Many cat owners own a cat simply because they love cats, but there also added bonuses in the form of health benefits of cat ownership which are often overlooked, and some that can even help you live longer.Here in this article we will be looking at some surprising health benefits from owning a cat, many of, which you probably would have never guessed, and if you’re not a cat owner, after reading this you may just decide you want to change that.
WHAT ARE THE HEALTH BENEFITS OF CAT OWNERSHIP?
1. Preventing Allergies
Many years ago it was thought that children brought up in a home with pets were more than likely to develop allergies or even asthma. However, studies performed fairly recently showed that children born into a home with pets that have fur, like cats and dogs, were more likely to build a certain immunity and therefore less likely to have allergies and asthma. Furthermore, studies have also shown that infants were less likely to develop eczema, a common skin allergy that causes itching.
2. Help With Alzheimers And Old Age
Studies have also shown that simply owning a cat can provide help to those with Alzheimers, and that Alzheimer patients have fewer outbursts, and less anxiety episodes. Even caregivers feel less of a burden when there is a cat in the home, because a cat will often calm a person, not just with Alzheimers, but health problems in general. That being said, for the older generation, and those that are able to do so, taking care of a cat gives companionship, and something to show their affection to.
3. A Cat Helps With Stress And Depression
Just owning a cat can lower stress levels, and cat owners are less likely to fall into a depression, and the more attached the person is to their pet the greater the benefit. People that are in stressful jobs, and feel constantly under pressure are more prone to conditions like stress, and high blood pressure. In addition, when someone is under a lot of stress, harmful chemicals in the body can be released, which can affect the immune system, like the building up of plaque in the arteries. However, petting a cat can reduce these harmful chemicals like norepinephrine and cortisol, and elevate the levels of dopamine and serotonin having the opposite effect, which is calming and feeling pleasure, in turn lowering blood pressure and easing stress levels and anxiety, all that from simply petting a cat.
4. Healing Bones, Muscles And Tendons
Believe it, or not there have been studies surrounding a cats purring effect on the human bones and muscles, and the studies have shown to have a very therapeutic affect on them. Although this may sound like a tall tale, it is to do with the frequency of the cats purr vibrations, which happen to be 20-140 HZ. Studies have proved that frequencies in the 18 to 35 HZ range have a very positive effect on bones, muscle, and tendons after an accident, and have positive effects on joint mobility too.
5. Cats Lower Your Risk Of Heart Attack And Stroke
We know that scientists have already discovered that owning a cat helps relieve stress, but it does have a knock on effect, because relieving stress and anxiety helps protect against heart disease due to lowering blood pressure. One study looked at over 4,000 people, half of which owned cats, and the results were quite surprising. Moreover, it showed over a 10 year period that 3.4 percent of cat owners died from a heart attack while those that never owned a cat was at 5.8 percent. In addition, what is more surprising is that even when other factors were taken into account like smoking, diabetes, and high cholesterol, cat owners still had a lower risk of heart attack and stroke.
6. Cats Can Help With Autism
Researchers have found that children with autism had much better social interaction when around pets, especially cats. Half of the families in the study reported that their children had strong attachments to their cats, and the study also showed that the children’s assertiveness was greatly improved when around pets. Cats can have a very positive effect on autistic children, like the father who took his non verbal son to the animal shelter to see some pets, when he came to view the cats his son spoke and said the word ‘cat’, who knows what might have happened if he hadn’t stopped in that cat home, now the child is in college.
7. A Positive Effect On Your Mental Health
A survey of 600 cat owners where 300 had mental health issues was compiled, and more than 85% said their cats have a positive impact on their general well being. Moreover, more than 75% also said that they felt they could cope much better with every day stress, and that their cats made life easier for them. Surprisingly enough there has even been a study by the Indiana Bloomington University that found even watching cat videos, like on you tube, boosts energy levels, and positive emotions and in turn decreases any negative feelings, and may also make tasks easier after watching a cute cat video.
Finally, thanks to research, and study groups we can really appreciate the full potential of owning a cat, even some of us cat owners didn’t know how healthy it could be to own a cat. Also, for those of you who have now read this article, and didn’t own a cat, maybe this has made you think twice about getting one, and they are low maintenance too. Moreover, cats always made good pets to begin with, we just didn’t know why we loved them so much, sure they are cuddly, fluffy, cute, and funny, but now they are healthy for us too, so whether you get a cat for companionship, petting or just to watch them play, it’s worth having one around.
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