Are you stressing out your pet? Veterinarian reveals how stress and diet can affect dogs and cats, too. It’s just that I’ve been somewhat concerned with turmoil in the Middle East, as well as the latest charge made against Lindsay Lohan –– why can’t they leave that poor girl alone?!
I’m a sucker for e-mails with provocative openings, so these lines hooked me like a hungry halibut in need of contact lenses:
“Are you stressing out your pet? Veterinarian reveals how stress and diet can affect dogs and cats, too.”
The e-mail was promoting veterinarian Paul McCutcheon’s book, “The New Holistic Way for Dogs and Cats.”
He says, “The best way to support your pet’s present and future wellness is through stress prevention. Tune into the kinds of stress that affect your pet and stress-proof the ways you look after their daily needs.”
He goes on to list a few tips, such as “think before you adopt,” “establish your role,” and “watch their diet.”
He adds, “The truth is, when we’re stressed out, so are our pets. Just as pets can sense anger, fear or illness in us –– which explains why pets try to comfort us when we’re sick –– they can also sense our stress. By addressing the stress in our own lives, we can help keep our pets stress-free and prevent many of the common illnesses that plague them, making them healthy and happy companions for a long time to come.”
I was understandably worried that my recent concerns with the political situation in Egypt and Lindsay Lohan’s legal status might have been picked up by my chubby housecat, Dennis.
While he didn’t seem noticeably upset of late, he might in fact be holding in his emotions, which can be more harmful than expressing them.
I approached Dennis as he sat in an open kitchen cabinet filled with plastic bags that he feels is an appropriate resting place and broached the subject.
“Um, Dennis, I’m wondering if you’ve been picking up on my stress levels lately.”
He looked up at me and yawned, which I took to be a positive sign.
“It’s just that I’ve been somewhat concerned with turmoil in the Middle East, as well as the latest charge made against Lindsay Lohan –– why can’t they leave that poor girl alone?! Oops, sorry, I didn’t mean to get emotional.”
Dennis looked down, then licked one of the plastic bags –– a clear call for help.
“I don’t want you to tune in to my stress, Dennis. In truth, I’m dealing with these issues, and others. Don’t you worry your furry little head. Frequently, there are pitfalls in life and we must be prepared to face them knowing that vicissitudes are a part of our daily existence. If I may be so bold as to paraphrase Kipling:
‘If you can talk with squirrels and not get unruly,
Or walk with Labrador retrievers without getting bitten,
If neither foes nor loving friends can make you meow unduly,
If all felines count with you, even those named mittens;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute,
With sixty seconds’ worth of looking out the window at birds for fun,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And, which is more, you’ll be a contented Kitty, my son!’”
At the conclusion of my recitation, Dennis jumped out of the cabinet, walked over to his bowl of Meow Mix and began crunching in apparent contentment.
“I’m glad we had this talk.”
Frank Mulligan is an editor in GateHouse Media New England’s Raynham office in Massachusetts, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.