Cats and Mental Health
Why cats (and other pets) are good for your mental wellbeing.
Cats are magic. Well… almost. Not only are these graceful (mostly) and purring creatures cuddly companions, they can also actually help improve your mental health. When you come home after a stressful day at work and snuggle with your cat (if your cat is a snuggle bug) or just spend some time with them (if they prefer to be admired from a distance), it helps to release stress reducing hormones. This will not only lower your heart rate and blood pressure, but also reduce anxiety.
Having a cat (or a pet in general) also provides structure and routine. Being a pet owner can help to get you out of bed on days where you are feeling very low or lonely. Having a furball to look after can give you purpose and a sense of achievement at the end of the day. A Scottish study found, that kids that had a close bond with their fluffy companion, felt more energetic and attentive and felt less sad.
And not only that! A cat’s purr can heal! Well, not everything. But due to its frequency, it can lower stress, decrease blood pressure, help heal infections and ease your breathing.
And every cat owner can tell you that the claim that cats are not affectionate is simply not true. Cats are definitely more independent and will have their times when they want you to leave them alone. There are also loving and calming and gentle and (oh so incredibly) funny. And then there is snuggle time. This might be your cat looking for head scratches or a full belly cuddle. What a rewarding experience.
Author: Claudia Blaess
Ranard, C. How Cats Help Improve Mental Health. Available at: https://www.akcreunite.org/catsimprovementalhealth
Newman, K.M. (2018) The Science-Backed Benefits of Being a Cat Lover. Available at: https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/the_science_backed_benefits_of_being_a_cat_lover