How pets became part of the family

Posted by Argos. May 26th 2015.

As part of our Argos Little Hero Awards, we’ve been looking at some of the more talented, brave and incredible cats and dogs from around the world. We’ve found that when these animals feel truly loved and cared for, they’d do anything for their owner.

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Sometimes that means helping them with everyday tasks, protecting them from harm or even saving lives.

But what we really wanted to know this week, is why have they become such an important part of the family? How did the relationship between humans and their pets come about?

Without getting too serious about it, let’s have a look at the science behind owning a pet.

Cat and dog owners all have these characteristics:

•    Lower Stress Levels.
•    Lower Blood Pressure
•    Less lonely
•    Better mental health
•    More chances to meet new people

As you can see, all these point to a happier, healthier human. In fact, some people think we just started loving our cats and dogs because we were happiest when they were around.

Both cats and dogs have many traits that make us feel warm and safe. A dog will bark if it thinks there is something wrong. Cats have been known to wake people up if they are in danger. Our pets aren’t just our best friends, they’re our guardian angels.

If they keep us safe and happy, it’s no wonder they’ve become an integral part of our lives.

Cats and dogs make the ideal friends and loved ones. They’re happy most of the time and their needs are simple.

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We’ve all heard the famous saying that animals start to look like their owners over time, and the other way round in some cases.

What we might not have noticed though, is just how similar cats and dogs are to humans anyway. Just think of some of the habits and emotions that our four legged friends have or do:

Happiness, Sadness, Mothering-Instincts, Empathy and Sympathy (How many times has your pet come and snuggled up to you when they see you crying or upset), Excitement when they see a loved one, Laziness when they’re bored.

Is the real truth that we have adopted cats and dogs as extra humans in our families because that’s really what they are? Are they not just four-legged, furry versions of us? They long for affection, get grumpy when they haven’t been fed and need to sleep for at least 18 hours a day…

They certainly sound like a lot of humans we know.

Factfile: The History of Cats and Dogs

  • Dogs evolved from Wolves who used to hunt alongside cavemen.
  • The first mention of dogs as family pets came from the Ancient Greeks (in Homer’s Odyssey)
  • The Roman’s cared about dogs so much that they even gave them human funerals!
  • The first cat to be named was called Nedjem and lived around 3500 years ago
  • The Egyptians saw cats as god-like creatures. Harming one was considered one of the worst crimes possible
  • The first cat show was held in 1871.
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