Animal instinct

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 14 November, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 14 November, 2010, 12:00am

Taking care of a pet can be beneficial to our state of mind, helping us to focus on issues other than the pressures of work. You may have heard that it is auspicious to own a pet that corresponds to the astrological animal of your year of birth. This is not necessarily the case, though, since the time, day and month must also be taken into consideration. You'll need a professional astrologer to identify which animal is best for you. Furthermore, it would be inconvenient, impossible or illegal to actually own some of the animals represented in the zodiac - when was the last time you saw someone walking down Nathan Road with a tiger or a dragon?

Fortunately, animals that do not feature in the astrological chart can figuratively and symbolically represent the animals that do and, thus, become appropriate pets. For instance, the rat is the first animal of the zodiac but keeping one as a pet can pose hygiene and public-health risks. Rats, coming in the peak of winter, symbolise the water element. Instead of a rat, though, it might be more appropriate for someone for whom water is auspicious to keep a guinea pig or hamster.

Next is the ox, which represents three of the five elements: earth, water and metal. Theoretically, it would be an ideal animal to keep for certain individuals but it's impractical to surround yourself with bovines - unless you live on a farm.