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Fur-parenting can be good for your mental health, study affirms

Pets play an important part in people’s lives. They are a source of happiness and companionship, especially in moments of sadness for many people. Taking care of a pet is a big responsibility that many people enjoy.

Regardless whether they are dogs, cats, rabbits, birds, and other domesticated animals, every pet is a family member for “fur-parents,” or people who refer to themselves as parents of their pets. For these fur-parents, their “fur babies” are like their own children who they will always protect and take care of. Given that pets have been a happy pill for many, it is interesting to know how owning one benefits people’s health and well-being.

A study from Malaysia in 2021 found that people who owned pets had better mental health during the time of COVID-19. During such precarious times, people’s movements were very limited. People were isolated and secluded from one another given the huge risks posed by the virus that time. There were 224 pet owners and another 224 people who did not own pets both that took part in this research.


The researchers wanted to know if there was any difference when it comes to the mental well-being between people who owned and did not own pets. It was found out that pet owners had better mental stability. According to the results of their study, pet owners had better self-efficacy, which was an important aspect relevant in people’s capacity to push through the challenges they face, psychological well-being, and lastly, positive emotions.

The study also explored what type of owner had better mental health. According to the study, despite the fact that there were more participants who owned dogs, cat owners were found to have better mental well-being during the lockdown in Malaysia. It was stated in the study that people’s interaction with cats alongside the responses they give, probably regulated their owners’ emotions better compared to the helpful physical activity that dogs could provide.

The researchers concluded in their study that having pets is beneficial to people, especially during times like the COVID-19 pandemic where people were separated from one another. They also concluded that having pets and providing activities that involved animals can be helpful for programs aligned in mental health.

Being a fur-parent surely is a big responsibility, and may not be for everyone. Regardless of what pet a person has, taking care of them requires commitment, effort, time, and energy.  Considering the findings of the study, becoming a fur parent or pet owner can now be an ideal thing considering the positive mental health effects it was proven to have.


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