While crazy cat ladies enjoy being known for loving their kitties, we know adoring cats doesn’t make us cuckoo. In fact, being a cat lover is one of the downright most intelligent things humans can do! And besides smart, loving a cat is good for your health.
As cat lovers, we know the joy of cats. In our feline-dazzled eyes, kitty cats brighten the lives of those who love them. Perhaps it’s the whiskers. Or the jellybean toes. Maybe its kitty cats trills and chirps of love that capture our hearts. Who are we kidding? It’s these reasons and many, many more we love cats.
Really, the reasons to love cats are too numerous to list. But at the heart of the matter, being smitten with our kittens makes us happy, and when humans are happy, they typically exist in a healthier state. So, we minions of cats know our furry overlords are good for our health, but now science is backing what our hearts have been telling us since humans have fallen for cats.
Have a look at these seven reasons being a crazy cat lady is good for your health.
1. A Cat Loving Heart is a Healthy Heart
We’ve often heard petting a cat lowers our blood pressure and calms us down. Without science to tell us this, cat lovers already know the calming effects of cats. But a 2009 study published in the Journal of Vascular and Interventional Neurology offers solid proof that living with cats as companions is good for our hearts.
The study concluded cat parents have a decreased likelihood of suffering fatal cardiovascular diseases, including stroke events. Loving a cat can reduce your risk of heart disease over 30 percent, illustrating the fact cat lover hearts are typically in better shape than folks without cats.
In addition to proving cats are good for your health, the researchers performing the study also mentioned living with cats “may represent a novel strategy for reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases in high-risk individuals.” Meaning? If you’re at high risk for cardiac events, adopting a kitten or cat could be a helping factor in getting your ticker back in shape.
But a healthy heart isn’t the only upside of living with a cat.
2. Cat Cuddles Reduce Stress and Anxious Thoughts
Cats calm us down. There’s no doubt about it. When everything feels out of control, cat lovers can spend a little time with their kitty, and suddenly, the world is a less frantic place.
Why do cats calm our nerves?
In addition to lowering blood pressure, petting your cat triggers the production of serotonin, which “impacts levels of mood, anxiety, and happiness” in the brain, according to Medical News Today.
Cat hugs also combat cortisol production, which causes significant stress symptoms in humans. Though a hormone occurring naturally in the body, cortisol can raise cholesterol levels as well as cause hypertension when levels get too high. So, petting a cat is a simple way to lessen your stress and quiet anxious worry.
By boosting serotonin levels and quieting cortisol production, our bodies can exist in a place of less stress, which in turn relaxes anxious feelings. Simply put, snuggling our cats actually does help us feel calmer and safer in a scary world.
3. Cats Ease the Isolation of Depression and Mental Illness
Emotions come in highs and lows, but cats have the power to help us when we get caught in hard times. Spending time with kitty cats not only reduces worry but also elevates our mood. The same serotonin that helps ease anxiety also plays a role in leveling mood. It’s been long suspected low serotonin levels and depression are connected, but the rush of chemicals brought from loving a cat can help combat the underproduction of serotonin. Adequate levels of serotonin flowing from the brain mean a happier human, which once again proves loving a cat is good for your health.
Snuggling your cat also floods your body with the “cuddle chemical,” known scientifically as oxytocin. In an article for Live Science, Dr. Carol Rinkleib Ellison defines oxytocin as the “hormone of attachment,” explaining, “It creates feelings of calm and closeness.”
By feeling attached and close to cats, cat people struggling with depression and mental illness don’t feel so alone with the overwhelming shadows these issues can create. Cats remind us we aren’t alone, and things will get better. In fact, cats serve as ideal therapy animals for those needing emotional support due to mental illnesses like depression, PTSD, anxiety, and panic attacks.
4. Cats Help Prevent the Woes of a Stuffy Nose
While your cat may not make you sneeze, other allergens can still tickle your nasal passages. But, living covered in cat fur and dander can strengthen immune responses to other common allergy triggers. A study published in Clinical & Experimental Allergy reveals children living with a cat tend to have fewer allergies as they age into adulthood. Exposure to cat fur can naturally toughen kid’s immune systems.
Veterinarian, Dr. David Haworth explains, “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.”
Simply put, all the cat hair in your house makes you and your family invincible! No, not really, but whether striped, patched, or mono-colored, kitty cat fur helps to ease allergy woes, offering proof again loving a cat is good for you.
5. Purr Power is Healing Power for Overall Health
In general, cats are good for your health. As we care for them, they care for us, helping us remember to be happy and healthy in both mind and body. And when a cat lady hears their fur baby purring, good things are happening in the body.
“Cats create purr vibrations within a range of 20 – 140 Hz, known to be medically therapeutic for many illnesses.” Purr vibrations in this range have been shown to:
- Lower stress levels and blood pressure
- Decrease risk of heart attack
- Aid in the healing of infections and swelling
- Helps heal issues with the body’s soft tissues
- Promotes bone strength
It’s no wonder cat lovers go for crazy for their feline’s purring. Beyond knowing your cat is happy and feeling secure, we can feel the goodness of their purrs running all through us, proving once more, cats are good for your health.
6. Cats Cultivate Compassion
When your best friend is a cat, the love you feel for your sweet kitty cultivates compassion that expands beyond your home. Meeting and exceeding our cat buddy’s needs reminds us to be more aware of the world we live in. Caring for others creates a sense of contentment which leads to a more settled feeling in life. The happier and more content we are as human beings, the healthier we tend to be. Yet another reason cats are good for your health.
7. Cats Make Sleep a Dream
When one needs guidance on how to sleep better, cats should be consulted first. The feline kind are masters of comfort. And when a cat lover curls up with her kitty, it’s easy to channel their expert ways of snoozing. While we might not stick our paws in the air to find our ideal napping position, a good number of humans do tend to rest more deeply with a cat nearby.
A team of researchers from the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Arizona, found almost half of people who sleep in the same room as their animal friends tend to sleep better and “described feeling secure, content and relaxed.”
Lack of sleep comes with a host of issues that can lead to medical problems. So, the better one sleeps, the healthier they tend to be. Which means cat lovers can sleep soundly.
7. Laughter is the Best Medicine and Cats Offer the Perfect Dose
Cats make us laugh with their silly antics, and who doesn’t feel better after a good cackling?
Mental Floss outlines how laughter is good for the body and soul:
- Helps lower blood pressure
- Reduces the power of anxiety and other dark emotions
- Acts as a natural anti-depressant
- Boosts immune system function
- Quiets pain in the body
- Burns calories
So, when your kitty cat starts acting a fool, and you’re reduced to a pile of giggles, thank him! Your fur darling is helping you get healthy!
While the explanations are scientific, the results seem simple. Cats are good for your health, so being a crazy cat lady is actually one of the sanest things you can do to keep your mind and body in good health.