Cats are commonly perceived to be non-communicative, high-headed, aloof and very particular about details. Although, they do love their solitude, space and lazying around, they forge a strong bond with their human companions. This cautious yet deep bond forms the crux of the unbreakable connection between humans and cats.
In a 2019 study, a group of researchers from Washington State University gathered 249 students for an animal visitation, but only a small percentage of them were allowed to interact with the cats and dogs, with the other participants split into various groups to either watch from afar, be shown pictures of animals, or wait indefinitely with no animal stimuli whatsoever. The first group that got to pet and play with the animals—for a mere 10 minutes!—showed the greatest reduction in cortisol levels (a.k.a. the stress hormone). They are ‘Purrrfect’ companions and their existence in your life extends myriad benefits as elaborated below:
Loving a cat reduces cortisol levels in the body and results in releasing oxytocins. It triggers a feeling of well-being and belongingness. Hence, cats make ideal companions who share your stress in subtle enigmatic ways. They rarely let you stay lonely for too long. That connection can also help compensate for feelings of loneliness, which is another stressor on the body, according to Greenberg.
A 2015 study in the “Computers in Human Behavior” journal looked at nearly 7,000 people and found that watching cute and funny cat videos online positively influenced their moods. Out of the 7,000 people, about 36% described themselves as “cat people,” while about 60% said they liked both cats and dogs. After watching the videos, the majority of respondents said they experienced positive emotions and even said they had more energy.
Good for your Heart
A 2009 study published in the “Journal of Vascular and Interventional Neurology” looked at over 4,000 people, about half of whom were either current or former cat owners and half of whom had never owned a cat.
The researchers found that there was a correlation between owning a cat and reduced stress levels. Cat owners had an overall 30% lower risk of dying from a heart attack or stroke compared to those who did not own a cat and that was even taking into account factors such as smoking, diabetes, heart health, and cholesterol levels.
While correlation does not equal causation, the 2009 study was unsurprising to veterinary experts who posited to Medical News Today it could be because cats like to be petted and require less work than dogs.
Cats make perfect companions to pet owners who enjoy their non-interfering own space and seek solace in simple acts of petting.
Natural Blood Pressure Controllers
Hypertension is a lifestyle disease and best way to counter it is to own a cat. You need not resort to medications if you possess this charming feline companion. Researchers at the University of Buffalo tracked a group of 48 hypertensive New York stockbrokers who were all prescribed an ACE inhibitor to manage their high blood pressure. Half of the group was also asked to add a dog or cat to their treatment regimen. During a subsequent stress test, the pet owners’ heart rates and blood pressure levels increased much less than those participants solely taking the ACE inhibitor medication.
An even earlier study (2002) published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that infant exposure to multiple pets (two or more dogs or cats) helped prevent not only pet allergies, but also sensitivities to common allergens such as dust mites, ragweed, and grass.
Easier to Love and Care
A 2011 study from the University of Vienna found that the relationship between cats and humans can mirror the relationship between two humans. Reachers analyzed the interactions between 41 cats and their owners and found that they strongly influenced each other, sometimes even controlling each other’s behavior. They said that the cats seemed to remember when their owner did something nice and would return that favor at a later time.
Cats do not command too much of attention or affection. They are comfortable in their own existence and do not require much training, exercise, walking, etc. they love being groomed and comfortable even when left alone. They are suitable companions for apartment owners. They learn to play alone as well without disturbing the remaining household.
They are mostly quiet and when they purr, they do so gently, which does not disturb the family and is also not noisy. It is also scientifically proven that a cat’s purr has a calming effect on the nerves and lowers blood pressure. Hence, they make ideal companions for office workers or families with infants who require adequate sleep and rest. Cats live longer than dogs. They live upto to 20 years and you get to spend longer time with them.
A 2001 study from the Fauna Communications Research Institute in North Carolina said that purring could be beneficial to the cats as well as their humans. The researchers looked at the purring frequencies of 45 different kinds of cats and found that those frequencies are similar to ultrasound therapy that can be used to help people with bone growth, pain, edema, muscle growth, and dyspnea.
They accommodate effortlessly in clean environment and chase unwanted pests away, which is not limited to rats alone. They do not like any kind of flies, ants, insects etc. These inherent and natural tendencies ensure a pest-free house and an adequately entertained pet, who rarely craves for your attention.
Curbs Allergic tendencies
It is scientifically proven that exposure to cats leads to higher immunity and reduced allergic tendencies. They are natural allergens and there has been a significant rise in adoption of cats during the pandemic as most people were working from home and battling illness.
A study conducted by Oregon State University and published in the journal “Current Biology,” looked at a total of 70 cats. The cats were put in a room with their owners for two minutes, then left alone for two minutes before the owners returned. 64% of the cats displayed what the researchers classified as “secure attachment” to their owners.