How Cats Affect Your Health: Find Out What Science Has To Say

Now that you know!

People who don’t love animals (how dare they!) associate cats with fleas, fur, and kitty fumes! However, as any animal lover will tell you, cats are adorable little fluff balls that bring instant joy and cheer. It’s impossible to be sad or angry with a purring kitten curled up in your lap. But cats are not just good for your mental state, they are also great for your overall health. Researchers now have conclusive evidence supporting the health benefits of having a cat.

Boost Your Immune System

“Researchers theorize that by stroking a cat, your stress levels are lowered and this could be the reason for the immune-boosting effects of cats”

A review of 69 original studies on human-animal interactions showed definite links between animals and several health benefits for humans, including a better immune response. Researchers theorize that by stroking a cat, your stress levels are lowered and this could be the reason for the immune-boosting effects of cats. So instead of popping an Echinacea capsule to fight off a viral fever or the flu, perhaps all you need to do is play with a cat!

Lower Your Blood Pressure

“Researchers found that a pet cat (or dog) was more effective at controlling blood pressure than one of the most common blood pressure medications”

A test conducted by researchers at the University at Buffalo assessed the effect of animals on people with high blood pressure, who had stressful jobs. The findings of the study showed that a pet cat (or dog) was more effective at controlling blood pressure than one of the most common blood pressure medications. Now, this does not mean that you should substitute your BP medications for a cat but instead, playing with your neighbor’s cat for a few minutes at the end of a long and stressful workday may not be all that bad an idea.

Protect Your Heart

“University of Minnesota researchers found that people who did not own a cat were 30–40% more likely to die of cardiovascular disease as compared to cat owners”

Researchers at the University of Minnesota discovered a link between cat ownership and the risk of fatal cardiovascular diseases. They found that people who did not own a cat were 30–40% more likely to die of cardiovascular disease as compared to cat owners. Cat owners also have a lower risk of death from a sudden heart attack. Pet owners were even found to have a higher chance of survival after a heart attack. While the reasons for the cardio-protective benefits of felines is unknown, it is believed that pet owners are more likely to have lower levels of stress hormones such as adrenalin and norepinephrine which improves heart health.

Lower Your Cholesterol Levels

“A study found that owning a cat lowered plasma cholesterol and triglyceride levels even better than some medications”

Diet and exercise go a long way toward reducing cholesterol and triglyceride levels, but owning a cat helps too. A study found that owning a cat lowered plasma cholesterol and triglyceride levels even better than some medications. So, a cholesterol-lowering diet plan along with regular exercise and a cat may be just what you require to keep your cholesterol levels under control!

Reduce Stress And Relieve Depression

“Several studies show that having a cat reduces stress levels and relieves depression”

You step into your home and you are besieged by your tabby demanding your attention and affection — as any cat-owner will tell you, this is a moment of instant joy for both the owner and cat! Several studies show that having a cat reduces stress levels and relieves depression. When you have a cat, you will find it easier to make friends and converse with other animal lovers which is an effortless way to broaden your social circle. Having a cat also reduces feelings of loneliness as most pet owners talk to their cats or dogs — in fact, scientists recently discovered that dogs can understand human speech!

While it’s nice to have science prove the many health benefits of living with cats, we cat-lovers don’t really require it. We get to experience these benefits first-hand every night when we go to bed with a warm cat curled around our legs and we wake up to the tickling of a cat’s whiskers against our noses. Colette, (the author of Gigi) really knew what she was talking about when she said, “Time spent with a cat is never wasted.”

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