Any pet parent will tell you that animals have a positive impact on mood, with 9 out of 10 people surveyed stating that living with a cat helps their mental health.
For World Mental Health Day (10th Oct), and in these uncertain times, we’re looking at a few of the ways in which cats help with our mental health.
Cats And Mental Health
Sharing your home with a cat, whilst it may have some drawbacks, is one of the best ways to combat loneliness. Having someone to come home to, share moments with, and even talk to (sometimes it’s handy that they don’t talk back) can be such a benefit for humans, who are social creatures, after all.
There are few things in the world that are as comforting as the sound of a cat’s purr, especially when they are curled up on your lap.
It’s little wonder then, that at the beginning of the lockdown in the UK, fostering of pets almost doubled and many people realised just how much they cherish sharing their lives with a furry friend, and who can blame them?
Someone to look after
The responsibility of caring for a cat is a serious undertaking, but one that is so rewarding. 15% of people surveyed said that their four-legged friend improves their sense of wellbeing, while 11% placed the greatest value on their pet’s ability to make them laugh.
Even on a basic level, the daily structured routine of feeding time can really help maintain a sense of control within our world - Hands up whose cat has woken them up for breakfast…
Cats are fairly independent, they're self-cleaning, easy to entertain, and they sleep for up to 16 hours a day on average, making them a perfect low-maintenance companion for those seeking the sense of pride and accomplishment that comes with caring for a fellow sentient being.
Do Cats Help With Anxiety?
While they may be known the world over as fussy, stand-offish creatures, people who live with cats know different. In their own ways, our cats show their love and affection in many different forms.
Cats couldn’t give a hairball for how much money you make, how you look, or how many likes your photo gets, they are content with the warmth, food, and occasional belly rubs you (carefully) provide, and that’s good enough for them.
Because cats aren’t particularly social with each other, the bond they have with their paw-rents is strong, particularly in the case of indoor cats, such as those who have FIV or other reasons that they need to stay inside. To them, you are their whole world.
With the 24 hour news cycle and a world that feels like it is constantly changing, the consistency of a cat’s routine is something we can all learn from, it seems cats always know the best time to take a nap too, so next time yours does, join it!
Sweet music to your ears
As mentioned earlier, a cat’s purr is one of the most soothing sounds to hear. Like your own personal white noise machine, it seems the noise is designed to provide a sense of calm, not just from the meditative consistency, but from knowing that the cause of it is your cat’s contentment.
According to The Independent: “The low frequency of a cat's purr causes a series of vibrations inside their body that can ease breathing, heal injuries and build muscle, while acting as a form of pain relief.
Not only does it help soothe the cat, but it is thought that there are health benefits for owners. Cat owners are at 40 per cent lower risk of a heart attack lower blood pressure after interacting with cats and hearing their soft purrs.”
A two-way street
It isn’t just us that benefit from our relationship with our feline friends. A study shows that the level of oxytocin (AKA the “love hormone”) in cats rose by 12% after playing with their human for 10 minutes. Another study found that cats actually prefer interacting with their human to food, previously thought to be the only motivator on the kitties’ radar.
How has your cat helped you? We’d love to hear your story, let us know on social media.
09/10/2020 by NatuTeam