Felines are Good Medicine: Living with Cats Bolsters our Health

Being surrounded by cats is a sheer delight. Living with felines is an awesome experience; a statement with which I am sure that no avid kitty lover will disagree. Cats bring us an incredible amount of joy; give us an abundance of unconditional love and endless hours of fascinating entertainment.

Tabby kitten
Photo credit: Flickr User: Felipe_Borges
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles:- Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

However, it’s not just only the simple pleasures that we derive from being being owned by cats; living with kitties offers us some amazing side effects. While many drug side-effects are extremely unpleasant; happily the delicious side effects of cat companionship can bolster and improve our health.

After doing extensive research, scientists are proving that living with cats is beneficial to heart health. Researchers at the University of Minnesota looked at nearly 4,500 people between the age of 30 and 75. They discovered that kitty guardians enjoyed a 40 percent lower risk of having a heart attack and 30 percent lower risk of dying from heart disease.

The researchers concluded that interacting with cats has a stress-lowering effect on humans. Additionally, in one of their studies on patients discharged from a Coronary Care Unit, the researchers found that these patients had a better rate of survival over the following year if they had a pet kitty to which they could come home.

Having cats helps us to better connect with others. In a French study, researchers discovered a substance called oxytocin. Oxytocin is stress-lowering hormone which is often referred to as the “love hormone“. They found this hormone was of great benefit to mildly autistic children and adults.

Oxytocin helped to make them feel more relaxed and to be able to more easily socialize with others. In fact, researchers are claiming that petting a cat helps to increase oxytocin – engendering more feelings of love, trust and ability to connect. The results of the study was published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Kitty guardians will attest to the fact that watching cats playing together can be downright amusing. Their comical antics generally provide us with some side-slapping belly laughs. Since “laughter is the best medicine”, it only makes sense that researchers are finding that these diminutive comedians strengthen our immune system.

According to a study performed at Loma Linda University, it turns out that laughter does help to boost the levels of disease-fighting immunoglobins by at least 14 percent. Since kitty-watching often chases away the doldrums, apparently cats might be thought of as diminutive physicians in furry coats who can render us emotional “tune ups”. Even watching funny cat videos is good for the brain1.

Scientists are now proving a fact that we as kitty guardians have been aware of for a very long time; that having cats can alleviate loneliness and reduce depression and anxiety and offers people a very special and lasting friendships.

Since researchers are finding that having cats makes us healthier, without the nasty side-effects and the scary warning labels on medicine bottles, this delightful “drug” appears to be the “cat’s Meow”. However, this leaves me wondering if my prescription drug insurance will cover its cost.

What health benefits have you observed from being owned by cats? Please share your experience in a comment. You can bet your bottom dollar I will use them as a backup the next time I submit an insurance form.

Jo

17 thoughts on “Felines are Good Medicine: Living with Cats Bolsters our Health”

  1. Cats sure are a positive part of our lives. A few years ago I adopted out a calico cat named Molly McButter. She went to a senior couple, both in their 90s. FOr two years Molly was their companion. The couple’s doctor was surprised when the couple showed signs of improved health. THey both had lower blood pressure etc.. Sadly Molly had to come back to us when the couple could no long care for her properly. Molly proved that she could be a health benifit. Our local humane society has a Seniors for Senios program. THey adopt adult cats and dogs to senior citizens. There is a guarentee that the pet will be cared for in case the animal has to be returned. Love the health benifits we get from our furry kids.

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  2. when i told one of my SIL’s about what my cats had done for me she told me about the research that the swedes have been doing for about 10 years and referred me to Scientific American — i think the article was published in 2010.

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