By Elaina Kabatchnick, DVM, DACVIM (Small Animal Internal Medicine)
The health benefits of being a cat owner can’t be denied any longer! The Center for Disease Control (CDC), National Institute of Health (NIH), and the Human-Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI), just to name a few, each have numerous studies and articles recognizing the health benefits of having feline companionship. So, what exactly makes cats so beneficial to our health? Here are 5 reasons:
Everybody says that money can’t buy love and happiness, but I bought mine for $50 and $75 in the form of two rescue cats! Since then, they have been my best friends. There is not a day goes by that they aren’t the first to say good morning, greet me at the door in the evening, and say goodnight. If you invite cats into your home and life, you will be amazed about how sweet, loving, and caring they are. They will undoubtedly fill your heart and make your life brighter!
If you need a laugh, you need a cat! And the laughs become exponential with multiple cats. They are true characters and I can almost swear they know when they have an attentive audience. Cat “zoomies,” getting stuck in precarious situations (in the box spring, on top of the door), finding pure joy in the form of boxes, playing fetch with a catnip-filled banana toy, doing mid-air ninja flips, and sabotaging any efforts to make the bed are just a few of the reasons you may find yourself belly laughing with, or at, your cat.
Sure, we know that cats can lower your blood pressure and cholesterol, but research regarding the health benefits of pets is currently booming and the list is overwhelming. So far, cats may be helpful in patients with allergies, asthma, Alzheimer’s, dementia, obesity, Autism, cardiovascular disease, auto-immune disease, and even cancer. As research continues to unfold, I have no doubt that the benefits will become almost endless.
From run of the mill stress to severe mental illnesses such as anxiety, depression, and PTSD, cats can help soften the impact of mental illness on individuals and their families. Having a cat will help implement and maintain a routine, which can play a big role in being able to get out of bed and face the day. Cats can also help to elevate mood, improve outlook, and limit the number and severity of mental illness flare-ups.
I am convinced that only some lucky individuals can experience the phenomenon known as cute aggression. If you are one of the lucky ones, you already know what I am talking about. You see something so cute that your blood boils, your hands and jaw clench, and you feel, well, aggressive! It’s certainly a strange spectacle, but some have theorized that cute aggression results when your body can’t quite handle the extreme endorphin rush brought on that it boils over into aggression. Just be sure to get your cute aggression in check before taking it out on those cuties! I find that when tolerated kisses and cheek pinching work best. Either way, the surge of love will feel great for both cat and human!
The moral of the story is that when you are ready for a four-legged companion, you can’t go wrong and can only go right with a cat or two!