On any given day, Orange County Animal Services (OCAS) accepts dozens of dogs and cats in need of a home. Wild animals have evolved over the course of millions of years as independent, free-living beings. They have needs, instincts and behaviors that are inseparably tied both to their appropriate habitat, and to a free-living state. It is inappropriate and inhumane to force a wild animal to live the captive life of a pet. Pets provide many benefits to humans. They comfort us and they give us companionship. However, some animals can also pass diseases to people. These diseases are called zoonoses.
When health-related respondent characteristics were added to the model ( Table 4 ), all previously observed associations remained, and respondents with current asthma were 19% more likely to own a cat, after controlling for all the other variables in the model. Again, we cannot make any claims about the direction of the relationship and do not know if cat ownership causes asthma, respondents with asthma were more likely to own cats, or something related to both asthma and cat ownership is behind the relationship. BMI, and general health were not associated with cat ownership after adjusting for other characteristics.
When examining the relationship between pet ownership and health, it is helpful to first consider the mechanisms through which we believe the effect might work. For example, do pets promote health through companionship and emotional support; do they encourage healthy behavior; or is there something else about them that could improve mental or physical health? Understanding these mechanisms is vital for understanding how pets might impact health so that we can translate findings into broader public health policy.
Cheetahs aren’t alone when it comes to keeping animal pets. Nature has seen some weird animal companionships – from horses who keep goats as seeing eye dogs to tarantulas that keep frogs as house pets. Even gorillas have been witnessed adopting kittens only to mourn their death when they’ve finally moved on. Just try and say animals don’t love their furry friend. You can’t.
For example, many species of gobies cohabitate with pistol shrimp. They live as a team. The Watchman Goby alerts the pistol shrimp to the presence of potential predators and prey. The pistol shrimp defends the goby from predators and kills prey, with both sharing a home and territory as well as meals. I consider a pet relationship to be an interspecies symbiotic relationship which is strong enough to warrant the cohabitation of the Symbiants. I have such a relationship with my dog, and the mighty Watchman Goby has such a relationship with the even mightier pistol shrimp.