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Why Do We Love Cats and Dogs? Photos Usually Provide the Answer

Updated on November 2, 2017
Casey White profile image

Dorothy McKenney is a former newspaper reporter-turned researcher. Her husband, Mike, is a professional landscape/nature photographer.

Reason 1: They Don't Require Sleeping Pills

A good pet can sleep anywhere, anytime without having to take sleeping pills.
A good pet can sleep anywhere, anytime without having to take sleeping pills. | Source
Dogs aren't the only ones who love to snooze.  This kitten is enjoying her afternoon nap (one of several).
Dogs aren't the only ones who love to snooze. This kitten is enjoying her afternoon nap (one of several). | Source

But...Pets Are Expensive!

When you think about the expense of owning a pet, you might think we would all consider it a major reason not to own one, but we don't. It doesn't matter how much it costs, many of us just go ahead and tighten our belts and consider that our "children" need proper care, feeding, medicine and a lot of love. And, they usually get it.

In our own personal case, we don't plan long trips because we won't leave our dog, Mia in a boarding situation. But, she's not very friendly to anyone but us, so we can't take her with us, which means I take occasional trips and Mike stays home with Mia.

So, why do we do it? Because to us, Mia is a loving companion who keeps our backyard free of monsters and keeps the post lady in line on our porch, and lays against Mike's shoulder while he sleeps. (I forgot to mention that she likes him a whole lot more than she likes me). Mia loves affection, but runs at me like a police dog on the trail of a serial killer whenever I try to kiss Mike. If I get up in the middle of the night, she won't let me back on the bed without a fight. In her mind, she is the only woman Mike should be sleeping with. But heck, I'm still quite fond of the little one.

Reason 2: They Are Great Babysitters

A kitten can help your baby fall asleep so much faster.
A kitten can help your baby fall asleep so much faster. | Source
If your dog is babysitting for you, he takes his job seriously and keeps your baby close at all times.
If your dog is babysitting for you, he takes his job seriously and keeps your baby close at all times. | Source

But...Studies Say Pets Don't Really Help People Live Longer

Did you know that people who have pets live longer? It's probably not true, of course, but it is a nice thought for pet owners to keep in their minds. Studies have called it an "unsubstantiated hypothesis," but we prefer to think of it as indisputable fact.

We will just wait on a new study to come out.

Reason 3: They Are Very Talented

This kitty cat is a dancing fool.
This kitty cat is a dancing fool.
Pets will dance to any beat, no matter what the musical genre.
Pets will dance to any beat, no matter what the musical genre. | Source

But...Many Animals Have Even More Talents

This is a direct quote about animal intelligence from a fascinating 2008 National Geographic article written by Virginia Morell:

"Certain skills are considered key signs of higher mental abilities: good memory, a grasp of grammar and symbols, self-awareness, understanding others’ motives, imitating others, and being creative. Bit by bit, in ingenious experiments, researchers have documented these talents in other species, gradually chipping away at what we thought made human beings distinctive while offering a glimpse of where our own abilities came from. Scrub jays know that other jays are thieves and that stashed food can spoil; sheep can recognize faces; chimpanzees use a variety of tools to probe termite mounds and even use weapons to hunt small mammals; dolphins can imitate human postures; the archerfish, which stuns insects with a sudden blast of water, can learn how to aim its squirt simply by watching an experienced fish perform the task."

She forgot to mention that cats and dogs are pretty good dancers, as you can see from the photos above.

Reason 4: They Love to Play Dress Up

Well, maybe they don't exactly love it, but they do tolerate dress-up events.
Well, maybe they don't exactly love it, but they do tolerate dress-up events. | Source
If you have several beautiful cats, dressing them up will be lots more fun (for you).
If you have several beautiful cats, dressing them up will be lots more fun (for you). | Source

But...Not All Animals Like Wearing Clothes

If it stresses your pet out, don't do it. Check out this complete article on the subject by clicking here.

Reason 5: They Love the Holidays

Halloween is one of your pet's favorite holidays, but why don't you ever give him any of the candy?
Halloween is one of your pet's favorite holidays, but why don't you ever give him any of the candy? | Source
Cats especially love the Christmas holidays.  You can see it in their faces!
Cats especially love the Christmas holidays. You can see it in their faces! | Source

But...They Can't Eat What We Eat and Chocolate is a No-No!

