Critter Corner: Having a Furry Friend May Extend Your Life

Dear Bebe,

I am considering getting a cat similar to you for my mother, who lives alone and doesn’t get much exercise. I heard pets have been known to promote longevity and social interaction. If it’s okay with her and her landlord, do you think it’s a good idea? I have a beloved poodle myself. Is there a way to plan for your pets?


Kat Formomi

Dear Kat,

I think a cat is a wonderful idea for your mother. Maybe you should reconsider your poodle and get one too (just kidding)!

Many studies have proven that having a soft cat or a warm dog is good for the human soul. Research has found that pets may help older adults live longer, healthier, and more enjoyable lives.

There are a number of explanations for exactly how pets offer health benefits, as follows:

– Pets need walking, feeding, grooming and encourage lots of playing and petting. All of these activities require action from owners, which in turn, benefits the cardiovascular system and helps keep joints limber and flexible.

– Pets also aid people by providing some physical contact. Studies have shown when people pet animals, their blood pressure, heart rate and temperature decrease.

– Pets are also a great source of companionship – they act as a support system for older people who do not have any family or close friends nearby. Pets also work as a buffer against social isolation. For people who have trouble leaving home to see other people, pets fill the void by giving people the interaction they need.

– Pets can help seniors combat depression, one of the most common medical problems facing older adults today. The responsibility of caring for an animal may also give the elderly a sense of purpose, a reason to get up in the morning.

A few additional health benefits of having a pet include reduced stress and anxiety, improved mood, better heart health, enhanced immune system, a more balanced life, and motivation to eat and sleep better. If you end up getting that cat for your mom, I hope they enjoy each other’s company!

Planning for pets

A pet trust is legal instrument that you can create to insure your pet receives proper care after you die or in the event of your disability. You can read more about Pet Trusts here: Make an appointment with Mr. Farr to learn more and to get started! Thanks for caring so much for your pet (even if it is a dog)!

Hope this is helpful!


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About Renee Eder

Renee Eder is the Director of Public Relations for the Farr Law Firm, and gives the voice to the Critters of Critter Corner. Renee’s poodle, Penny, is an official comfort dog who she and her children bring to visit with seniors who are in the early stages of dementia at a local senior home once a month.