22 Ways Cats Make People Happier And Healthier

Life is better with cats, plain and simple. But did you know there’s a ton of science and research to back it up? The fact of the matter is that cats make us both happier and healthier in a whole bunch of different ways. We’ve put together this handy infographic outlining 22 of those ways! What do you think?

22 ways cats make humans happier and healthier

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1. Cats Help You Sleep Better

Do you let your cat sleep with you? If so, you probably sleep better because of it.

Dr. Lois Krahn published a study with the Mayo Clinic showing that cat owners who let their cats sleep with them are twice as likely to get a better sleep because of it as they are to be disturbed.

Cats are experts at sleeping, and make a lot of people feel safer, more calm, and help them fall asleep faster.

2. Petting A Cat Can Calm You Down

Feeling stressed, angry, or overwhelmed? Try petting your cat for a few minutes and feel all of that melt away.

Contact with animals (as well as with humans), has been shown to produce one of the hormones that reduces stress. Plus, your heart rate and blood pressure actually go down as you’re stroking your kitty’s soft fur.

Petting your cat may also help to take your mind off of your worries, even briefly, as you give her the attention you both need. Plus, it’s a great bonding exercies!

3. Cats Reduce Stress And Anxiety

Cat videos are kind of a thing these days, right? Yeah, so much so that they’re even doing studies about them.

Assistant Professor Jessica Gall Myrick from Indiana University Media School performed a study, proving that even just watching a cat video can reduce stress and anxiety! Without even being in the same room as a live cat! The study was subsequently praised by a variety of her peers, giving weight to the fact that cat videos matter.

So next time you catch Betty at the cubicle next to you watching cat videos, cut her some slack, she might just be trying to calm down!

4. Cats Decrease Your Risk Of Stroke

Alright, so we’re going to talk about a bunch of heart related things here, but it’s because it’s super important and cats help in a multitude of ways.

First of all, is stroke, a big time worry for people with some of the risk factors associated with cardiovascular disease. But thanks to research by Adnan I Qureshi, MD and his team, we know that strokes are significantly reduced in people who own, or have owned, cats.

Dr. Qureshi himself owns a cat, so he clearly believes the data his study produced!

5. Cats Help Lower Your Blood Pressure

In a study by Allen, Shykoff, and Izzo, pet ownership proved to lower blood pressure in response to mental stress. So if something happens and you feel yourself getting ramped up with rage or frustration or anxiety, simply owning a pet and interacting with him can cool you off and keep your blood pressure low.

6. Cats Help Decrease The Risk Of Heart Attack

Back to Dr. Qureshi, his study also showed that the risk of heart attack was significantly lower for people who own cats or who have owned cats in the past.

Even adjusted for other risk factors, cat owners were up to 40% less likely to die from cardiovascular disease, including heart attack. Even he was surprised by just how much cat owners benefits compared to non cat owners.

7. Cats Help You Live Longer!

Notice something here? Rather a lot of information about cats reducing the risk of dying from various heart diseases! Which means, cats can literally help you live longer.

Which means you’ll get to spend more years with your cat. Which will help you live longer. Which means you’ll get to spend more time with your cat. Hey, wait a minute…

8. Cats Ease Loneliness And Provide Companionship

Do you ever feel lonely, only to cheer up when your cat winds her body and tail around your legs when you walk in the door, purring softly, and looking up at you, hoping for a pet?

You’re not alone.

Cats are great companions, and are actually a great way to reduce the feelings of loneliness experienced by seniors in long-term care (most of whom are widowed). Even just one “session” per week interacting with an animal significantly reduced the level of loneliness in study participants.

9. Cats Help Lower Triglycerides And Cholesterol Levels

High triglyceride and cholesterol can lead to deadly heart disease.

Some people try to keep their cholesterol at bay in rather unpleasant ways (one of the most common of which is going on drugs, which often have negative side effects and areexpensive). What if you could just get a cat, instead?

Cat owners show a lower level of each, meaning owning a cat leads to a healthier heart (in case you haven’t noticed already!).

10. Owning A Cat Has A Lower Carbon Footprint Than Owning A Dog

Robert and Brenda Vale argue in their book on sustainable living that the resources used to feed a medium-sized dog are about the same as the resources used to build and fuel a Hummer.

However, they noted that (while not perfect) the resources used to feed a cat are about the same as owning a Volkswagen Golf – a significantly smaller and more eco-friendly vehicle than a hummer!

11. Cats Are Easy Entertainment And Improve Your Mood

Ever played with your cat? Duh, I sure hope so. It can be pretty fun, right? And even if you’re not playing with her, how often has she done something so ridiculous or hilarious that you are entertained for a few minutes?

Not only are they great for keeping you entertained, they can actually improve your mood.

