When it comes to animal companionship, there are many authenticated health benefits, ranging from physical to emotional and mental advantages. However, when you think of a pet that will keep the doctor away, chances are, you may not be thinking of cats. From preventing cardiovascular disease and strokes to strengthening social skills, a feline companion may just lengthen and improve your life.
1. Cats Reduce the Risk of Cardiovascular Disease
Research from the CDC and the National Institute of Health has demonstrated the various long-term advantages of living with a cat include heart health. The research illustrated that cat owners showed significantly decreased triglyceride levels, cholesterol and blood pressure.
In fact, cat-owners were 40% less likely to die of a heart attack.
For patients who already live with cardiovascular disease, CDC and NIH research indicates that cat-owning patients tended to show significantly faster recovery rates.
2. Cats Decrease Stress, Ease Pain and Fight Depression
Having a cat in your life is a great way to turn around a bad day. On top of offering love (yes, this isn’t’ exclusive to dogs), cats can also imbue a sense of companionship and purpose, which has been shown to curb depression. In addition to giving purpose, and love, Cats also boost overall mood and are documented to bring out feelings of joy and happiness. This is apparent in focus groups of the sick and elderly, who have participated in cat-centric Animal-assisted Therapy (AAT).
Just a few minutes with your cat (or any pet) can help dissolve anxiety and stress. This is because your body actually goes through measurable chemical shifts that can cause a 180-degree shift. Specifically, your cortisol level, a stress hormone, is lowered. To counter this, your body’s production of serotonin, a chemical linked with happiness, is increased. It is well known that therapists commonly suggest pets as methods of dealing with and recovering from depression.
3. Owning a Cat means You Are Less Likely to Suffer a Stroke
Researchers still do not exactly know why, but cat owners are documented to suffer fewer strokes than non-cat owners. While this is partly due to the documented effect of pet ownership can have on a person’s circulation, researchers speculate that cats somehow instigate a more calming response from their owners over other animals.
4. Cats Prevent Children from Developing Respiratory Conditions
While it may seem counter-intuitive, seeing as pet allergies rank as one of the most common triggers of asthma and allergies; research shows that children who grow up with a cat are in fact much less likely to develop respiratory conditions. Researchers have discovered was that children were significantly less likely to develop asthma, as they got older.
5. Cats Provide Therapy for Children On the Autism Spectrum
Children on the autism spectrum can also greatly benefit from working with and keeping a cat as a pet. The use of cats in therapy for autistic children has demonstrated tremendous breakthroughs in terms of socialization, communication and teaching responsibility.
What CAN’T cats do?
Sources: The CDC, Pet MD, Huffington Post, Future Medica