When it comes to managing stress and anxiety, the first remedy that comes to mind probably isn't the owner of a cat.
Believe it or not, there are many therapeutic benefits of cats that have a positive effect on both the body and mind.
Many studies have been conducted to prove the benefits of having a cat in the home, and there is strong evidence to suggest a real relationship between cat ownership and mental health.
Lower Blood Pressure.
Due to the profound effect cats have on the reduction of stress and anxiety, Keeping a cat's company can also significantly reduce blood pressure and the risk of stroke.
A recent study of 4500 adults, in which half were cat owners, found that owning a cat (or many cats) reduced the risk of stroke by more than a third, which is quite an amazing statistic.
Elevated levels of stress hormones in the blood are known to raise blood pressure, so reducing stress as a whole is an effective preventative against complications.
Patting Cats Is A Stress Relief.
There is something incredibly relaxing about having a cat sit on your lap, stroking away and listening to the vibration of their purr.
Meditation, yoga, mindfulness are the usuals stress calming techniques that people use when experiencing bouts of stress. However, spending some time with a fluffy cat and giving it a good pat can be equally as effective for calming the mind.
A friend in need is a friend indeed!
Often seen as solitary animals that dont take kindly to too much bother, cats are in fact incredibly social and affectionate animals.
Cats love to rub up against you, curl up for a cuddle and pop in just to say hello; so if you live alone or find that you are more of an introvert, then having a cat can be a great way to avoid feelings of loneliness.
Unfortunately, if you already suffer from allergies, then getting a cat is not going to make you magically allergy-free.
BUT... if you are expecting children, being exposed to cats at an early age (under 1 year) has been found to reduce the risk of developing general allergies.
High pet exposure has also been found to not only reduce animal allergies, but other common sniffles as well, including grass, dust mites, and ragweed.
Good For Catching Those Zzz's.
Reduced stress and anxiety are not only beneficial for the hours when you're awake, but also when you are asleep.
Having lower stress levels can significantly improve one's ability to fall asleep and maintain good quality sleep.
A cats purr has also been found to help sufferers of insomnia to drift off more easily.
Why is adequate sleep important?
Getting between 7-9 hours of high-quality sleep is important to get the most from your downtime.
During sleep, the body and mind can repair itself, replenish hormone levels, and reset for the next day ahead. The brain also uses sleep time to process information, form memories, and develop learned skills.
Without enough quality sleep, the entire health of the body will rapidly decline.
Pet ownership has many positive effects on heart health; while dog owners are usually more active, those with cats tend to be more relaxed and have less generalized stress.
One 10 year study found that cat owners are 30% less likely to die from heart attack or stroke – most likely due to their stress-reducing qualities.
Cats are seriously funny creatures by nature; if you've ever spent 5 minutes with one, you'll know exactly what I mean.
whether it's climbing the curtains, chasing an unlucky moth, or watching the tennis, cats are enchanting to watch an always bring on a good chuckle.
Regularly laughing is an excellent mood booster, and those who laugh regularly also tend to have a more positive outlook on life.
There is far more to cats than what meets the eye; and they can, in fact, be incredibly beneficial to our health.
Mainly due to their stress-reducing abilities, cats can:
- Lessen anxiety levels
- Lower blood pressure
- Reduce feelings of loneliness
- Make your heart healthier and reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke.
- Induce hysterical fits of laughter and hours of fascination.
- Help you to fall asleep and get good quality sleep.
- Reduce the risk of allergies in 0-1 year-olds.
Cats are amazing companion pets: warm, lovable and kind, definitely a contender for the title of man's best friend.
The therapeutic benefits are also a much a welcomed bonus, and with such strong scientific backing, they are hard to ignore!