LAU’s Cats: Beneficial and Harmful for Students’ Health

LAU-Orme Grey. photo taken by Sally Farhat on March 10, 2017.

Cats play a major role in improving both students’ health and their psychological well-being through decreasing anxiety. Yet, they do also affect them negatively under certain conditions.

On students’ health level, cats play a major role in healing and preventing various illnesses.

According to a study released by Care2, cats’ purr creates vibrations within a range of 20–140 Hz and these vibrations are known to be medically healing to-and play a role in preventing many illnesses.

Being around cats, helps in boosting one’s immune system through improving immune functions. Thus, allowing the prevention or the disposal of various sicknesses.

As mentioned by Future Medica, cats know when a person is sick so they come and provide this person with the comfort he needs to get better through boosting his immune system.

student enjoying the cat’s company. photo taken by Sally Farhat on March 3, 2017.

Many other health benefits accompany being around cats or petting cats as mentioned by Furr times such as reducing blood pressure and heart rate.

LAU students enjoying cat’s company. Upper Gate. photo taken by Sally Farhat on March 10, 2017.

In addition to the medical benefits of being around cats, many psychological benefits also accompany this phenomenon.

Cats play a major role in improving students’ psychology through decreasing depression, anxiety and creating a positive mood.

According to Samira Istfan Dabbous, a psychology professor at the Lebanese American University, cats on campus are extremely beneficial for the psychological health of students.

“Animals reduce anxiety and stress because they release a chemical that actually works on reducing the stress,” said Dabbous.

Dabbous further mentions the benefit of campus cats in giving cat lovers the opportunity to be around them if their house does not allow owning one.

“my family totally refuses adopting or buying a cat,” said Rachid Hneineh, TV and film student at LAU. “Having cats in university is thus a way for me to make up for not having one at home.”

student (Jad Bou Assi) playing with the cat. photo taken by Sally Farhat on March 3, 2017.

Other than the stress reduction hormone that cats help humans to produce, they also trigger the release of a hormone called oxytocin that induces a feeling of trust and love.

According to Health Fitness Revolution, this feeling induced by oxytocin hormone, allows students who are facing problems that they prefer not talking about to people for various reasons such as fear of judgment, can resort to “talking” to the cats and thus feeling better.

LAU’s student (Hiba Chehab) enjoys stopping around to purr campus cats. photo taken by Sally Farhat on March 10, 2017.

Beyond all the benefits of having cats on campus, many students find the four-foot creatures slightly or majorly problematic.

On the medical level, although cats boost one’s immune system, cat feces does the opposite.

According to US News, people who contact cat feces (contact can occur through various ways such as stepping by mistake on it and later on touching your shoes while taking it off…) are prone to a disease called toxoplasmosis. This disease involves a mild flu at the beginning that might turn into a chronic one later on. The problem with this disease on a higher level is that it highly influences people with weak immune systems through affecting their mental health.

Furthermore, students with allergies might face problems with all these cats around them.

On the psychological level, cats around students with animal phobia result in increasing their anxiety according to Dabbous, PhD in psychology.

“They follow you everywhere to take your food,” said Riwan Eid, Design student at LAU who has a phobia from cats. “For me, they’re extremely annoying.”

student enjoying purring the cat. photo taken by Sally Farhat on March 3, 2017.

The new regulations issued by Raed Mohsen, Dean of Students, which includes forbidding cats from entering buildings, would probably be a solution for some of the problems associated with campus cats yet, without reducing its benefits.

On one hand, students who enjoy the company of cats will still have the opportunity to do so outside buildings. And on the other hand, students who have allergies or phobias will decrease their contact with cats with them being outside.


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