It’s no secret that pets make our lives better. Whether you’re a cat person or a dog person (or a rabbit, bird, or horse person!) you’ve probably noticed that spending time around your pets is a huge mood-booster.
In honour of Mental Health Awareness Week (from 15th to 21st May) we are celebrating our pets and the positive mental health benefits that cat ownership can bring. Caring for and sharing our homes with cats isn’t just a guaranteed mood-boost - it can help to relieve stress and anxiety, and even help our physical health. Let’s look at some of the ways in which cats can positively impact our mental health…
Studies have shown that being close to cats can reduce stress in humans. Playing with or petting our cats can boost levels of serotonin and dopamine, those infamous “happy hormones” which help to relax us.
Cats purr when they’re content, but they can also purr to help soothe themselves. It’s believed that when cats purr, it releases endorphins that help to calm them, but research has shown that the sounds of a cat purring can also have a similar effect on us humans!
The stress-reducing effects of cats also has a positive effect for our physical health, as well as our mental health - the reduction in stress can also lower the risk of cardiovascular disease, and studies have shown that, in stressful situations, pet owners have lower blood pressure than non pet owners.
We might be biased but we think that cats make excellent housemates. They’re always there to greet you when you come home, they take up the perfect amount of sofa space, and they’re great at listening and rarely answer back.
Having a cat around can really help with loneliness, which is known to negatively impact both our mental and physical health. The companionship provided by a cat (or two, or three) can be hugely beneficial to our mental health, and even more so for those who live alone or may be more socially isolated.
Take a look at the ways cats show affection to see how our cats demonstrate that they’re happy and content in our company, too.
Routine & Structure
Most cat owners can attest to their pets being a very effective alarm clock, and their commitment to routine and meal times can have a positive knock-on effect for us humans too. Having (and keeping to) structure and routine in our daily life is great for our mental health, and the feeding, play and care required by our cats is one way to maintain this.
A cat is definitely not going to forget that it’s breakfast time, and they’ll definitely remind you regularly when it’s time to play or to be fed!
Along with providing routine and structure to our daily lives, our cats can also provide great motivation - whether it’s simply getting out of bed in the morning, or getting up off the sofa to play. Caring for our cats helps to give us purpose, even on the laziest or greyest of days.
To find out more on the topic, take a look at the articles we referenced:
19/05/2023 by NatuTeam