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Could a cat save your life and your sanity?

Posted by Amanda Ling on

We work late, we sleep less, we expect to perform at our best every hour of the day, we are pressured to display a perfect life on social media, keep up with seeing our friends and family and unsurprisingly the burn out rate is on the increase along with depression, anxiety disorders and much more. 84% of adults in the UK suffer from stress or have suffered from stress.

The term rat race comes to mind when we come to reflect on all this self-inflicted pressure. One element that may just make a difference is a cat, to catch that rat!

Here are FIVE health benefits of owning one or more of the little fur balls.

  1. Studies have shown that owning a cat will help improve your general well-being. The simple act of petting a cat, is a very relaxing activity, which has been shown to reduce stress and anxiety levels. Could the answer be in the gentle sound that emanates from a purring cat, soothing away some of our daily stress? The melodic vibration coming from little ‘Felix’ ranges from 25Hz to 150Hz. Incredibly, studies have shown that this level of frequencies are ‘used in treatment for bone growth/fractures, pain, edema, muscle growth/strain, joint flexibility, dyspnea, and wounds.’(1)
  2. A cat can help your blood pressure remain constant. Your cardiovascular health is not the only benefit which came out of a study (2), apparently it also makes you less angry. Unless your cat asks you to come in and out twenty times a day!
  3. In a world where allergies are on the rise, it so happens that owning a cat (or pets) will help boost your immune system and make you more resilient to allergens.(3)
  4. If you thought that the benefits of owning a cat might stop here, then you may be surprised to learn that cat ownership can also make a difference to your heart health. Non-cat owners were shown to have a 30-40% increased rate of heart attacks compared to their cat owning peers.
  5. Benefit number five, and by no mean least on our list. Studies have shown that owning a cat helped with a reduction in the levels of triglycerides and cholesterol levels, two components known to increase the risk of type 2 diabetes, strokes, liver and kidney disease.

Cute kittens standing on the keys of a piano

Beyond the compelling reasons for owning a cat cited above, there are other social benefits such as companionship as well as making it easier for people to socialise. In fact, a study has shown that a cat may make ‘men more attractive to women’.

Moral of the story, the Ancient Egyptians were right to worship cats, if the above is anything to go by. Not only can they help catch rodents but they also can help clear some metaphorical cobwebs and help slow that rat race.

References

(1) The felid purr: A healing mechanism? The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 110, 2666 (2001); Elizabeth von Muggenthaler)
(2) Cardiovascular Reactivity and the Presence of Pets, Friends, and Spouses: The
Truth About Cats and Dogs’ (2002) By Karen Allen, Jim Blascovich And Wendy Mendes. Read more.
(3) Multiple Pets May Decrease Children’s Allergy Risk (2002), By National Institutes of Health. Read more.

Posted in: Mental Wellbeing