A lot of introverts are hardcore animal lovers. Sometimes, we even love our animal friends more than people. Who can blame us?
Animals offer a kind of companionship that feeds an introvert’s gentle soul like nothing else. While people drain our energy by expecting constant conversation, animals replenish us by offering comfort beyond words.
As serious and stoic as we may seem on the outside, we introverts need love and affection, too. Often, our animal friends are just what the doctor ordered. After a long day filled with too much peopling, a cuddle from a furry cutie has us good as new again.
My strange animal best friend
This is a little embarrassing to admit, but growing up, my best friend was my pet rat.
Sure, I had human friends, too, but Mickey the rat was an endless source of joy and companionship for me. After all, we had so much in common.
We both loved to explore nature, munch on yummy food, and take naps. oh yeah, and we were both very quiet as well. Mickey the rat and I didn’t have very many deep conversations, and that’s what made our bond all the more strong.
Introverts need companions who allow us to feel safe in our silence. Animals do this naturally. – Tweet this
Overthinking and anxious? Animal friends cure all
Many of us innies have a tendency to overthink. We create thought knots that we spend the whole day trying to untangle. This gets very tiring, and can cause a lot of anxiety. The pure loving presence of an animal friend gets us out of our head and into a more peaceful state of mind.
Don’t just take my word for it.
Many research studies show that animals really do help reduce stress, anxiety, and even depression in humans. One study that I found especially interesting explored the impact of animal support during a stressful social situation. The study by Beetz et al. (2011) compared the effects of social support by a dog versus social support by a friendly human on children with insecure attachments.
Can you guess what they discovered?
The dogs trumped humans when it came to reducing cortisol (stress hormone) levels in the anxious children. I’m no scientist, but I have my theories on why this is.
Why animal friends soothe the introvert soul
One of the things that is so refreshing about our animal friends is that they are so easy to understand. Animals don’t lie. When a dog wags his tail, he’s happy. When a cat purrs, he’s pleased. When animal friends bark, or meow, or squeak, there’s usually a good reason for it.
You see, animals simply don’t do small talk.
Otis the dog will never ask you how your day was, or what you did on the weekend. But his eyes will light up when you walk in a room. And he will stay by your side through good times and bad. Should you ever feel like opening up, he’ll perk his ears in your direction, and listen intently without ever interrupting you.
The other reason animal friends soothe our introvert soul is that it’s so easy to make them happy. Food, affection, fresh air — that’s all they really want. People are much more complicated. They want us to talk when we don’t want to talk. Humans have expectations, you see.
Most people expect introverts to stretch and strain ourselves to the point of exhaustion. They want us to fill our social calendar, and be busy all the time.
Meanwhile, cats don’t care if we want to spend all day Saturday in our pyjamas. As long as we offer food, and the occasional belly rub, they won’t judge. The same goes for dogs, hamsters, and parakeets. Their expectations are blissfully low. This is such a relief in the demanding, extrovert biased world we live in.
As if all that weren’t already enough, there’s another often overlooked reason why animal friends are so comforting to introverts.
Introverts need this in our day
Most introverts love structure and routine. Having some predictability in our day helps to protect us from overwhelm. Animal friends create a healthy routine that gets us away from our worries and into nature. When we feed our pets their much-anticipated daily meals, we feed our soul at the same time.
One of my email subscribers, David, who has a standard schnauzer named Jasper, explains the the importance of routine:
“My day with Jasper always starts the same way. I sit on the floor, and he climbs on top of my legs. He lays belly up on me so that I rub his stomach. That routine, I find, is a main grounding factor to my day.”
David has also noticed that Jasper helps him to better navigate the challenges of daily life as an introvert. “Being an introvert, what I can say is Jasper recharges my energy. This helps me to go and meet with countless people. To endure the robust conversations required in my line of work.”
Adorable animal pics ahead
A while ago, I asked my subscribers to share pictures of their beloved animal friends. The cuteness avalanche that ensued was almost too much! Indeed, we are a community of introvert animal lovers here at Introvert Spring, and we want to share the love.
