8 Scientific Ways Cats can Improve Your Wellbeing

Yerlin Matu

Image: Yerlin Matu (Unsplash)

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. 

  1. 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. 

Kristin Lopez

Image: Kristin Lopez (Unsplash)

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. 

Chris Abney

Image: Chris Abney (Unsplash) 

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. 

 

Aideen is a fashion, beauty and lifestyle writer, from Northern Ireland. She grew up with a sassy tabby cat, named Lucky, who proved unlucky by nature, creating mischief wherever her paws took her. She currently has a British Shorthair cat called Indy, who has a penchant for the finer things in life. She loves combining her passion for writing, fashion and cats, spending her days blogging with Indy by her side.

1 Comment

  • Reply June 10, 2018

    Jenelle C. Prins

    I suffer from chronic pain after being in a plane crash. My pain management doctor actually, and literally, wrote me a prescription for a cat. While all animals help a person deal with chronic illness one way or another, cats in particular help with dealing with chronic pain and with coping with depression in two ways: (1) the rhythmic stroking of a cat releases endorphins and raises serotonin levels and (2) a cats purr reduces the stress and anxiety that chronic pain causes thereby decreasing the severity of the pain and making it easier to cope. Dogs helped, especially with depression, primarily because owners of dogs tend to get in more exercise due to the need to walk the dog and walking the dog also tended to help with socialization and avoiding isolation. So, just add walking the cat to your training regimen and a cat will be the perfect service animal for those with chronic illnesses and chronic pain.

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