Do you have a cat? Is the recent Internet craze around cats and toxo freaking you out, too? It got me spooked for a minute. Then I remembered there are all kinds of reasons why I do own -and adore- my little feline fluffball and, as it turns out, there are a lot of great reasons why being a cat owner is good for my health.
Despite all of the recent concern around toxoplasmosis (check out this article for more information about why you needn’t worry), owning a cat confers major health benefits. Just how major, you might ask? Cat ownership can help your cardiovascular system, reduce your risk of stroke, boost your immune system, reduce allergy and respiratory problems, lower blood pressure, cholesterol and triglycerides, and heal bones and muscles. This is all in addition to the feel-good benefits of cat ownership: reducing stress, depression and anxiety, easing loneliness, improving your mood and the like. Check out the science:
Improve your cardiovascular system.
A 10-year long study involving 4,000 Americans by the University of Minnesota revealed that cat owners had a 30% decreased risk of death by heart attack compared to non cat owners. Even the lead researcher conducting the study, Dr. Adnan Qureshi, himself an owner of a cat named Ninja, was surprised by the size of the reduction in risk.
Researchers Conclude: Cats Are Jerks!!!
Reduce your risk of stroke.
The same study also showed that owning a cat reduced the risk of having a stroke by one-third. Even when researchers took account of other factors known to trigger heart disease, including high cholesterol levels, smoking and diabetes, cat owners still cut their risks by one-third.
Increase your immunity.
Cat owners boost their immunity by bringing pleasure into our lives, which does more than simply reduce stress and anxiety -though those are also wonderful side effects. An increase in pleasure also improves immune function by producing an antibacterial peptide, enhances the killer instincts and abilities of various immune components, including B cells, T cells, NK cells, and immunoglobulins, and enables certain immune cells to secrete their own endorphins as a way of improving their disease-fighting capacity.
Reduce allergy and respiratory problems.
How many times have you offered your feline furball to a friend only to have them back away, protesting “I’m allergic!” It’s likely that they didn’t grow up around pets. Studies have shown that children raised around pets and/or livestock are more likely to develop immunity to pet allergies…and the earlier the exposure, the better. Even later in life, regular exposure to pet allergens can reduce sensitivity to them.
Lower your blood pressure.
Your blood pressure can be easily lowered by taking part in calming activities. Petting or stroking a purring cat is one of those activities that is inherently calming, often to both you and the animal.
Lower cholesterol and triglycerides.
Heal bones and muscles.
This one was particularly interesting to me. Cats purr at frequencies between 25 and 140 Hz, which are the same frequencies that are therapeutic for bone growth and fracture healing, inflammation and pain reduction, swelling reduction, wound healing, muscle growth and repair, tendon repair, and mobility of joints. According to a study conducted by Fauna Communications, feline purring could actually improve human healing functions in this regard.
Given all of the various ways science has proven that cat ownership is good for you, don’t you think it’s time you go get yourself a little bundle of purring fluff and jump on the road to greater well-being? You can start your search right here.