That’s why I’ve compiled a selection of the most adorable pics below. Before you get lost in the adorableness explosion, I’ll leave you with a sweet quote, which our longtime reader Matthias, ‘cat dad’ to a tabby named Rosi, has hanging on his door:
“You can go without many things, but not without literature and CATS.”
True words of wisdom! Enjoy the pics, innie friend. 😉
Do you have special animal friends?
I’d love to hear about it! Please do share your animal friends stories in the comments below.
P.S. While our animal friends are essential, human connection is just as important for introverts. Discover how to make meaningful friendships as an introvert with my free 50-page Introvert Connection Guide.
In a lack of a better term, this is an simply beautiful article Michaela! 🙂 My best friend when I was a kid was a small chicken called Bosa. It may sound silly, but that little chicken understood me better than anyone… She was my best friend, and come to think of it, the only one I had when I was a kid. Like the amazing Mickey the rat, Bosa was a true companion and a source of a great happiness for me. 🙂
Awww, cute story! Not many people can say that they had a chicken for an animal friend!
That’s so cute Marko☺️…little Bosa ?
Animals are amazing ?
This is so true. 5 years ago, after years of living in places that didn’t allow pets, I bought my first condo and went to the shelter in search of a dog. Once I arrived and filled out the questionnaire, I was told they wouldn’t give me a dog since I lived alone and worked a full time job. They suggested I get a cat instead. I walked through the big room of cats, who were all being cats and ignoring me. Just 1 kitten got up and started tapping the glass to get my attention. I put Pearl at the top of my list. They took me to a side room and brought her in. Pearl jumped out of the woman’s arms ran over to me and hopped up in my lap and sat down. I started petting her and she began to purr. I knew at that instant that I had found a companion that would bring me happiness on a daily basis. No matter how stressful my human day is, it helps to know that in a few hours I will go home and open the door and she will be there to greet me.
This totally relates to me! I have a cat called Smokey who is my best friend. We go exploring together and he makes me happy. Smokey is so understanding and he loves me too. I don’t know what I’d do without him.
Thanks for telling us about Smokey. He sounds like a great companion! 🙂
Good morning from Holland Michaela! And I still appreciate your lovely articles, especially this one. Being mostly ‘an outdoor’ man, travelling with my e-tricycle, I`ve nearly daily the opportuntiy to meet cats….Sometimes my pspspspspst will succeed to get him closer. Anyhow nearby- behind a Jewish graveyard- I feel so happy to see a lovely cat, sitting on a car in the sun. He always recognizes my voice and will trty to find me, for one eye is missing. But then he will roll for fun, allowing me to touch him. It makes my day very special! It`s a pity I cannot a cat here in our senior commune, for there will be some problems with neighbours and other cats from the neighbourhood…
Hi Gerard, glad to hear you have found an animal friend to love even if you can’t have one in your home! 🙂
my cat jane just turned 20 years old… i love her… she sleeps on my legs and talks to me
constantly.. she has been through everything with me and always makes me feel better..
she is a manx cat(no tail) and she is a clown.. makes me laugh at silly things she does..
i do pet photogaphy and equine photography so i’m always taking photos of her and
she loves to pose.. animals are so healing… i have had and worked with horses a lot and
all i have to do is pet their nose to feel better when something is bothering me..
thanks for the article.. i will always have a cat..
Thanks for sharing, Brenda. It must be so much fun to take pictures of animals! 🙂
My 3 Lurchers are my best friends! They are always pleased to see me and give me a lovely greeting, even if I’ve only left them for 5 mins and give meaning to my days with their unjudgmental devotion and humour. When I’m in need of comfort they sit near me (or on me) and are always up for a snuggle. I couldn’t bear to be without an animal friend. I speak to animals wherever I go and think they understand me much better than the majority of humans and vice versa! Great article Michaela! 🙂
Thanks for telling us about your animal family! 🙂
Wonderful article! My best friend as a child was my dog. Now my husband and I have three “furry children.” Being around a ton of people wears me down, but I have no problem being around a ton of animals. Animals bring so much unconditional love and help make the house a home!
