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National Pet Month: Focus on feline wellness

woman laying on bed with dog and cat

Pets are our companions, our playmates, and sometimes even our life savers. Who hasn’t been soothed by a purring cat, or delighted in the antics of kittens? May is National Pet Month, a time to celebrate the many ways in which pets enrich our lives.  

Improving Lives for Pets & People 

Coordinated by the National Office of Animal Health (NOAH) and the Pet Food Manufacturers Association (PFMA), the campaign aims to highlight the many benefits of pet ownership. 

  • To support and increase pet adoptions (ASPCA statistics show that about 1.5 million shelter animals are euthanized each year in the US, 59% of which are cats).  
  • To increase awareness of the benefits when pets and people live together (a University of Alberta study showed that infants who grow up around furry pets have a decreased risk for allergies and obesity later in life). 
  • To promote responsible pet ownership (owning a pet is a serious commitment, and understanding your pet’s needs now will make you a better owner when you do adopt). 
  • To inform the public about the many specialty services available for pets (including veterinarians, trainers, groomers, behavioral specialists, and breeders). 
  • To raise awareness of the role service animals play in empowering people (there are over 200,000 service animals in the US, and while cats cannot be service animals, they often serve as emotional support animals). 

What Are the Benefits of Pet Ownership? 

Did you know there are some real health benefits to owning a pet? Here are some key facts:  

  • Owning a cat can decrease anxiety. Cats are often used as support animals because of their calming, soothing effect on people. And there’s a basis for it in science: Cuddling with your cat Increases the “feel good” hormone oxytocin and decreases stress-related hormones like cortisol.
  • Pet ownership can help boost heart health. Simply sharing a cuddle with your cat can help release stress, slow heart rate, and lower blood pressure. 
  • Pet ownership keeps you active. Caring for a pet is a great way to exercise. It also helps you and your pet bond for life!
  • Cats can help improve your sleep quality. Sleeping with a pet has been proven to provide a sense of security in some owners, which improves their sleep patterns and outcomes.
  • Owning a cat may improve your carbon footprint (over dog ownership). Dogs consume more food than cats—and cat food tends to favor fish components and flavoring versus the beef or chicken found in dog food.   

How Can I Get Involved? 

There are many ways you can celebrate National Pet Month and we’ve listed a few below: 

  • Get Your Pet a Check-up. If you’re a cat owner, May is the perfect time for a pet wellness check. It’ll give your vet a chance to assess your pet’s overall health, to check your pet’s weight, and to administer any needed immunizations.  
  • Give Your Pet a Spa Day. We could all use a little pampering now and then, and your cat is no exception. A professional groomer can offer bathing, haircutting, detangling, nail trimming, and other services. And you’ll be supporting a local pet-positive business! 
  • Spend Quality Time with Your Pet. If your work takes you outside the home, you may not get to spend as much time with your cats as they’d like. Take a little extra time to play with your cat, maybe introduce a new toy, or enliven your cat’s diet with some tasty treats. 
  • Adopt a Pet. Adopting a new pet is a big step, but if you’re able to open your home and heart to a cat in need, it would be life-saving. And you’d be helping to reduce the number of strays living on the streets. 
  • Foster a Pet. If you’re not sure you’re ready to take the plunge and adopt a pet, try fostering. Fostering allows you to provide a temporary home to animals in need until a permanent home is found. It’s also a great way to know whether you’re ready for the challenges of pet ownership. 
  • Get Active on Social Media. One great way to amplify the message of National Pet Month is to share it on social media. Recently foster a litter of kittens or adopt a cat with special needs? Share about it on Instagram or Tik-Tok! Promote your pet-related business on social—it’s a great way to connect with other pet-lovers as well. 

We hope you and your pets have a healthy and safe National Pet Month!  

Cecily Kellogg

By Cecily Kellogg

Cecily Kellogg, Felix guest blogger, spent eight years working as a veterinary technician before applying her knowledge and experience as a writer.

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