It’s time to throw those ideas about crazy cat lady spinsters to the curb. The fact of the matter is that owning a pet—whether it’s a dog, cat, bunny or goldfish (okay, maybe not a goldfish)—is actually the best training ground that exists for a relationship with another human. Don’t believe me? Consider this:
1. You learn to compromise.
Some pets (Part A: most cats) will not do what they want, if they wish. Even loyal dogs may not agree with every last practice ride you can imagine. It means that at some point you just have to understand and accept the difference between what your animal is supposed to do and what it does.
When my cat, Toby, decided to express his dislike for one of our life situations by peeing one after the other in my favorite handbags (dear, his favorite handbags do not have to be cleaned up), I suppressed my fantasies of finding a nice couple in the Berkshires who could be in a bad mood, You want to adopt a 10 year old cat and try to calm him down until he stops. And although I have to imagine that the guy I end up with is not likely to pee with money, it’s a guarantee that he’s doing something to make me hell. So, is it useful for my compromised muscle to have so much movement?
2. You learn how to put another’s needs before your own.
Whether you thought Fido would leave, call the cat keeper or make sure your gerbil does not escape (insert here your own Richard Gere joke) (since he did) (it was mine ), have a creature whose survival depends on you, teach you to give up at least temporarily your own needs, in the interest of another being. And what could be a more important skill to master a romantic relationship?
3. You can’t help but become responsible.
You know the following saying: if you can keep a plant alive for a year, are you ready for a pet and if you can keep a pet alive for a year, are you ready for a relationship? Although it may not be exactly right (I killed most of the plants in my life and managed to keep two cats alive for more than a decade), there are some truths. It’s a fact that feeding, storing and monitoring your pet’s health prepares you to eat, clean and monitor the health of your relationship. (It’s just a fact that I have an anti-green thumb.)
4. Bodily functions become no big deal.
As I wished, romantic relationships – especially when they coexist – involve exposure to someone else’s bathroom habits. And if you dig dog waste into plastic bags and pick up trash – not to mention collecting stool samples from the vet – you’re definitely ready for the moment the guy or girl you want to talk to will close the polluted bathroom.
5. When you start to open your heart to love, you’re all the more likely to keep opening your heart to love.
Since only other pet owners understand how much the adoration of a fur creature can be extreme, I would like to tell you that you teach when you look at something with loving eyes and that you feel how your serotonin swells up your heart and it is good to love. It may be easier to love something furry because you still have the upper hand, but it’s also a great training ground.