14 Ways Your Cat Improves Your Health

Editor’s note: This Care2 favorite was originally posted on July 26, 2013. Enjoy!

Do yourself a favor: rev up your cat’s purr motor. You will both feel great.

It is already well-established fact that having cats or dogs in the family improves your health. Even the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention acknowledges it. Many studies have found a variety of health benefits derived from petting and interacting with companion animals.

But purring in particular? A new study has discovered that purrs aren’t just adorable, they are also therapeutic.

Daily Infographic illustrates the power of purrs:

For those of you who, like me, hadn’t a clue, “dysponea” — usually spelled “dyspnea” — means difficulty or pain with breathing.

The good news is, cuddling up with your favorite feline helps both you and the cat. Scratch her favorite spot — try her cheeks! — to get a good purr going. She’ll be ecstatic, and you will reap the health benefits. And for those who cannot take advantage of this feline-based health regimen because of cat allergies, an effective treatment may be only five years away.

Even if she doesn’t get her purr on, time with your cat, or any other animal, is still good for you. Here are just a few of the many ways that companion animals take care of humans.

Pets Help Sick People Feel Better

WebMD describes a number of benefits that ill people derive from living with pets:

1. “Alzheimer’s patients have fewer anxious outbursts” if they live with a companion animal.

2. “Pet owners with AIDS are far less likely to suffer from depression than those without pets.”

3. People who suffer from high blood pressure — and then adopt a cat or dog — navigate stressful situations with lower blood pressure than people who don’t have pets.

4. “Heart attack patients who have pets survive longer than those without.”

Pets Prevent Health Problems

5. Taking care of a pet provides elderly people with “exercise and companionship.” The effects are so positive that one company gives bonus points to elderly life insurance applicants for having a pet.

6. “Male pet owners have less sign of heart disease — lower triglyceride and cholesterol levels — than non-owners.”

7. Want your kids to breathe easy? Make sure they have furry family members. That lowers the risk that they will have allergies, asthma and even eczema — plus it strengthens their immune systems.

If you have quadripeds in the house, go play or snuggle with them at once. And if you don’t, get thee to the local animal shelter and save the life of a homeless animal. That creature will pay you back with years of good health!

Photo credit: iStockphoto/Thinkstock


Melania P
Melania P23 hours ago

Even if they didn't I just love them! I cannot live without cats. Thanks for posting!

Chrissie R
Chrissie R2 days ago


Ingrid H
Ingrid H3 days ago

Thanks for this

Suzanne L
Suzanne L4 days ago

Have had cats living with me for most of my adult life. I know I'm better off for it. They add so much happiness.

Bill E
Bill Eagle5 days ago

My cats make me feel ever so healthy. I do get a great deal of joy from them.

Freya H
Freya H10 days ago

I'm sure that I have responded to this story before, but I'm not about to scroll through over 1000 comments. I have lived with cats nearly my entire life, and I know that their mere presence relaxes me (except when they pee on the bed, or play Indianapolis 500 at oh-dark-thirty) and lifts my mood. Also, I call B.S. on that article about why you should never let your cat in your bed. I have slept with cats for years and not suffered any, except for the occasional scratch.

Anna R
Anna R12 days ago

thanks for sharing

Danii P
Danii P21 days ago

Thank you

Vincent T
Vincent T23 days ago

Thank you

David C
David C23 days ago

thank you!