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The Health Benefits of Having a Cat

We talk a lot about your cat’s health here at PrettyLitter. While we love cats and want you and your fur baby to enjoy long, fulfilling lives together, we also care just as much for our readers.

Today is all about you!

You know what it takes to lead a healthy life: eat right, exercise often, smell the flowers, bask in the sunshine (lathered in SPF 50).

But did you know that owning a cat can actually be good for your health?

I know... we were thrilled, too!

Here’s the scoop.

Science Says: Cats Cause Contentment

Woman Holding Green Eyed Cat

In April 2017, the
Journal of Mind and Medical Sciences published a study that investigated the impact of human-animal interaction on mental health.

The researchers looked at 39 homebound adults, whether they owned cats or dogs, and key mental health indicators such as depression symptoms, loneliness, and attachment.

After analyzing all of the factors, the researchers found that “cat owners reported significantly lower levels of depressive symptoms than dog owners.” While the study included a relatively small group of participants, the researchers felt confident that adopting a cat would be a healthy choice for homebound adults who are at risk of depression.

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In fact, other research studies have found similar health benefits of having a cat. For example, theJournal of Vascular and Interventional Neurology published a research study in which researchers found that being a cat parent is associated with a lower risk of dying from a heart attack or stroke.

This same study found that your cat’s purr can even lower your blood pressure and calm your nerves!Dr. Melanie Greenberg, author ofThe Stress-Proof Brain, echos this message and recommends cuddling with your cat, which releases natural oxytocin in the brain and reduces stress.

Still want more benefits of having a cat? Get this: several studies, includingone published inClinical & Experimental Allergy, have found that owning a cat early in childhood can actually reduce a child’s risk of developing allergies later in life!

How’s that for a purr-fect reason to adopt a new feline friend?

Heartwarming Heroes

Old People with Kittens

The beauty of all of this is that cats have no idea how good they are for us – and we would likely love them just as much anyway, even if they didn’t improve our heart health, reduce our stress, andbenefit our children. In fact, just taking care of something little and adorable can bring joy to one’s life.

In 2016, the world awww’d and coo’d over the adorable social-media-worthy images of theseniors at Catalina Springs Memory Care in Tucson who opened their home and their hearts to 2,100 kittens in need.

It was obvious to all that the seniors and staff at Catalina Springs were doing a major service to save the lives of these kittens. However, what wasn’t so obvious or expected was the impact the kittens had on the seniors.

Residents at Catalina Springs Memory Care suffer from conditions such as dementia and Alzheimer’s. These chronic brain disorders are often accompanied by mood disorders like depression and anxiety.

Taking on the responsibility of taking care of kittens gave the seniors the ability to nurture the parts of their brains that were craving connection, giving love, and receiving love. They experienced joy and deep satisfaction from bottle feeding and socializing the needy newborn kittens.

Some residents even experienced memory boosts as the kittens they cared for reminded them of animals from their earlier years.  

Stories like this leave us wondering: who’s the hero in this story? The seniors or the cats?

We like to think it’s both.






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