointments on her eyeballs twice a day. It gave me an understanding of how my Mom must have felt when my sister and I were in pain – doing whatever it took to ease our suffering, and feeling helpless if she couldn’t.
Being in the moment: With one cat it’s easy to take his/her presences for granted. With multiple cats I carve-out special time with each of them to ensure they all feel the love.
Even if it’s just a minute or two I make sure to look them in the eyes and really see them. I admire them from head to toe, scratch chins, massage toe-webs and watch bellies go up-and-down. I don’t allow myself to be distracted by anything in those moments.
And with so many cats to entertain you and keep you busy, how can you possibly focus on things like the economy and other downers in life. They keep us grounded and laughing.
So hopefully if you were considering getting a second or third cat (or dog) for your home, you’ll make sure to consider what the addition of a new pet member of the family can bring to your life.
If you already have multiple cats, I’d love to hear how you feel having more than one cat (or dog/pet) has impacted your life in a positive way.This post is sponsored by the Pets Add Life campaign and the American Pet Products Association. While I am being compensated a nominal fee for helping spread the word about the benefits and joys of pet ownership (which I will use to offset costs incurred by my foster babies), I sincerely mean and believe in everything written in this post.