Ian Somerhalder and Nikki Reed definitely have their hands full raising 1-year-old daughter Bodhi and nine fur babies, but the couple wouldn't have it any other way, he told PopCulture.com exclusively.
"I mean listen, it's definitely a choice but it was also [Reed] and I fusing our lives together, and then with our existing animals we gained more together," he said of their animal-filled lifestyle. "But it's in the most enriching and amazing way. I can't imagine living my life any other way."
The Twilight actress and Vampire Diaries actor are both noted animal activists and environmentalists working through the Ian Somerhalder Foundation to positively impact the planet.
So when they welcomed daughter Bodhi in July 2017, they consciously made sure to surround her with the natural energy of her animal brothers and sisters, Somerhalder told PopCulture.com.
"[Being around animals] forms who you become, because it does one thing that gives you something that you can't be taught — compassion," he explained. "Having compassion for something cannot be taught, but you can be shown to have compassion. And one of the three things that really can heal the world on a much larger, more cerebral level, is compassion, gratitude, and reverence. And you learn these things, you are shown these things, by having animals in your life from very, very, very early on. I firmly believe that. I've seen it with myself. I've seen it with my daughter. I see it with everyone in my family, including my wife."
It's more of this understanding and compassion that the world needs right now, he said, and watching his daughter interact with nature is the most "profoundly amazing" reminder to remain in the present.
"Also to watch them all interact, the home is enriched in such a profound way by virtue of this environment," he added.
The V-Wars actor wanted to remind his fellow animal lovers, on behalf of Royal Canin's Take your Cat to the Vet Day on Aug. 22, how important it is to make sure every animal in your house has adequate vet care.
"These kitties, these kids, just like us, they need a yearly check-up. Every single year." he said. "At least once, if not twice. Because it's all about preventative health care. Preventative measures."
He continued, "Because, here's the thing. I think a lot of reasons that maybe cats don't see the vet as much, is that it can kind of sometimes be difficult for both the cat and the owner, the parents. But also too, a lot of people that have indoor kitties, they think that they're not susceptible to illnesses and diseases. But, the reality of it is they're actually, those little kiddos, is that they're masters of disguise. They can often hide or they can mask illness very, very well and so it's quite deceiving."
He recommended planning a check-up for your feline family members around the same time as you schedule your own every year.
The American Association of Feline Practitioners also has a number of tips Royal Canin recommended to make visits to the veterinarian more stress-free:
- Understand your cat’s behavior. The veterinarian’s office is unfamiliar and has sights, sounds and smells that can cause your cat to feel anxious or fearful.
- Cover their carrier with a towel to help block the sight of other animals and dampen the unfamiliar sounds. Respect your cat’s need for time to acclimate to the new environment.
- Help your cat become comfortable with the carrier. Place the carrier in a room at home where your cat spends most of their time and equip it with familiar soft bedding as well as special toys.
- Get the best carrier for your cat. Secure, stable, hard-sided carriers that open from the top and the front, and can also be taken apart in the middle, are best for your cat.
- Take your cat to a Cat Friendly Practice®. These veterinary practices have made specific changes to decrease the stress and provide a more calming environment for you and your cat.
- Keep peace in a multi-cat household. Leave the returning cat in the carrier for a few minutes to see how all of your cats react to unfamiliar smells, and separate if there are signs of tension.
For more information and to locate a veterinarian near you visit Royal Canin's website.
Photo credit: Gabriel Olsen/Getty Images, Michael Simon, Instagram/Ian Somerhalder