The Health Benefits of Having a Cat

Woman with Cat

We talk a lot about your cat’s health here at PrettyLitter. While we love cats and want you and your fur baby to enjoy long, fulfilling lives together, we also care just as much for our readers.

Today is all about you!

You know what it takes to lead a healthy life: eat right, exercise often, smell the flowers, bask in the sunshine (lathered in SPF 50).

But did you know that owning a cat can actually be good for your health?

I know... we were thrilled, too!

Here’s the scoop.

Science Says: Cats Cause Contentment

Woman Holding Green Eyed Cat

In April 2017, the Journal of Mind and Medical Sciences published a study that investigated the impact of human-animal interaction on mental health.

The researchers looked at 39 homebound adults, whether they owned cats or dogs, and key mental health indicators such as depression symptoms, loneliness, and attachment.

After analyzing all of the factors, the researchers found that “cat owners reported significantly lower levels of depressive symptoms than dog owners.” While the study included a relatively small group of participants, the researchers felt confident that adopting a cat would be a healthy choice for homebound adults who are at risk of depression.

In fact, other research studies have found similar health benefits of having a cat. For example, the Journal of Vascular and Interventional Neurology published a research study in which researchers found that being a cat parent is associated with a lower risk of dying from a heart attack or stroke.

This same study found that your cat’s purr can even lower your blood pressure and calm your nerves! Dr. Melanie Greenberg, author of The Stress-Proof Brain, echos this message and recommends cuddling with your fur baby, which releases natural oxytocin in the brain and reduces stress.

Still want more benefits of having a cat? Get this: several studies, including one published in Clinical & Experimental Allergy, have found that owning a cat early in childhood can actually reduce a child’s risk of developing allergies later in life!

How’s that for a purr-fect reason to adopt a new feline friend?

Heartwarming Heroes

Old People with Kittens

The beauty of all of this is that cats have no idea how good they are for us – and we would likely love them just as much anyway, even if they didn’t improve our heart health, reduce our stress, and benefit our children. In fact, just taking care of something little and adorable can bring joy to one’s life.

In 2016, the world awww’d and coo’d over the adorable social-media-worthy images of the seniors at Catalina Springs Memory Care in Tucson who opened their home and their hearts to 2,100 kittens in need.

It was obvious to all that the seniors and staff at Catalina Springs were doing a major service to save the lives of these kittens. However, what wasn’t so obvious or expected was the impact the kittens had on the seniors.

Residents at Catalina Springs Memory Care suffer from conditions such as dementia and Alzheimer’s. These chronic brain disorders are often accompanied by mood disorders like depression and anxiety.

Taking on the responsibility of taking care of the wee kittens gave the seniors the ability to nurture the parts of their brains that were craving connection, giving love, and receiving love. They experienced joy and deep satisfaction from bottle feeding and socializing the needy newborn kittens.

Some residents even experienced memory boosts as the kittens they cared for reminded them of animals from their earlier years.  

Stories like this leave us wondering: who’s the hero in this story? The seniors or the cats?

We like to think it’s both.

Now we want to know: How has your cat improved your life? Tell us about the unique mark your cat has made on your heart in the comments below! Or share a picture of you with your health-boosting feline hero on Instagram and tag us @PrettyLitterCats.




Rai Cornell
Rai Cornell

Author



11 Responses

Kat
Kat

September 24, 2018

My cat took to this litter instantly. For me I can now take care of her without support. I’m mobile limited and unable to lift heavy items. Now I don’t have to lift the urine. No dust which means no more sneezing. No litter on the floor. I love 💘 it.
Thank you

Rai Cornell
Rai Cornell

August 31, 2018

@Laurie – Nope! Our PrettyLitter doesn’t clump at all, which is much safer for your kitty. (And any other curious critters you may have in the house!)

@Daniela – Awwww! I’m so glad you found your feline friend :) That’s heartwarming to hear. Thank you for sharing!

Everyone has such lovely stories to share! Keep them coming :)

#Fortheloveofcats

Laurie
Laurie

August 31, 2018

I just wanted to know does it clump?

Daniela
Daniela

August 31, 2018

I had been suffering from depression for years now and ever since i got my kitty 2 months ago I feel so much happier. Every time I’m upset she’s there. I cannot be sad with such a cute face around, lol. I simply adore my cat.

Alan Rosenzweig
Alan Rosenzweig

August 31, 2018

Using Pretty Litter alerted me to the fact that one of my cats had a UTI. I am so glad I use Pretty Litter.

Jerdis Cerney
Jerdis Cerney

August 31, 2018

This is the best litter I have ever had. Wish I had known about it a long time ago.

Gabi
Gabi

August 31, 2018

I had a sweet baby Minney, she was born in June 1995. I found an entire litter of 5 and nurtured them until they were old enough for their forever homes. I kept the first one I found (Minney) although I already had 2 cats ( 1yr. Old and a 2 yr old ) she was the sweetest kitty ever, all she ever longed for was to be held and cuddled. During our life together I had some major life changing events. Change of career in 1996 to a company I’m currently still with. My cat Mickey passed in 2005 he was only 12 it broke my heart and hers. I lost my mom in 2011, my uncle in 2012, my cat Baby in 2012 ( age 18 ) and the man in my life Jim in 2013. With every loss I suffered she was there for me, I got through it all because I knew that sweet baby needed me as much as I needed her. Minney passed away last year May 2017 just short of her 22nd birthday. She brought so much life to my life. I miss and think about her every single day.

Lois
Lois

August 31, 2018

There is a term in Buddhism called Bodhisattva. Basically it means “committed to spiritual awakening.” Jokingly, I call myself “Bodhicattva”: committed to cats. Much to my husband’s dismay, we have sheltered and found homes for 17 cats and kittens. We survive on a “fixed” income and at times, it’s been hard. I could not bear to be without my furry children. Unlike my own children in their teenage years, they never took the car without permission, stayed out all night without calling, and ate what was put before them without complaint. :D Through all kinds of tough times, I wonder who saved who?

Chris  Nicosia
Chris Nicosia

August 31, 2018

I just Love the story. I’m sure they all enjoyed themselves a lot! Great news. Chris

Bob Devon
Bob Devon

August 31, 2018

Our kitty”Kona” has enriched our lives. She is our second Tabby & is very similar to “Georgie” our first kitty. We lost him after nearly 15 years. Kona has been with us about 10 years and we love her as much as she loves us. We’ve been blessed with remarkable “fur babies”…

MARGARET. MONAGHAN
MARGARET. MONAGHAN

August 31, 2018

I HAVE OWNED BOTH CATS AND DOGS. BOTH ARE WONDERFUL ANIMALS—-THEY DON’T CARE HOW YOU LOOK OR WHAT YOUR RELIGION IS OR YOUR POLITICS. ALL THEY WANT IS LOVE WHICH THEY RETURN AGAIN AND AGAIN.

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