Give Your Cat a Hug Today!
If you love all things feline, your holiday has arrived! June 4th is National Hug Your Cat Day, created in recognition of our lovable, purring pets. While not all cats are necessarily partial to being picked up and given a squeeze, most do love receiving affection from their owners through cuddling and petting.
Don’t let the cat naysayers get you down, either. It’s a different experience having a cat than a dog, but there are just as many advantages. You may not get the opportunities to exercise (unless your cat is the rare breed who will submit to walking on a leash), but there are a multitude of health benefits conferred by cat ownership as well.
Read on for six reasons why your feline companion is great for you.
Cats are Good for Your Heart
Having a sweet kitty can certainly fill your heart with love, but they also contribute actual benefits to your cardiovascular health. The act of simply sitting with your cat and petting it can be relaxing. Perhaps that’s why a 2009 study at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis found that cat owners have a 30 percent lower risk of dying from a heart attack or stroke compared to those who don’t own a cat.1
Cats are Great Company
If you live alone, a cat may be the ideal roommate. Aside from the fact that they won’t eat your last banana without asking your permission or leave dirty dishes in the sink, cats can be quite affectionate. As most cat owners are well aware, they will often initiate contact by rubbing against your leg or jumping onto your lap. And a 2017 study at Oregon State University in Corvallis showed that cats love their humans and even prefer social interaction to food.2
Cat Ownership Might Improve Your Love Life
Men, listen up. If you are single and ready to mingle, your cat may be of some assistance. While it may seem obvious that a dog can help you get out and meet some potential dates on walks and visits to the park, a cat apparently sends women the message that you’re the right kind of guy. According to a 2004 survey conducted through the Cats Protection League in the United Kingdom, 90 percent of available ladies rated men with cats as nicer than other men.3 And chances are, if she feels that way, she’ll be happy to get to know both you and your furry friend better.
Cats Help Your Kids
Children who grow up with a cat at home often learn empathy at a young age. Giving your child some daily care tasks for the cat (as simple as refreshing the water bowl and brushing the kitty) teaches them about helping out and gives them a sense of responsibility. Plus, infants living with a cat before they were a year old were shown in 2011 study at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, Michigan to have half the risk of developing a pet allergy compared to kids who didn’t live with a cat until they were older.4
Cats Can Lower Your Blood Pressure
It’s really difficult to stay angry or upset when you have a purring ball of fur in your lap. As we’ve already mentioned, petting your cat has a calming effect, but research has also found that it can produce positive physiological effects on your body. A 1999 study at the State University of New York at Buffalo demonstrated that petting a cat helped control blood pressure levels in stressful situations better than the pharmaceutical medication did.5
Cats are Therapeutic
After a traumatic incident or the loss of a loved one, your cat can help you recover. Sometimes we just need to talk and get all of our emotions flowing, with no response necessary. If you don’t want to turn to a friend, family member, or therapist, your cat can act as impartial listener and will never judge you or say something that makes you feel worse.
All in all, there’s a reason that, at long last, more cats are pets in the US (73 million) than dogs (68 million).6 And finally, lest it look like we’re taking sides in the dog VS cat wars, we should probably balance things out a bit by mentioning that studies have shown that a dog’s love for its owner is real.
- 1. Qureshi, Adnan; et al. "Cat Ownership and the Risk of Fatal Cardiovascular Diseases. Results From the Second National Health and Nutrition Examination Study Mortality Follow-Up Study." Journal of Vascular and Interventional Neurology. January 2009. Accessed 16 May 2017. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3317329/.
- 2. Vitale Shreve, Kristyn R.; et al. "Social interaction, food, scent, or toys? A formal assessment of domestic pet and shelter cat (Felis silvestris catus) preferences." Behavioral Processes. 24 March 2017. Accessed 17 May 2017. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0376635716303424.
- 3. McNicholas, June. "It's Official! Purring Puss Cats Enhance Men's Pulling Power, and Bring Out Their Caring Fe-line Side!" PR Newswire. 10 September 2004. Accessed 17 May 2017. http://www.prnewswire.co.uk/news-releases/its-official-purring-puss-cats-enhance-mens-pulling-power-and-bring-out-their-caring-fe-line-side-155571645.html.
- 4. Wegienka, G.; et al. "Lifetime dog and cat exposure and dog- and cat-specific sensitization at age 18 years." Clinical & Experimental Allergy. 14 June 2011. Accessed 18 May 2017. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1365-2222.2011.03747.x/full.
- 5. Baker, Lois. "Pet Dog or Cat Controls Blood Pressure Better Than ACE Inhibitor, UB Study of Stockbrokers Finds." University at Buffalo. 7 November 1999. Accessed 18 May 2017. http://www.buffalo.edu/news/releases/1999/11/4489.html.
- 6. VPL. (The Truth About Cats And Dogs." The Spruce. 4/4/17. (Accessed 18 May 2017.) https://www.thespruce.com/the-truth-about-cats-and-dogs-3384208