Human Health Benefits of Living With a Cat
Cats have an obvious, positive impact on our day-to-day experience, but did you know that they may also have a positive impact on your health? Let's take a look at all the ways living with a cat can improve your life!
Stress Reduction and Improved Mental Health
Living with a cat can significantly reduce stress levels. Interacting with a cat has been found to lower the production of stress hormones like cortisol, while simultaneously increasing the production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter associated with feelings of well-being and happiness. Simply petting a cat can trigger the release of oxytocin, a hormone that helps reduce anxiety and promote relaxation!
One study published in the Journal of Vascular and Interventional Neurology found that cat owners have a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, including heart attacks. The presence of a cat is believed to create a calming effect, leading to reduced blood pressure and a decreased risk of hypertension.
Better Sleep Quality
Contrary to popular belief (and the preconceived notions you may have if you've ever dealt with a restless kitten), sharing a bed with a cat can actually improve your sleep quality. Having a cat in your bedroom can provide a sense of security and companionship, leading to better sleep. The rhythmic sound of a cat's purring has a soothing effect, promoting relaxation and reducing stress levels, which in turn can aid in falling asleep faster and enjoying a deeper sleep.
However, it is important to note that sharing a bed with a cat may not be suitable for everyone, especially those with allergies or sleep disturbances triggered by pet-related factors. It's always essential to consult with a healthcare professional if you have any concerns.
Emotional Support and Reduced Feelings of Loneliness
Cats can provide valuable emotional support, especially for individuals living alone or experiencing feelings of loneliness. The companionship offered by a cat can help alleviate feelings of isolation, depression, and anxiety. A study published in the Journals of Gerontology highlighted that elderly individuals living with a cat reported feeling less lonely and experienced improved mental well-being compared to those without a feline companion.
Boosted Immune System
While those with cat allergies would likely give some pushback, research suggests that exposure to cats early in life can actually reduce the risk of developing allergies and asthma. Children exposed to cats during the first year of life have been found to have a reduced risk of developing allergies by up to 50%.
Additionally, researchers have discovered that exposure to a cat's microbiota (the beneficial bacteria in their gut) can positively impact the human immune system! This exposure may help regulate the immune response, potentially reducing the risk of certain autoimmune disorders and allergies.
Living with a cat and sharing a bed with them can offer numerous health benefits, ranging from stress reduction and improved mental health to better sleep quality and increased emotional support. While these benefits are well-documented, it's important to consider individual circumstances and preferences. If you decide to share your bed with a cat (though that isn't really your decision to make, is it? We all know who calls the shots around here!), ensure a comfortable and safe sleeping environment for both you and your feline companion.
Remember, adopting a cat should always be a well-considered decision, taking into account factors such as allergies, lifestyle, and commitment to providing proper care. If you're unsure about adopting a cat, especially if you have young children, consider volunteering at a local animal shelter or fostering cats to experience the benefits firsthand.
Traveling and in need of a companion for your kitty while you're away? Meowtel has you covered with our nationwide network of vetted cat sitters! Get connected with your purrfect pet sitter today for drop-in or overnight visits, and enjoy peace of mind while you enjoy your vacation.