It’s International Hug Your Cat Day, and after learning just some of the amazing ways that cats improve our physical and mental health, we’re definitely hugging our kitties a little closer today. From reducing stress to strengthening your bones (yes, really!), here’s just a few of the reasons why owning a cat is actually good for your health.
IMPROVES YOUR MOOD
If you’re already a cat owner, no doubt you quickly realised the amazing effect he or she has on your mood. Whether it’s being greeted with a purr first thing in the morning, or the daily rubbing around your ankles when you arrive home in the evening, the positive impact of their presence is undeniable. But what’s more than this, is that research has shown that cat companionship can help alleviate feelings of loneliness. Cats Protection revealed that out of 600 people surveyed, 86% of people who owned a cat felt it had a positive impact on their wellbeing, while 76% believed that pet ownership made coping with life easier. We definitely have a lot to thank our feline friends for.
2. REDUCES STRESS
One of the key characteristics of cats is their purring, which is more than just a merry sound. A cat’s purr fluctuates between 20-140 Hz, a frequency range which has been proven to be medically therapeutic and stress reducing. So the next time you’re feeling stressed, having your cat gently purring by your side could just be what the doctor ordered.
3. STRENGTHENS HEARTS
A study carried out at Minnesota’s Stroke Institute in Minneapolis revealed that over a 10-year period, cat owners were 30 percent less likely to die of a heart attack or stroke than non-cat owners. Petting a cat is so good for our health that it actually reduces blood pressure. These are statistics we can definitely get on-board with.
4. CATS INCREASE CHILDREN’S CURIOSITY
It turns out that cats’ curiosity transfers onto others, and in particular, children. Owning a cat has been shown to ignite children’s interest in nature and the world around them. Plus, studies have revealed that cats are very much a part of the family and some children even feel closer to their cats than their siblings.
5. FEWER ALLERGIES IN CHILDREN
Speaking of children, the National Institutes of Health found that children under the age of one year who who were exposed to a cat, were less likely to develop allergies. And this includes more than just pet allergies. The study reported that high pet exposure early in life appears to protect against other common allergies such as dust mites, ragweed and grass.
6. STRONGER BONES
This one is all down to a cat’s purr too! Scientific American revealed that the frequency of a cat’s purr can actually – while slowly – heal bone fractures and improve bone density. There’s real power in those purrs.
7. HELP YOU COPE DURING DIFFICULT TIMES
Dealing with grief is never easy but owning a cat is one of the best ways to cope. Cats have been shown to help reduce symptoms associated with grief such as crying. They also serve as social support, with many owners often choosing to talk to their pets rather than humans about their feelings.
8. HELPS WITH BREATHING
Dyspnea – difficulty breathing – is another condition which cats’ purrs can help with. Their gentle purr mimics a slow, calm inhale and exhale, giving you a verbal example of how to breathe, stay calm and practice mindfulness without even realising it.
And so you have it – cats are real heroes when it comes to health. Do you feel that your kitty has a positive impact on your physical or mental wellbeing? Tell us in the comments below.