Does your dog have abandonment issues? Is your cat neurotic? We’ve long been used to the idea of pets as de-stressers for humans. But today there is a boom in mental health counselling for cats and dogs.
Howling canines, cats that suddenly start to caterwaul at night for no obvious reason – we’re long used to their seemingly irrational ways - now it’s off to the “vet shrink” for counselling and therapy.
I have lived with cats – all of them neurotic – for more than 40 years. Their behaviours are always similar but different in their own way, but I have found them great de-stressers – particularly when you have spent most of your life working for neurotic editors.
But the boom today is in pet psychology. It’s no longer the injured paw or broken tooth that has us rushing to the vet, but abnormal behaviours of any sort – perhaps even a fear that their neurosis can be contagious.
Owners are now reported to be seeking time off work to spend more time with their pets, or to take them to a vet counselling service. “There’s something definitely wrong, doc, and it’s more than just furballs.”
Pet stress has been particularly evident this week with Hogmanay fireworks and, it should fairly be added, the bizarre behaviour of their owners as the evening progresses. Pets quickly pick up on this. Might it be dementia? It must seem so to them.
Best to follow their example on New Year’s Day –munch a bowl of biscuits, lie down - and go sleepies till the mood passes.