As the New Year begins, many people pledge to improve their lifestyle and get healthier. But did you know that there are many ways in which owning a cat can benefit your health?
There are numerous studies that provide evidence of the health benefits that pet ownership can bring. Some of the most significant benefits include:
A clear benefit of owning pet is that it can counteract loneliness. Although dogs are, understandably, given the title ‘man’s best friend’, cats can be just as good at being a companion, especially to women. (An Austrian study conducted in 2003 found that having a cat in the house is the emotional equivalent of having a romantic partner).
Cats regularly initiate contact and interaction with people, and they remember kindness shown to them and return this favour. They are pretty smart animals too. They’ve been around us for so long, that they have learned to mimic the sound that a baby makes when it cries for attention. This is a half purr, half growling noise. We are programmed to respond to this noise, so we can’t ignore a cat that demands attention from us.
Reduced risk of a stroke or heart attack
The purr of a cat can help their owner’s body and their own at the same time. Purrs cut down on the effects of dyspnea, which is difficulty breathing, in both humans and cats Studies have shown that people who own a cat are up to 40% less likely to have heart attack or stroke.
A study by the University of Minnesota looked at 4,435 adults aged between 30 and 75, half of whom owned a cat. Even when other risk factors such as high cholesterol, smoking and diabetes were taken into account, the cat-owners were still significantly less likely to develop a stroke or heart problem during the 10-year study period. This is because cat ownership relieves stress and anxiety, which in turn reduces stroke risk and heart problems.
Owning a cat can have positive effects on your mood. Our feline friends provide comfort just by their presence and their affectionate interaction. Women especially have reported feeling less lonely in their presence
Better Health for Older People
Beyond feeling less lonely, statistics show that for older adults, the simple presence of a pet can reduce their number of trips to the doctor by up to 15%. The advantages of this benefit are twofold; one being the improvement in the health and wellbeing of the older person, and the other being the positive financial impact on the public health system, which is beneficial on a wider social scale!
If you could improve your health by adopting a cat, take a look at these beauties that are waiting for a human.