Nine Health Benefits of Having a Cat

June is National Adopt a Cat Month. The month was so chosen because it coincides with the height of kitten season, when shelters need even more help than usual. When you adopt a cat, you help save a life, but did you know in return, that rescue cat can do some things to prolong your life? Here are just a few of the health benefits of bringing home that sweet shelter cat who reached their paw out to you.

Long-Term Pet Ownership is Good for Brain Health

Senior man petting his cat

Sometimes your cat may drive you a little crazy, but being in the presence of their shenanigans is actually good for your brain. American Academy of Neurology researchers have found that owning a dog, cat, or other pet leads to slower cognitive decline than the decline seen in those without a pet. The longer a person has been a pet owner, the better this benefit is!

Their Purrs Are Good for Our Health

Gray tabby cat resting on back on human's lap

There’s something really sweet about your cat happily sitting on your lap, purring up a storm. It’s not just cute, though. It may actually provide health benefits for you! It serves as a way to calm us and make us smile, but the frequency of the vibrations can make some interesting things happen, too. The frequency ranges from 20Hz to 150Hz, levels that have been linked with healing benefits to bones and soft tissue.

They May Keep You Alive Longer

Blue-eyed cat being pet on couch

Cats have nine lives, and they may also pass on this magical feature to their humans. Research has shown that having cats is linked with a lower likelihood of death from several heart-related ailments. A study of more than 4,400 people found that cat owners had a 30% lower risk of dying from heart attack than non-cat owners. There was also a lower risk of dying from all cardiovascular diseases, including stroke.

Want a Healthy Ticker? Adopt a Cat!

Tan cat sitting on lap

The heart benefits don’t just stop there, either. Multiple studies on the topic of pet owners and heart health have found that having a pet is linked with having a healthier ticker. This includes research that has shown pet owners have lower blood pressure, lower resting heart rates, smaller increases in heart rate and blood pressure when stressed, and a quicker recovery to their baseline numbers after stress.

Cats Are Good Therapy or Emotional Support Animals

Tabby kitten snuggling with little boy

Dogs may be more apt to serve as therapy animals, but cats are perfectly capable of it, too! Therapy cats have been known to cheer people up at hospitals, nursing homes, and rehabilitation facilities. There’s even a therapy cat at the Denver airport! They can also provide therapeutic impacts to their humans as emotional support animals, as they can form strong social bonds with people once trust is earned.

Who Needs a Stress Ball When You Have a Cat?

Tabby kitten sitting belly up

Does your cat have a calming impact on you? You’re definitely not alone. A survey by the American Psychiatric Association found that 69% of pet owners said their furry friend helped reduce stress and anxiety, while 66% said they also provided a calming presence. Cat owners were twice as apt to say this as dog owners, too. Another study found that petting a cat or a dog for 10 minutes was linked with lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol in university students.

They May Help with Loneliness

Black cat sits on senior woman's lap

Our feline friends certainly offer companionship, and some research has suggested this helps with loneliness. One study of seniors that lived alone found that pet owners were 36% less likely to report loneliness than non-pet owners. Another study also found that pets help older women recover from loneliness.

Their Presence May Help Lower Allergy Risk in Kids

Little boy lays on ground with gray cat

Pets are often associated with allergies, but could they also provide some protective benefits against them? Research has indicated that they can! A large study of children in Japan found that exposure to cats during fetal development or early infancy was linked with a lower incidence of egg, wheat, and soybean allergies.

They Could Save Your Life

Red tabby sitting with his person while she reads

In addition to all these heart, brain, and immune system benefits, cats could also save your life in a more immediate way. There have been stories of cats alerting their sleeping owners to fire, including one that pounced on her owner’s chest and slapped her with her paws to get her human to wake up as the house filled with smoke.

They’ve also served as 12-pound doctors, alerting their person to a health issue they weren’t aware of. That includes this cat that kept sniffing at her human’s breast and looking meaningfully at her. A self-check led to the discovery of a lump, which was later diagnosed as stage II breast cancer.

Furry friend, amateur health care provider, calmer of stress, easer of allergies… why not adopt one of these special animals today?

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