Get a cat and don’t do Botox!

Here’s an added benefit that your cat brings you and you don’t even know it! Well, some of us do. The modern habit of using Botox to reduce laughter lines reminds me why, in part, I feel better living with a cat.

Cats, particularly kittens and young cats make people smile. My cat, Charlie, is not young, in fact he is positively old, but he still makes me smile. The way he talks to me, his habits and the way he sits and looks up at me, telling me that he is pleased to be comfortable and warm, all bring me joy.

The downside of using Botox to get rid of laughter lines, which I personally love to see on a woman, is that its presence in the face affects the way the person smiles. Botox freezes the muscles of the face. This prevents the smile from forming fully. The best that can be achieved is a weak version of the real thing. As it happens, this undermines happiness.

Cats make us smile. Photo of Aby kittens copyright Peter Hasselbom.

A large number of studies have concluded that the act of smiling is not only an outward expression of happiness at that moment, it also reinforces a feeling of well being. In other words the smile reinforces the reason for the smile and makes a person happier.

I have also seen it said that laughing makes you feel better. There are clubs where people stand around producing forced laughter.  I am not sure that works. However, there is no doubt that smiling is good for us as it makes us feel happier.

Apparently a study by Michael Lewis of Cardiff University’s School of Psychology indicated that feelings of unhappiness and depression were 50% higher in Botox recipients.

Changing your facial expression changes how you feel…(Dr Lewis)

The next bit of the argument is easy. Cats of any age, but perhaps more so kittens, make us smile. That smile reinforces the pleasure and joy we received from our cat that produced the smile in the first place. It is a double benefit.

Get a rescue kitten or better still an old black cat. He’ll make you smile and you’ll wonder how you managed without him.

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Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 71-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in a many jobs including professional photography. I have a girlfriend, Michelle. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare.

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