Did you know that owning a cat is beneficial for your health? We all want health and happiness, and our cats want to be happy just as much as we do. Luckily, scientific evidence supports the idea that making your cat happy—improves your health as well. Here are 4 simple ways that making your cat happy will benefit your mind, body, and soul, too.
Cats need a healthy diet of the right amount of food (not too little, not too much), fresh water at all times, a clean litter box, comfortable places to sleep, and a safe environment to play in with plenty of things to do. If you provide these things along with love and attention, your happy cat will reward you with both physical and emotional benefits. But what exactly are those benefits?
1.Your Cat's Purring is Medically Therapeutic
Let's start with the most mysterious cat behavior commonly associated with a cat's happiness: purring. While scientists still don't know exactly how or why cats purr, the general consensus is that a cat who is purring is saying, "stay with me." This is why cats purr when they like the attention you're giving them.
Although we cannot explain exactly what causes a cat to purr, we do know that the vibrations produced by purring are medically therapeutic for humans! Meaning, cats are good for your health!
When cats purr, they create vibrations within a range of 20-140 Hz. This frequency range promotes bone strength and density and is helpful in healing soft tissues like muscles, tendons, and ligaments. It is also known to help heal infection and swelling and helps us breathe better—assuming you aren't allergic.
One neurologist's study of over 4,000 adults even found that because of the healing powers of purring, owning a cat (or ever having owned one) was associated with a 40% decrease in the risk of death related to cardiovascular disease.
Considering all of that, purring may seem like a cat superpower. Even beyond purring, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention purport that owning cats can decrease your blood pressure, cholesterol levels, triglyceride levels, and feelings of loneliness. The company of a cat (or more than one!) decreases your body's production of stress hormones like adrenaline, so you're less likely to experience conditions that result from chronic stress reactions, like high blood pressure.
2. Playing With Your Cat Keeps You Active
Offering your feline some love and attention can get you moving, too. Do you work from home? If so, try taking short breaks throughout the day (even 5 minutes is great) to play with your cat. Getting up out of your desk is good for your joints, muscles, and circulation. Sitting all day is hard on your body!
In addition to those simple physical benefits, you'll likely return to your work mentally refreshed after a few minutes of smiles with your kitty.
If you leave the house for work, playing with your cat at the end of the day not only makes him or her happy (your cat misses you!) but can help you unwind after a long and potentially stressful day with a little light exercise and some laughter. My cat loves to play tag, so I get to run around the house a bit.
Even if your cat doesn't want to chase you or be chased, dangling a toy and being on your feet after your commute home is good for your body. If you have a cat that's very needy and cries at night (I do), playing with her in the evening can make her feel calm and happy, so she's more likely to let you get the quality of sleep you need to stay healthy. Remember, cats need exercise just like humans! So whether it's short breaks throughout your work day or a long play session in the evening, make sure you're giving your cat exercise to promote a healthy weight, healthy bones and joints, and happy hunting instincts.
3. Giving Your Cat Love Improves Your Happiness And Relieves Stress
From an emotional standpoint, anyone who's ever owned a cat knows that their company can relieve and reduce feelings of loneliness, sadness, anxiety, and even depression. Besides the smile that sweet little face brings to yours, there's a science behind that!
Keeping your cat healthy by playing can induce laughter and happiness for you, which is healthy for your mood-related hormones. Cats also don't put much social pressure on us, which can be a relief to those of us who suffer from anxiety.
In short, the companionship, unconditional love, boosted mood, and reduced stress hormones associated with cat ownership can promote mental and emotional health in powerful ways. Of course, if you're feeling depression that isn't lifting, please seek help from a doctor or someone else you trust.
4.Spending Time With Your Cat Makes You Laugh
We’ve mentioned laughter a few times. How many times have you laughed at your cat because of a crazy noise he made, or because watching him shake his butt and pounce at a piece of fuzz on the ground was just too funny? Your cat engages in these behaviors because he's happy and content in the home you share, and having a good laugh with (or at) your cat is a great way to reduce stress.
The Mayo Clinic explains that laughter boasts not only the short-term effects of stimulating your organ systems and soothing tension, but the long-term effects of improving your immune system, relieving pain, increasing personal satisfaction, and improving your moods. Just think: all that goodness just because your cat is a funny guy!
Because so many of these health benefits are directly related to purring or affectionate companionship, it pays off in so many ways to keep your cat happy and healthy. If you give your cat what she needs, she will reward you with happiness and health in return. After all, cats are a human's best friend, right?