We’ve all heard that owning a pet is good for us. Health professionals and researchers have always told us pet ownership reduces stress and keeps us active. But what does pet ownership really do for us?
Here are 9 health benefits to owning a cat:
1: Reduce anxiety – Petting a cat is a calming act. When you are concerned about taking care of a pet it can take your mind off other worries. If your cat snuggles with you it reduces anxiety since your reaction is to hug or pet the cat as it falls asleep and purrs.
2: Improves your immune function – The feelings of happiness and calm can give your immune system a boost. Cats often can tell when you are ill and may sit with you, lay next to you, and give you some comfort. Also, owning a cat when you have baby helps reduce allergies and asthma in children. Being used to a cat at an early age triggers the immune system to get used to the dander and oils. This exposure also helps reduce problems in the respiratory system.
3: Improve your mood – Interacting with a cat can make you laugh, smile, or just feel at ease. Dogs also help with mood but cats don’t require the same level of interaction, behavior modification, and socialization so in some ways, having a cat can be “easier.” Plus cats do really odd things like sit in a paper bag, jump in and out of boxes, or ride around on Roombas.
4: Reduce stress – Owning a cat has many psychological benefits and one of those is helping to alleviate stress. Being able to relax and pet a cat or play with a cat and forget about the day to day things relaxes the mind and reduces passive stress.
5: Lower risk of heart attack – Reducing stress and anxiety helps us psychologically which also helps us physically. Your blood pressure is lower and your mood is better which in turn lowers the risk of a heart attack.
6: Helps reduce depression – When you’re depressed you may not want to socialize with your friends but having a cat in the house who will want to sit with you, and nudge you for pets, and purr when you pet him can alleviate the feelings of depression. It’s like forced therapy.
7: Help with autism – Having a cat can help those with autism communicate their feelings and thoughts. There are cases where a child with autism finds it easier to learn to interact and communicate with the help of a cat for them to spend time with and play with.
8: Reduces loneliness – Having a cat can help someone who experiences loneliness find a connection to another life. Just having a cat to come home to and spend time with can reduce feelings of isolation.
9: Helps Improve Health – By reducing stress, anxiety, depression, and loneliness your body will respond better to external elements and you may find yourself with lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol, and lower risk of cardiovascular disease because you will be more conscious to taking care of yourself and your furry friend. Living a more upbeat life an mean less trips to the doctor and less sickness.
Of course, eating right, exercising, and everything else we are told to do must come into play as well. You can’t eat bacon 3 times a day and think petting your cat negates the clogged arteries… mmmmm Bacon. Studies showed that dogs also benefit us mentally and physically but cats have a different energy and way of interacting with us.
If you’re not sure if you have the motivation to walk a dog in the snow, rain, and your schedule is not consistent, a cat may be a better choice. Plus cats don’t often scoot their butts on the floor and rarely, if ever, eat poo.