The role of cats as emotional support for their owners (and more)

There are some studies about the role of cats as emotional support for their owners. Two of the studies concerned 47 women and 45 men who lived alone with one or two cats, while the third study also included people who lived without cats.

The studies took place in Europe and the cats were at least six months-of-age. The participants completed questionnaires about their mood and their attachment to their cats. In addition, the cat owners were observed in the evening on one occasion.

It was found that overall cats had little effect on their owners’ moods. However, the presence of a cat was found to be associated with lowered negative moods of depression and fear. Therefore the cats did not increase positive moods. The more extrovert a cat owner felt, the more often their cat approached them.

I think these conclusions are not only incorrect but rather narrow. The presence of a domestic cat does far more than have an impact upon our negative moods.

For a start, there is the simple pleasure of the presence of a domestic cat as company, as a companion. There does not need to be any direct impact upon a person’s negative or positive moods.

Cat companionship is about not feeling lonely, taking responsibility for your cat, nurturing your cat and taking enjoyment from these pleasures. There are a whole host of subtle benefits in cat companionship which I don’t think can be reduced to a simple test of elevated mood.

Cats reduce negative moods

Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

There are other benefits. The Chief Executive Officer, Mr Suhaimi Rafdi, of a major Singapore company, Cathay Organisation Holdings says:

“My parents were animal lovers and there was not one day when there were no animals in our home….I believe that children who grow up with animals around them tend to be more compassionate and responsible adults”

Mr Rafdi is a sort of cat hoarder but an exceptional one. He is thoroughly organised and has converted his basement for the cats he rescues. It is very cat friendly. He cares for 27 cats; very rare for a high profile businessman.

Useful tag. Click to see the articles: Cat behavior

11 thoughts on “The role of cats as emotional support for their owners (and more)”

  1. They were 3 weeks old, all 4 of them. I adopted them, rescued them when they were 3 weeks old. Pinky my cat never fed them. They were near to die with hunger and dehydration. I don’t know how they survived?

    Here is the picture of my second daughter at her room loving and petting Pummy the kitten (6 weeks old kitten).

    Hafsa is 7 years old and she was afraid of pets. One morning I saw her with Pummy, petting to Pummy. Khadija took the photo instantly as she has the cam cell phone.

    I observed Pummy was loving Hafsa and the way she was petting her. Pummy! my Pummy killed by neighbor boy, my Pummy. 8 weeks old killed 🙁

    Hafsa became sick, she stopped eating and drinking for two weeks. I had her admitted in a private hospital. I shared her the thought that LAILA is with us. Animals die every day. We can’t die with them.

    The greatest lie of the nature, I told Hafsa and she agreed with me but still miss Pummy.

    My three daughters were not used to any wild animal or pet. These feral kittens which I had, these 4, they made my daughters to change their thoughts. They realized them that what is affection and love. What is the meaning of care? What is a relationship? What is the meaning of respect of others? Why we are human and they are animals? How we can win others hearts with LOVE?

    this is what I have to share Michael, thank you for your article <3

  2. Ruth aka Kattaddorra

    Cats have been my rock in the past when I’ve been very alone and sad and I can’t imagine life without them.
    I don’t know why people say cats only love you for what we give them, because it isn’t true, they give us far far more than we give them.

    1. I think you are right. What happens is that science tries to analyse, through a study what is happening, but you can’t full understand the benefits just through a scientific study. It is more complicated an non-scientific. Emotions don’t lend themselves to being studied scientifically.

  3. As a loner blogger/traveller i wonder what my life would be without my pets at home. Whenever i get “Writers Block” i usually interact with my cats or would talk to my late Alexandrine parakeet “Mittoo” and then again get back to work.The very fact that on tours i just keep my house-keeper at home to maintain the cats akin to a baby-sitter proves the love and affection that i devote to my cats and they to me, a two way traffic.

  4. Yes Id be a mess without my Cats. Esp when you’re alone or by yourself. Or even if you got someone in your life. Wow can’t believe that guy got 27 Cats. Thats alot of Cats. I agree with what he said that if you grow up with animals you grow up to be compassionate and understanding.

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