Thanks for sharing Sherry! 🙂
Until last year, my daughter Clara and I had two rats, Lara (a bouncy extrovert) and Clara (a sweet introvert). I’d take them tucked into my coat to pick up my daughter from school, and it really helped her make friends because the kids loved them. Most of the adults felt quite the opposite, though – I wonder when that turning point is, when the kids’ delight will turn into fear. We were so, so sad when they died that even our airbnb guest had a cry because of all the emotion.
Now we have a cute but terribly rascally deaf tomcat who has just this hour done a big poo and pee in Clara’s toybox!!
Wonderful article and I love everyone’s stories. I can so relate. As a child, my first dog made life complete. And as an adult I had a cat for 18 years. We went on so many adventures in the backyard. His name was Freedom, and he made the house a real home with his antics and affection. His purr would bring me right back to earth. I never once felt lonely with him in my life. He was amazingly loyal and protective of me too!
Aw… Michaela, Rosi and I are feeling so honored!!! Thank you! ?? – I was lying in my bed reading this post on my smartphone… I read loud, while Rosi was cuddling with me. Normally Rosi uses to purr something in my ear, but this time she was completely silent because she was focused on this blog post-reading… haha… – Matthias
Thank you very much for the feature of Aramis, Michaela! <3
You’re welcome! Thanks for sharing his cuteness!
I love my puppy kisses first thing in the morning.
AWW YAY!!! I LOVED this Michaela; soo true and super cute!
That’s my baby girl page or photo number 5, “Hadey”. She’s almost 3 years old now, and there isn’t a moment we are apart…literally.
Sending every single person out there, LOVE LIGHT & HEALING
Yay, indeed! She’s so cute! Thanks for sharing the pics with us!
That’s my comment ^^^ (Elly)
I wasn’t logged in when I submitted ?
I love animals!! Who doesn’t? I sometimes think my ten year old boxer dog Bosco is my best friend. I pretty much love him more than anyone. And I know he loves me too 🙂
Interesting article! I’m a vet assistant and the pets in the clinic make my day complete! All my coworkers are introverts as well. On stressful, busy days, spending time caring/cuddling the dogs truly is therapeutic. I tend to have anxiety within the workplace and get too much into my head. I find that the dogs calm the anxiety as I can take the focus off of myself and enjoy the moment (adore the dog 😀 ). The animals also bind our relationships together and make small talk so much easier as they become the adorable focus (I find it really hard to talk about myself with others).
A little over a year ago, my 10 year old daughter received a longhorn calf through a calf donation raffle at a longhorn show and we had absolutely no idea what to do with him. But she was instantly enamored with him so he was coming home with us. Some friends of ours at the show offered to take him back to League City for us and even give him a temporary place to stay while we tried to find a place for him because we live in a little suburban neighborhood. They helped her learn how to take care of him and walk with him and now he’s her very best friend. It would almost be more accurate to say that she’s his girl. He recognizes her voice calling out his name and trots over to her. She’ll pet and love on him and scratch his neck, which he loves. It’s definitely a mutual friendship. Last week she got horned in the eye by another animal, and her steer, Lightening, horned the other animal back and then let her bury her head in his neck while she cried. He then nuzzled her face and licked her chin. Later he laid down and she laid down on his back, which is something only she is allowed to do. Sometimes she even takes naps with him. He always gives her a warning, though, when he’s about to get up so she doesn’t fall off. It’s been wonderful for her. Even though he can’t talk to her they have their own way of communicating. The first thing she wants to do when she leaves school is to go to the barn to be with him and he’s always waiting at the gate for her. He helps her relax and eases her pain, frustration, anxieties, and fears. She talks to him about anything and everything and he listens patiently, content with her presence. It’s a beautiful relationship, social in it’s own way, but friendship none the less.
