The research is in. And it says that being a cat lover is good for your health and well-being. The study also declared that petting your fuzzy feline friend releases stress.
We already knew pets have a positive impact on health, but “crazy cat ladies” often get a bad rap. The new study, published in the journal Psychological Medicine, found no link between cat ownership and any sort of psychosis later in life. But not only that, it also found that petting a cat releases the hormone oxytocin, which is a known a “bonding” hormone and helps eliminate stress.
Cat lovers are also often smarter and more sensitive than others too. A 2014 study found that those who identify as cat lovers are more introverted but more open-minded and sensitive than dog lovers. Cat lovers also scored higher in intelligence testing than a canine’s companions. The sound of a cat’s purr can also be good for the heart by calming your nervousness and lowering your blood pressure. In fact, in a study published in the Journal of Vascular and Interventional Neurology, researchers noticed a link between cat ownership and a decreased risk of dying from heart attack or stroke.
Cats may also help prevent or reduce allergic reactions too. According to a study published in the journal Clinical & Experimental Allergy, teens who were exposed to cats during their first year of life were less likely to develop an allergy to fur babies as a result. “The theory is that by giving the immune system something natural to work on, it develops in a healthy, normal manner and isn’t always overreacting to non-dangerous stimuli,” says Haworth.
And let’s not forget perhaps the most advantageous effect of any pet ownership; keeping loneliness at bay. Cats and dogs both offer companionship in a world where human interaction is rapidly decreasing. “People are a little more disconnected these days,” says Melanie Greenberg, Ph.D., licensed clinical psychologist and author of The Stress-Proof Brain. “And research shows that loneliness is a big factor for all kinds of diseases.” For example, one recent study linked loneliness to an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
Of course, cat ladies didn’t need any of these studies to know that having a warm ball of fur snuggled on a lap was good for their well-being. According to 2015 market survey of cat owners by the pet food industry, 40 percent of women (compared with 25 percent of men) strongly agree that their cats are good for their physical health. And 52 percent of women (compared with 28 percent of men) strongly agree that their cats are good for their mental health, too.
So toss those silly stereotypes away, and be yourself, cat ladies! After all, you now have scientific proof that it’s good for your health.
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Contributed by Dawn Luger of The Daily Sheeple.