The AVMA estimates that about 30% of US households play host to our beloved feline friends, and for good reason! We love our kitty companions dearly, and they not only enrich our lives, but even improve our mental and physical health for a longer, happier and healthier life. The health benefits of cats are both physical and mental.
Mental Health Benefits of Cats’ Companionship
This may not be much of a surprise to us crazy cat ladies, but research has now proven that cat ownership improves our general outlook, and relieves stress, depression and anxiety.
The UK Mental Health Foundation contends that “purr therapy” improves mental well-being, and helps us cope with the stress and anxiety of everyday life. In fact, cat owners sometimes find that the companionship and comfort offered by cats can even be more effective than medication in overcoming mental roadblocks.
It has even been proven that spending time with pets increases levels of “happiness neurotransmitters” dopamine and serotonin, and that pet owners are less likely to suffer from depression and anxiety disorders. Spending quality time with our kitty cats is a no-brainer for the crazy cat ladies among us, but it seems that word about the mental health benefits of cats is getting out.
Cats Relieve Stress
Spending time with any kind of beloved pet is a definite mood booster, but stroking our feline companions has proven to be especially effective stress relief. Those soothing purrs melt away the stress and anxiety, leaving us relaxed and ready to face the challenges of everyday life.
Cats have been shown to lower blood pressure and pulse rate, leading to improved cardiovascular health. Studies have shown that cat owners are less likely to suffer from heart conditions or stroke. In fact, even spending 5 minutes with a pet can lower blood pressure, decrease pulse rate, decrease muscle tension and increase secretion of the relaxation hormone oxytocin.
Cats Improve Mental Clarity and Focus
The mental wellbeing and stress relief benefits of cat companionship have been shown to improve mental clarity and focus, improving workplace performance and enhancing personal relationships. Pet ownership even has a beneficial effect on developmental disorders in children such as ADHD and autism.
We think of “rescuing” our feline companions, but it turns out that they rescue us as much as we rescue them! Cats return the love we give them in dividends for a longer, happier and healthier life.
Now c’mon and get crazy with us! 🙂