The benefits of cat ownership extend well beyond the joy of companionship (although that’s important too!). At Lone Tree Veterinary Medical Center, we absolutely adore cats of all ages and breeds, which is why we want to share our thoughts on why your cat is good for both your mental and physical health.
Health Benefits of Cat Ownership
It’s generally accepted that there are health benefits associated with owning a dog, but cat owners also reap the physical benefits of spending time with their feline companions:
- Cat owners are 30-40% less likely to die of a heart attack than non-pet owners.
- People who live with cats have a reduced incidence of stroke, possibly due to the calming effect of cats or because the act of caring for a cat helps distract from the daily stress of life.
- Levels of oxytocin (the hormone responsible for feelings of love and trust) are higher in cat owners.
- Kids who grow up with a cat in the home are less likely to develop allergies and asthma, thanks to the early exposure to pet dander and the opportunity to build up antibodies to dander.
- In general, pet owners have lower blood pressure and reduced levels of stress compared to those who don’t live with a pet.
Other Reasons Cats can be Purr-fect
As anyone who shares life with a cat already knows, there are many other benefits of cat ownership, including:
- Cats can boost your mental health – Many studies have linked cat ownership with lower levels of depression among humans. Regardless of how independent a cat is, owning one can significantly reduce feelings of loneliness and help cat owners cope with life’s hardships.
- They fit into smaller spaces – Compared to dogs and other higher maintenance pets, cats are fairly easy to care for and don’t require large amounts of space. Apartment dwellers and people without outdoor spaces are able to enjoy cat ownership indoors, while still providing for a cat’s needs.
- Cats are quiet – Cats don’t make noise like dogs, which makes them ideal for apartment and condominium dwellers or people living in spaces with shared walls.
- They don’t need walks – Because they don’t require daily walks (although they can be leash trained!), cats make especially good pets for people with limited mobility or time. Anyone can enjoy playing with or hanging out with a cat, no walking or running required!
- Are easier on food and waste – Cats eat less (which helps the budget) and produce less waste that larger pets. Their waste is also easier to manage by being contained to a small indoor space (litter box).
- Like to keep themselves clean – Most cats do a pretty good job of keeping themselves clean, and can usually be kept unmatted and groomed with some daily brushing.
- They’re naturals at rodent control – Cats by nature love to hunt and can be very helpful at keeping mice and other small rodents under control in your household.
Helping them Thrive
Although caring for a cat is relatively easy, there are still certain things they need to stay mentally challenged and physically healthy. High perches for surveying their domain, plenty of toys to play with, one litter box per cat (plus one extra), and lots of love and affection are all important to a cat’s well being. It is also important to maintain their yearly check-ups and vaccination schedules with your veterinarian, in order to catch problems early before they become chronic or expensive to treat. Remember, cats are really good at hiding pain or illness.
Do you have a question or concern about your wonderful feline companion? Please don’t hesitate to let our staff know. We’re always here for you and your pet!