In a Swiss study, it was discovered that cats can actually help to get rid of negative moods at about the same level of effectiveness as a partner (boyfriend/girlfriend/wife/husband/etc.).

12. Cats Encourage You To Get Up And Play

OK, so having a cat isn’t quite the same as having a dog when it comes to exercising, we’ll admit that.

However, that doesn’t mean us cat owners aren’t getting a workout once in awhile!

Having a cat necessitates you taking a minute to get up and play. If you decide to really get into playing with your cat, even for 15 or 30 minutes every day, you will be helping your body significantly.

Run around with a toy for your cat, and your body will thank you!

13. Cats Remind You To Slow Down And Nap

As the Stafford Animal Hospital so wonderfully put it, cats “practically invented napping”.

Cats are sleep experts, and usually catch 12-20 hours of sleep every day.

No matter what’s going on around them, they can find time for a cat nap. Literally.

It’s a great reminder for us to slow down and take a 20 minute power nap to recharge for the rest of the day.

14. Cats Help Fight Depression

We’ve already talked about how cats can boost a bad mood, but did you know they can do such a good job that they can positively affect people with mild to moderate depression?

It’s true. Studies have shown that the companionship of a pet and the relationship you form with him or her can be a big help when it comes to breaking out of that depressive funk.

15. Cats Help You Get More Dates And Seem More Caring

Guys, do you like cats? Better yet, do you have a cat? It could really help you in the dating department.

Women in the UK find men who like animals more attractive, more caring, and almost unanimously agree that they find men who like cats nicer.

Next time you’re trying a pick up line, why not mention how much you love Mittens?

16. Cats Help You Make New Friends

Cat ownership is a great way to open up your potential social network by sharing something in common with like minded people. As you’ll see a little further down, cat owners are typically of a similar personality.

What better place to start a relationship than the shared bond you and your new friend have when it comes to loving your cat?

And did you know that there are even social networks for cat lovers? Get connected!

17. Living With Cats Decreases The Chances Of Kids Developing Allergies And Asthma

Asthma and allergies are horrible to have to deal with for the rest of your life. Difficulty breathing, discomfort, medication…it’s no fun!

But did you know our good friend, the cat, can actually help reduce the likelihood that our children develop allergies or asthma when they grow up?

Kids who live in homes with cats are less likely to be burdened with these pesky problems when they grow up. And you can start them young – the best time to introduce them for this benefit is between 0 and 2 years old!

18. Cats Help People With Autism Communicate

Another instance of Animal Assisted Therapy working wonders!

Not only are they great for seniors and helping us with loneliness, but pets can actually help children with autism feel more comfortable and allow them to communicate with greater ease. Giving a voice to someone who may not always be able to find theirs is one powerful pet job!

19. Cat Purrs Can Heal

Some argue that since cats purr within the frequency range of 20-140 Hz, that cat purrs have healing powers! You see, within this frequency range, there are a number of healing methods that are useful in healing injured bones, tendons, and tissue damage.

Interestingly, studies have shown that cats purr when they are injured or frightened, which lends more credibility to the fact that cat purrs may well heal things like bone and tissue damage – in these cases, they may well be purring as a way of self-soothing or -healing.

20. Cats Are Partners In Cancer Research

Dr. Byram Bridle dreams of a day when pediatric cancer patients have to undergo just a handful of treatments before they are cancer free, instead of the 100+ they often go through today.

Through his research into cat cancer in companion animals, he has made a significant breakthrough in the area of administering vaccines to cancer patients. The research proved to be so successful that human trials are set to begin.

Thanks to his work on cats, human cancer patients may soon be able to benefit from his innovation. We hope Dr. Bridle’s dream comes true and that he helps drastically reduce the number of treatments needed!

21. Cats Teach You About Yourself (And Others)

Cat owners tend to share certain tendencies and personality traits. (“Crazy Cat Lady”, anyone??)

Doing a little research should give you some insight into your own personality, and help others relate to you by learning more about your potential traits!

Plus, you can find out more about other cat owners in order to have a more successful relationship with those you meet.

22. Cat Owners Go To The Doctor Less And Save You Tax Dollars

The therapeutic benefits of owning a cat (many of which we’ve covered above) are so great that apparently cat owners go to the doctor less than non-cat owners.

According to the BBC, “the research showed that pet owners make fewer visits to their doctor each year, suffer fewer sleeping difficulties and are less likely to be taking medicine for a heart condition.” (That heart health thing again…seems like you can’t get away from the fact that cats are good for your heart!)

And this isn’t just some small-fries study touting the benefits of cat ownership. The point of this is that countries are saving billions of dollars thanks to the healthier cat owners not using the health care system.

Not only do you get to enjoy the benefits of being healthy thanks to your cat, but you’ll pay less in taxes to maintain the health care system thanks to cat owners! Money in your wallet, all thanks to Mittens!

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  • Updated March 8, 2017
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