Anyone who owns a cat knows the loving bond that can form between owner and pet, but scientific research now shows just how powerful this bond can be. For thousands of years, humans have taken in and looked after unwell and disabled animals. However, it appears that the potential for healing can be reciprocated by our feline companions.
Effects on Mental Well-being
If you’re an animal lover, you are already aware that owning a cat will bring joy into your life. But have you ever stopped to wonder exactly why this is the case? Well firstly, there’s the benefit of companionship for pet owners. People who live alone can often go for long periods of time without interacting with other people. With everything available online and delivered directly to your door, there are fewer reasons to head outside. However, socialization is an essential human need which is important for psychological satisfaction.
Furthermore, simply having a cat will make human interaction easier. It gives other people more motivation to come and visit, plus it’s a great conversation starter and something to bond over.
There is also the calming effect cats can have. After a stressful day at work, a few minutes stroking your cat will lower stress levels and anxiety. This is because this kind of interaction releases oxytocin, building feelings of trust and love. Cats are also low maintenance, which translates to largely stress-free pet ownership.
Positive Physical Effects
Believe it or not, there are measurable physical changes that come with owning a cat! For instance, by bringing in fur and pet-related germs, cats help to build the owner’s immune system. This ultimately makes it easier to fight off diseases and infections that may arise.
Those who own cats have been shown to have lower cholesterol levels, as well as lower blood pressure. This correlation suggests that owning a cat is having a physical effect on the health of your body. As a result, the chances of dying from a stroke, heart attack, or liver and kidney disease may be significantly decreased, should you choose to adopt a cat. Lower cholesterol levels also help prevent the emergence of type 2 diabetes.
One study has suggested that people who own cats are up to 40% less likely to die of a heart attack than those who do not.
Is Cat Ownership for You?
If you’ve ever been on the fence about whether it’s worth your time to get a cat, there is now plenty of scientific research to help make the decision. Cats help to lower poor mental health arising from loneliness, anxiety and stress, whilst also improving physical well-being.
If you are thinking of finding a cat to love, please consider adopting one from a local shelter or rescue. If you are considering adopting a disabled cat, here are some things to keep in mind.