Talking To Your Pets And What It Means
Don’t worry; it’s not just you.
Admit it. You’ve done it before. Perhaps you do it all the time. Maybe it happens instinctively when your eyes meet – or when they paw for attention. Whatever the spark, it’s a known affliction of pet owners to talk to their pets.
Should we be concerned? Are we finally losing it?
If this has ever crossed your mind, we come bearing good news! This is absolutely normal behaviour; we’d even go further to say that this is a positive trait more people should have. Not only does it show empathy, but it also helps us bond with our pets.
The best part? This is absolutely beneficial for everyone involved – cats, dogs, and their owners!
While we don’t typically unleash entire rants onto our unsuspecting furry friends, we talk to them all the time.* What unites us with our pets is that we are all capable of social empathy – and not just inter-species at that – but intra-species.
To understand why this is so amazing, imagine: we don’t share a language; we don’t look anything alike; we don’t even walk on four legs! But regardless of our differences, we’re still capable of empathizing with each other – this is the reason we’re drawn to talking to them.
That means our eccentric way of showing affection is a prime example of prosocial behaviour. Long story short? We’re better people than we were yesterday just for having pets, and doubly for talking to them! How cool is that?
Do They Understand Us?
That is to say: are they judging us silently as we ramble on about our day? While strangers might give us the side-eye, our pals actually love it!
Along with giving them attention via foods and physical affection (i.e. general clinginess), speaking to them will actually strengthen the bond you have with your four-legged friend. It helps them understand and relate to you more – granted not through actual words, but through the tone, cadence, and volume of your voice. Exposing them to a wide range of emotions, reinforced by physical feedback tells them a lot about how you feel; doing this often will just reinforce this knowledge.
So yes, they understand us. But not in the way we’re used to. We understand them like they understand us: wordlessly, the way old friends always seem to.
You know how we said we shouldn’t rant to our pets? Scratch that; we totally should. For health reasons, of course.**
It will definitely feel strange at first. And your pet might look at you like you’re losing your wits. But persist and you’ll notice an inner lightness after your sessions.
This isn’t far from therapy and does wonders for your mental health. Truthfully, you don’t even need an audience, but that you can feel heard is extra cathartic and reinforces the bond between both parties. We’d say that’s a win-win.
Empathy is a strange thing. It’s a very human trait, yet isn’t just limited to us. So let’s get it out there – as pet owners, we do talk to our pets. A lot. And that’s alright!
Our pals might give us the side-eye but they secretly love it, and admit it: you kinda like it too. If anything, the extra therapy alone is worth it in our eyes.
Just remember who you’re talking to – tone, cadence, and volume are important not to scare them away!