Being called a “crazy cat lady” used to be a negative thing, usually reserved for single women with a house full of cats. But it turns out there are plenty of good reasons to actually embrace being a “crazy cat person.” Where did that expression come from, anyway? According to NBC News:
“Besides medieval hysteria about witches and their trusty black sidekicks, some of this fear may have stemmed from the notion that toxoplasmosis — an infection caused by a parasite found in cat feces (along with undercooked meat and contaminated water) could cause people to lose their minds. People like cat ladies.
But a recent study published in the journal Psychological Medicine found no link between cat ownership and any sort of psychosis later in life.
“The Centers for Disease Control estimates that more than 60 million people in the United States may be infected with the Toxoplasma parasite through all means, including cats,” says David Haworth, doctor of veterinary medicine, Ph.D., and president of PetSmart Charities, “but very few people show symptoms because a healthy person’s immune system usually keeps the parasite from causing illness.”
In fact, it turns out that the cats in our lives are doing the opposite of making us crazy. They actually may be improving our health.”
Let’s take a look at all the ways that cats improve our lives.
#1 – Cat lovers are smart and sensitive
A 2014 survey found that cat lovers were more intelligent and more sensitive than dog lovers, who tended to be more outgoing and active. Psychoanalyst Steve McKeown, the founder of MindFixers and the owner of The McKeown Clinic, told vt:
“Cat people are more likely to possess university degrees than dog owners. Educated people tend to work longer hours and opt for pets that compliment their personal circumstances and lifestyle.”
Okay, so maybe owning a cat doesn’t necessarily make your smarter, but lots of intelligent people choose cats over dogs. That’s still a win for cat lovers!
#2 – They keep your heart healthy
A study published in 2008 by researchers at the University of Minnesota’s Stroke Institute followed nearly 4,500 people, of which 3 out of 5 people owned a cat for 10 years. They found that the cat owners were 30% less likely to die from a heart attack than people who didn’t own cats. A follow-up study published the next year confirmed that cat owners were less likely to die from any cardiovascular event, including a stroke, than people who didn’t own cats. This may be due in part to the next item on the list…
#3 – Cat purrs help reduce stress
According to MNN, studies have shown that cats are better at reducing stress and lowering blood pressure than any other pet. The frequency of their purr has been shown to have many medical benefits for both the cats themselves and their owners. According to Scientific American:
“Scientists have demonstrated that cats produce the purr through intermittent signaling of the laryngeal and diaphragmatic muscles. Cats purr during both inhalation and exhalation with a consistent pattern and frequency between 25 and 150 Hertz. Various investigators have shown that sound frequencies in this range can improve bone density and promote healing.”
#4 – They make you laugh
More research is emerging all the time showing the health benefits of laughing. One study showed that watching funny videos for 20 minutes significantly reduced people’s levels of cortisol, the stress hormone. It also helped them perform better on a memory recall test.
Another study showed that a sense of humor can protect against heart disease. Anybody who has ever spent any time on YouTube – or ever owned a cat – knows how hilarious the antics of a cat can be. So the next time your cat misses a jump, know that they’re doing their part to extend your life – and the quality of your life.