For centuries cats have been not only beloved companions, but also a symbol of good luck. While superstition may not be a legitimate way to determine if cats truly bring good luck, the extensive list of health benefits to their owners is certainly something worth considering. Here are some of the most scientifically proven health benefits of owning a cat.
Improved Stress and Anxiety Levels
Having a pet, particularly a cat, can help reduce your overall stress and anxiety levels. Research has concluded that petting a cat can increase levels of oxytocin, a “happy hormone” responsible for feelings of contentment and relaxation, as well as decreasing levels of cortisol, a hormone associated with stress. The calming effect of being around cats can even help those suffering from mental health issues such as anxiety and depression.
Lower Blood Pressure
If you have high blood pressure, then a pet cat may just be the answer. Studies have shown that spending 10 minutes cuddling or playing with a pet cat can lower a person’s blood pressure significantly. This calming effect, combined with the decreased stress and anxiety, is an important factor when it comes to helping people maintain healthy blood pressure levels.
Reduced Risk of Cardiovascular Disease
The calming effects of petting a cat don’t stop at just lower blood pressure. Studies have found that cat owners are 30% less likely to suffer from a stroke or heart attack. This could be due to reduced anxiety, increased physical activity (caring for your cat provides some gentle exercise) and the possibly comforting experience of being close to a beloved pet.
Improved Social Interactions
Having a pet can help encourage social interactions with other people. With many owning cats, it’s no surprise that they often become a central figure in conversations. For those who struggle with shyness or social anxiety, their pet cat can provide a conversational starting point. In addition, pet cats can help break the ice when meeting someone for the first time as cats tend to draw people in with their charming personality.
Enhanced Cognitive Function
Cats aren’t just a source of physical health benefits, but they can also offer mental and cognitive advantages as well. Psychological studies have found that the bond we form with pet cats has a positive impact on our cognitive abilities. This suggests that pairing up with a pet cat could help boost memory, problem-solving, and concentration.
From improved stress and anxiety levels to enhanced cognitive ability and greater social interactions, there are many reasons why adopting or owning a cat is a good idea. Whether you’re looking for a companion, a new family member, or a way to improve your health, the long list of health benefits of having a pet cat is certainly worth considering.