Stress and anxiety are reaching new heights in America, with the American Psychiatric Association releasing a poll showing that 48 to 68 percent of respondents feel anxious about everything from their health and safety to paying bills.
With the fast-moving pace of the world around us, it’s no surprise to read about statistics like this. We’re constantly available on our phones, the news is streamed on the television 24/7, and a lot of things are getting more expensive.
It’s easy to feel like there’s no way out.
But what if there was an easy solution to decrease stress and anxiety, while increasing your happiness and overall health? And what if that solution was right under your nose the whole time?
I’m talking about your relationship with your cat. And if you don’t have one, you’ll want to visit your local shelter and adopt one after reading just how amazing they are for your health and happiness!
A Good Night’s Sleep In a fascinating Mayo Clinic study conducted on people’s sleep habits, researchers found cat owners who let their cats sleep with them at night were twice as likely to find them beneficial to a good night’s sleep rather than disturbing.
Calming Effects of Kitties If you want to relax, pet your cat .. .or just watch a cat video. In numerous research studies about the calming effects cats have on humans, scientists discovered that petting cats relieves stress and increases calmness. One of the most amazing studies we’ve come across shows that even the simple act of watching cat videos is proven to reduce stress levels.
Decreased Risk of Strokes and Heart Attacks If you’re anxious about your health, your cat might let you breathe a sigh of relief. Based on a study conducted by Dr. A.I. Qureshi and fellow researchers, cat owners were 30 percent less likely to die from heart attacks or strokes and were also found to have lower levels of cholesterol and triglycerides.
Lower Blood Pressure Raising an already high blood pressure with unnecessary stress and anxiety is a recipe for trouble. In several studies, people who had high blood pressure and then adopted a cat were later found to have had their blood pressure levels greatly reduced. In many instances, the reductions were so dramatic that they were better than the results that would have occurred with most traditional medications.
Providing Companionship Whether young or old, humans crave companionship. A cat is a friend who will deliver unconditional love and never judge you. In studies conducted on senior citizens living in assisted-living facilities and nursing homes, having cats around each day was found to have the same effect as if family members or spouses were visiting.
Cats Get You Exercising If you have a cat in your life, it will be impossible to resist getting up off the sofa and participating in playtime with your feline friend. Exercise improves mood in a variety of ways, and you’re likely to be laughing at your cat’s ridiculous antics by the end of every sessions.
Calm as a Cat Cats know how to take it easy and relax. After all, they sleep for most of the day, and even have a nap named after them. By adopting a bit of mindfulness and taking after your cat, you may be able to learn how to slow down and take a breather for yourself.
Improve Your Love Life If you’ve been looking for love in all the wrong places, adopting a cat will change that in a hurry. In studies conducted on men and women in England, researchers found men who owned cats were looked upon by women as being more caring, sensitive, and attractive than men who did not own cats.
Make New Friends Along with improving your love life, cats can also help you establish new friendships. Whether you are sitting in a veterinarian’s office or standing in the cat food aisle at your local store, you will almost always be able to strike up a conversation with a fellow cat lover, which may lead to the start of a beautiful friendship. Once this happens, don’t forget to thank your cat.
Improve Your Child’s Health If you have kids, adopting a cat will not only make them happy, but also much healthier. When it comes to allergies, researchers found children who had pets in their homes during the first two years of their lives were far less likely to develop them. Similarly, studies show that babies with early contact to cats (and dogs) were much healthier than those children who lived in pet-free homes. They were “30 percent less likely to experience coughs, ear infections, and symptoms such as stuffiness, runny nose, sneezing, and congestion.”
Emily Parker lives in Hamilton, Ontario, and is the resident cat expert at Catological.com, where she helps hundreds of thousands of cat parents love their kitties better. She believes in feeding cats biologically appropriate food to extend their lives and keep them healthy. When she’s not writing about cats, she enjoys exploring her neighborhood for the coolest new (cat) cafes.
Are you a San Francisco Bay area cat behaviorist, cat consultant, or cat expert who would like to contribute to this column, Kitty Corner? Send email to Editor@BayWoof.com.
Main article photo by: Courtesy Catalogical.com