Cats can actually be great companions for us humans, and they provide cuddles and snuggles on the regular (yes, they really do – even the more introverted kitties). There are actually four benefits to cat ownership that have been proven by scientific studies.
1. Cat ownership can reduce one’s risk of having a heart attack.Read More »
This study followed four thousand Americans who are cat owners. At the end of the study, it was shown that cat owners had a thirty percent lowered chance of dying as the result of a heart attack.
So, how can a cat help prevent heart attacks? For every thirty minute period spent with one’s cat, that’s thirty minutes that calming chemicals in the brain are released into the body – lowering one’s heart rate and blood pressure. Furthermore, sitting with one’s cat also proved to lower stress levels.
According to Dr. Adnan Qureshi, one of the authors of the study, “For years, we have known that psychological stress and anxiety are related to cardiovascular events, particularly heart attacks.” While Dr. Qureshi acknowledged that dogs also likely have an effect on the release of the same chemicals in the brain, not enough dog owners were represented in the study to determine whether or not this was true.
Your cat need not be a “lap cat” in order to provide this release of good, relaxing chemicals into the body. If your cat only seems to physically interact with you when you come home from work or at bed time, that is sufficient time to get those pleasurable, stress-relieving chemicals going.
2. Cat owners are less likely than non-pet parents to suffer from depression.
Now, it should be said that dog owners have the greatest potential for not suffering from depression, but cat owners also get great benefits from having a cat as a companion.
Research shows that cat owners are not only less likely to suffer from depression, but they are also less likely to have issues with high blood pressure as well as high cholesterol numbers, including high triglycerides. Owners of cats were less likely to go to the doctor on average, when compared with people who did not have a pet.
Cats give their owners the opportunity to interact on multiple levels. Some cats will wake their owners – quite early in the morning – for breakfast. This gives the pet parent a reason to get out of bed – even if we don’t really want to at the moment. Pet parents often laugh at the antics of their cat – even the less social kitties. Cats often get “the zoomies,” which are hilarious to observe. Some cats will attend their pet parents while said humans are taking a shower or doing everyday chores around the house. Cats are typically curious and highly intelligent, and sometimes simply observing their behavior provides stress relief – simply because we pet parents aren’t thinking about our stressors when we are watching our kitties at play.
3. The purrs and vocalizations of one’s cat can promote healing and bone density.
Now, here is one specific characteristic of felines that studies found to be therapeutic – their purrs. An article published in the Scientific American magazine shows that cats purr consistently between 25 and 150 Hertz. While researchers aren’t quite sure of the correlation, this consistent and peaceful noise can promote healing as well as improve the density of bones.
This is especially important for older women. As women age, our bone density can weaken. Having a kitty that interacts with you, particularly by purring and other vocalizations, can help to strengthen our bones – literally.
If you’ve ever had a minor injury and you spent time on the couch with your kitty, you can relate. Healing may likely be promoted as your cat simply hangs out with you. Again, cats can help to fight depression or anxiety that may come along with recovering from an injury or a surgical procedure. In some cases, simply spending time with your cat can accelerate the healing process as well.
4. Cats provide unique methods of improving one’s health.
According to WebMD, having a pet can benefit Alzheimer’s patients. They were less likely to experience tantrums if they had a pet in the home. Those with chronic conditions such as AIDS were less likely to be depressed if they had a dog or a cat in the home.
Those who have already experienced a heart attack were less likely to have a repeat event if they had a pet, and people with high blood pressure were more likely to find a healthier way of dealing with stressful events if they had a pet.
Adopting a cat has also shown to be a great benefit for children as well. Having a cat teaches children responsibility, and it also helps children to feel accomplished when properly caring for their pet. Owning a cat may be more beneficial to children as they don’t require the same level of care as a puppy.
So, if you are considering getting a pet to provide some companionship, consider bringing home a furry feline. Not only do cats provide great company, they also offer health benefits to owners.
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