They’re fluffy, independent, and affectionate, what’s there not to love? Owning a cat or kitten can provide lots of benefits for your health that you might not even know about! Here are the Top 10 from Health Fitness Revolution and author of the book ReSYNC Your Life, Samir Becic:
- Reduces stress and anxiety: Owning a cat can be soothing and release calming chemicals in the body that decrease stress and anxiety levels. A short and sweet petting session is often enough to relax owners and reduce stress and anxiety.
- Decreases risk of stroke: Studies show that cat owners are less likely to be at risk for having a stroke than any other pet owner. Scientists speculate this is also because of a cat’s lower-maintenance ownership.
- Therapeutic benefits: Having a cat can release oxytocin in your body, the hormone known for inducing feelings of love and trust. People going through difficult times of grief or mourning report that talking to their pet helps work out their feelings since it is easier to talk to an animal than another human sometimes. In addition, a study found that children with autism were more likely to be less anxious and calm while petting a cat.
- Boosts immunity: Exposure to pet dander and fur in the house results in increased resistance to allergens, decreasing the risk for allergies and asthma.
- Lowers blood pressure: Cat owners are known to have lower blood pressure than non-cat owners due to the calming presence cats provide. One study was conducted with a room full of cat owners where the owners would speak aloud, which naturally elevated blood pressure levels. But when the owners were observed speaking with their cats, their blood pressure remained constant.
- Decreases risk of heart disease and heart attacks: A study conducted by the University of Minnesota’s Stroke Institute in Minneapolis has shown that those who do not own cats are 30-40% more likely to die of heart attacks than their cat-owning counterparts.
- Lowers triglycerides and cholesterol levels: High triglyceride and cholesterol levels contribute to heart disease and are symptomatic of type 2 diabetes as well as strokes, liver and kidney disease. Naturally, reductions in these levels lead to a decreased risk in these diseases.
- Increase sociability: Cat ownership provides a natural conversation starter and can enhance the owner’s ability to socialize. One study revealed that women were more attracted to men who owned cats because cat ownership often suggests sensitivity and intelligence.
- Provide companionship: Owning a cat reduces feelings of loneliness. Though cats might be known for their independence, the bond between a cat and its owner reinforces companionship. A Swiss study conducted in 2003 revealed that owning a cat is similar to having a romantic partner.
- Reduces your carbon footprint: A 2009 study found that over its lifetime, the resources needed to feed a dog make the same eco-footprint as that of a Hummer. Meanwhile, cats are more likely to eat fish than corn or beef flavored products, therefore only have the approximate carbon footprint of a Volkswagen Golf.
If you have a cat or plan on getting your own friendly companion, here are a few items you might want to take a look at on Amazon. Just click on the images below to see more.
Not a cat person? Check out our top 10 health benefits of owning a dog here!