The definition of family has evolved since the International Day of Families was established by the UN in 1993. Family may have a different meaning to each individual but it is still recognised as the basic units of society, and this is surely something to be celebrated. Part of National Family Week, the International Day of Families falls Wednesday May 19 this year with 2019 focusing on the theme ‘Families and Climate Action’.

They say you can’t choose your family but when you make the rewarding decision to add a pet to your life, you are doing just that… Although, they do often have a way of choosing us!

More than 85% of pet purrents consider their fur babies to be family members.

Pets turn your house into a home. After a long gruelling day of work, there is nothing better than to be greeted by an excited (/hungry) fur ball. Sure, a partner’s greeting is nice too but they obviously need to wait while the cat gets pats! Anyone who has lost a pet knows how empty a home feels afterwards, and the emotional devastation that follows. Often pets are more family to us, than some family… and sometimes we secretly even prefer their company to humans!

Especially as we grow older often more time is spent with pets than extended loved ones. Nowadays it is not uncommon for young couples to put off having kids, choosing to adopt a ‘fur baby’ instead.

According to an American survey, if stranded on a desert island with only one companion, 57% would choose their pet – over a husband or wife!

Our lives and schedules tend to centre around caring for our children and pets, and in return our fur friends offer companionship and unconditional love. They say dogs are a (hu)man’s best friend, but whichever your furry, furless, feathery or scaly pal of choice is, the unique bond we form can be hard to match. Children raised in homes with pets can benefit hugely, with animals providing comfort and support at times where they may not get it from their peers.

So what does family mean to you? Whatever your family of choice is… Human, animal, your 200 cats (hey we don’t judge!), take some time out this May 19 to cherish and appreciate the importance of your own unique set of loved ones.

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