5 Reasons Cats Make You Feel Better

They help cheer you up when you’re down and they help calm you down when you’re agitated. What is it about cats that makes you feel so good? Maybe it’s their purr or the way they settle in your lap when we read a book. Maybe it’s their soft fur or gorgeous eyes or the way they poke you in the head to wake us from sleep. However they do it, studies show that cats are beneficial to your health and well-being.

5 Reasons Cats Make You Feel Better

1. Cats can reduce stress and anxiety

“Cat owners experience many benefits to their mental health,” said Sandi Laird, animal care director at North Texas no-kill shelter Operation Kindness. “Caring for your cat and having a cat to cuddle with can reduce stress levels. Purring that a cat does when it is content also had a soothing effect on the owner as well.”

Marriage and family therapist Michelle Tapia told Care2, “The presence of a cat can reduce emotions such as anxiety, loneliness, depression, or even frustration. As a result, some therapists have emotional support animals as a part of their practice.”

Lisa Bahar is a marriage and family therapist who works with clients on self-calming. “Having a cat can self-calm an individual due to the petting of the cat and how it can calm the mind, which decreases emotional intensity. It is s form of distraction and soothing of self and the cat (most do) enjoys it too.”

2. Cats provide low-maintenance companionship

According to a study published by the American Psychological Association, pets can provide social and emotional support for just about anyone.

“The low-maintenance feline lifestyle can ease your stress-filled life, and provide you with companionship even if you live in an apartment complex where dogs are prohibited,” said Kelly Meister-Yetter. “Cats are also perfect companions for those who live in big cities where dog-friendly spaces are few and far between.” The author and animal activist believes adopting a cat from a shelter can provide a “feel good” buzz for saving an animal in need.

“Unlike dogs,” said Laird, “most cats are low maintenance and make great pets for people who don’t have time to walk a dog. If hours at work are longer, the cat will be fine in the home and still be happy to greet his owners when they arrive. For the couch potatoes, it is easy to play with a cat while sitting if you have a pull toy or piece of twine to let the cat chase.”

Photo: boy with cat

3. Cats can ease loneliness and provide a sense of purpose

“My cats have given me love and saved my life by distracting me from depressed thoughts and dark thoughts so many times. (So have the dogs),” cat owner Pauline Ferguson told Care2. “Without my cats I wouldn’t be here.”

According to Bahar, “there is also a sense of connection that is unconditional (generally) with the cat and the owner, many times, the cat is an attachment and provides a purpose for someone who may be feeling depressed and even suicidal; ‘who will take care of my cat?’ is a question many ask before they do or act on something that could be fatal. Cats are little healers.”

4. Cats are easy entertainment

Cats rule the Internet. It’s almost impossible to spend any amount of time online without bumping into a cat video. Cats riding Roombas…cats hiding in boxes or bags…cats purring, jumping, climbing, chasing things… It’s hard to watch without cracking a smile or bursting out laughing. And cats are even better in person. Without even trying, they manage to perk you up on your worst days.

5. Cats are good for your heart

A University of Minnesota study found that the relative risk of death from a heart attack was 40 higher for people who never owned a cat. During the study, 5.8 percent of non cat owners died of a heart attack versus 3.4 percent of cat owners. The researchers also looked at a large national database designed to identify risk factors for cardiovascular disease. That study indicated a lower risk of heart attack for cat owners or people who had ever owned a cat.

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Kayla M
Kayla M1 days ago

Great article! Thanks!

Mike R
Mike R5 days ago

Cats are wonderful.

Mike R
Mike R5 days ago

Cats are wonderful.

HEIKKI R7 days ago

thank you

Maureen G
Maureen G9 days ago

In the morning when I pass my neighbours house I see their cat sunning herself in front of a window.....so obviously contented with her life.

Barbara S
Barbara S11 days ago

thank you for sharing

Sophie M
Sophie M12 days ago

Thank you for sharing

Janis K
Janis K14 days ago

Thanks for sharing.

John W
John W15 days ago

I think cats are adorable.

Roberto M
Roberto MARINI15 days ago

i like cats thank you