Almost all of us love all of the chocolate goodies that help make holidays special, but resist the urge to give your beloved pet any of those goodies, which could cause (depending on the breed):

  • liver damage
  • bleeding disorders
  • diarrhea (a very common side-effect)
  • death

Around December, lots of people start putting up decorations, some of which can cause stress to animals (blinking lights, decorated trees, etc.) Some signs that your pet is stressed out include:

  • drooling
  • vomiting
  • lethargy

Actually, any change in your pet's normal behavior should be a warning sign.

Reason 6: They Love to Go on Vacation With You

Your pet loves to go on vacation with you, and you probably won't even know he's there.
Your pet loves to go on vacation with you, and you probably won't even know he's there. | Source
Hawaii is one of a dog's favorite vacation spots.
Hawaii is one of a dog's favorite vacation spots. | Source
Yes, I'm sure it's safe to say that these dogs are happy vacationers.
Yes, I'm sure it's safe to say that these dogs are happy vacationers. | Source

But...There Are Pros and Cons to Taking Your Pet on Vacation

Pros:

  • Nobody can care for your pet like you can.
  • New smells and places are very entertaining for pets (dogs especially).
  • Doesn't your pet deserve to get out of the cooped-up house too?
  • Fresh air is always good for pets.

Cons:

  • Not all places you might want to visit will love your "best friend" as much as you do, and they might want you to keep looking for another destination.
  • If you are flying, think about how scared and anxious your pet might be feeling cooped up in a travel carrier.
  • Speaking of flying, there are certain breeds of dogs that airlines won't accept at all. American Airlines, for example, won't let you "check" the following 20 dog breeds in the luggage compartment in a carrier:
  1. Affenpinscher
  2. American Staffordshire Terrier
  3. Boston Terrier
  4. Boxer (all breeds)
  5. Brussels Griffon
  6. Bulldog (all breeds)
  7. Cane Corso
  8. Dogue De Bordeaux
  9. English Toy Spaniel
  10. Japanese Chin
  11. Lhasa Apso
  12. Mastiff (all breeds)
  13. Pekingese
  14. Pit Bull
  15. Presa Canario
  16. Pug (all breeds)
  17. Shar Pei
  18. Shih Tzu
  19. Staffordshire Bull Terrier
  20. Tibetan Spaniel
  • If you are driving to your destination, allow time for plenty of pit stops at rest areas that are pet friendly.
  • Wherever you end up, you can expect "extra" fees to crop up, especially at check-out time, so be prepared.


Ugly, or Cute?

Some pets are so ugly, they are cute, and we've managed to find photos of the "cutest of the cute."

Reason 7: Because They Are Just So Darn Cute

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Squirrels can be considered pets, especially when it appears that they are knowledgeable in yoga.
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Squirrels can be considered pets, especially when it appears that they are knowledgeable in yoga.
Squirrels can be considered pets, especially when it appears that they are knowledgeable in yoga. | Source

But...There Is a Moral to This Story

The moral is this: No matter what people tell us we can or can't do in regard to our pets, only we know what's best for them, and despite what some people may think, pet owners almost always put their pets pretty high on their priority list, right below the welfare of their children.

From the Ugliest...

...to the Smartest

This is Our Mia and We Think She's Pretty Cute

She looks sweet, but she pretty much doesn't like anyone but us. Mia is a chihuahua-miniature pinscher mix.
She looks sweet, but she pretty much doesn't like anyone but us. Mia is a chihuahua-miniature pinscher mix. | Source

© 2017 Mike and Dorothy McKenney

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    • Casey White profile image
      Author

      Mike and Dorothy McKenney 5 months ago from United States

      I saw your poochie in your article and you are right. Mia is a bit on the pudgy side though and yours looks fit.

    • Casey White profile image
      Author

      Mike and Dorothy McKenney 5 months ago from United States

      Thank you very much. I will try to track your minpin down.

    • Rochelle Frank profile image

      Rochelle Frank 5 months ago from California Gold Country

      I have a Mim Pin/ Chihuahua too-- she looks like she could be a relative of yours. I have her picture in a hub "Walking in the Woods "...or something.

      Loved your hub and pictures.

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