Wow, thanks so much for sharing the sweet and unique relationship your daughter has with her animal friend! It warmed my heart! <3
As much as I have studied and read about myself in books, as a self proclaimed introvert, I never once connected my deep passionate love for animals (especially my pets) and my need for them together. I have always known the two existed apart from each other. It does explain so much. I grew up with a dog for 17 years, have had other animals come and go, and as an adult I am raising to kittens from birth who are now 9 years old and counting and they are such a huge part of my life. The routine, companionship, love, and loyalty they give truly does recharge me. I look forward to every silly repetitive moment and predictable act, every single day. I can’t even say how much I love them both and now I realize even more how much they mean to me and my health. I’ve told people all my years, life is better when you have a fur-baby in it.
Today, we stopped to help a family whose car had broken down. As my father was trying to see what he could do for them, my attention was on a stray cat nearby. After a few scratches on the head, the cat was rubbing against my leg. The family had a few small children and a baby that the mother was holding in the sun but I was more worried about the little cat being so close to the road. Anyway, we went on my our and I bought some catfood just in case. In our way back, the family was still there and so was the cat. It was happy to see me again with some treat. The children came over to watch the cat eat and I told them to be nice. I wish I had remembered to buy them something too.
This article is so true. Thanks for the clarification on how we need pets. I think we need them more than they need us. I just lost my cat not too long ago and adopted one from the animal shelter. She’s so sweet and I love coming home to her!
Beautiful message !!! I could not controll my emotions but cried while reading the article! My true brother and friend , a dog named Rex , lived with me for 13 years. He passed away 8 months ago , but remember him every hour of my life since he left me. Even though I have 2 more dogs , but the void he left in my heart is so overwhelming ! I visit his grave almost daily and talk to him about my problems just like we did when he was alive . Missed him so much !!! Thanks for the article !!! Continue the great work !!!
I had a duck who was my best friend as a small child. As I have lived longer, I’ve had dogs, cats, birds, fish etc. But I will always remember “Pete” the duck.
How I never knew about this site is a mystery, but this was a great article. I rescued two older dogs which I’ve had for years, but a friend of mine impulsively adopted a puppy which she couldn’t keep, so I took it. It was stressful, having such an unpredictable bundle of impulsive energy in my well established Fortress of Introversion. But over time she’s grown into my routine. She’s not as big as my older two, so she sleeps with me, and when my alarm goes off she’s immediately lies on my chest to get me going. And if I get caught up in something, she’s not shy about letting me know that we’re off schedule. She’s become a great introvert hall monitor.
I love all animals, but my dogs know our routine, keep me on track, and basically make introversion comfortable. Thanks Michaela!
I think that I’m introvert too. I love my dog very much and I don’t imagine my life without his. His name is Puszek and he’s a seven years old shih-tzu dog. Your post was interesting and photos of animals .. just perfect 🙂 Have a nice day!
Greetings from Poland
Just a quick note: the reason why dogs wag their tails and cats purr is NOT always happiness. Those of us who work with animals every day know there are many instances where this is not true. And unfortunately, people who believe the wagging dog tail myth will sometimes end up regretting it after they end up being bitten by the dog. This myth needs to stop being spread. Also, cats will purr when scared/anxious, not just happy. Thankfully, it is not nearly as often a precursor to a bite.
I loved reading this article. I felt validated and grounded after reading it. So many people, including my family, give me grief because, no, I don’t have friends and I am so happy coming home to my bestest buddy, Henry. Henry was abused as a puppy and I struggle to fully connect with him; I think because of his trauma and my introversion combined. Though I have tried many times and ways, he doesn’t know how to play with toys. He has anxiety that makes him afraid to go on walks and is scared of all men. I wish I knew how to connect with him better. We are so happy at home in our little routines, but often I think he is sad or lonely. Regardless, I do my absolute best for him and my life would be a mental health nightmare without him.