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Cats can help reduce anxiety, says study · The wildest

Cat parents know that living with and loving their pets is the best thing there is. You get hugs, company and a camera roll full of photos of your pet sleeping, sitting or just existing. Honestly, what’s better than that?

Well, what about the fact that cat parenting actually is Good for you? Researchers have found that cats in particular may offer potential mental health benefits for humans. Although the science is not definitive, a 2021 study found that pet parenthood in general may be linked to fewer symptoms of anxiety and depression. Other research has shown that cat parents laugh more often and spontaneously were 36 percent less likely to report loneliness, and reported that their pet had a positive impact on their mental health.

Let’s be honest: you’re going to hug them anyway. And as you take care of them, they will take care of you too. We spoke to experts in animal research and human psychology to find out how your cat can act as your own personal therapy animal.

The link between cats and mental health

If you’ve ever petted puppies or kittens during finals week in college or during a stressful day at work, you’re probably well aware that a cute, fluffy face can cheer up almost anyone (even if you still had to take those statistics). last). In fact, a study from Washington State University found that petting or cuddling a cat for just 10 minutes relieved stress and improved students’ mood. It’s no wonder that many colleges and universities are turning to cats and kittens for much-needed stress relief for students facing tough tests. Cats can also work as therapy animals in hospitals and nursing homes for their ability to bring joy and comfort to people.

“There is evidence from scientific studies that interactions with a companion animal, whether a pet or a therapy animal, can provide people with physical and mental health benefits,” said Seana Dowling-Guyer, associate director at the Center for Shelter Dogs at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine from Tufts University, says.

However, Dowling-Guyer notes that the research is not yet conclusive, mainly because not enough studies have been completed on how cat parenting affects mental health. “In all likelihood, if someone wants to have a pet and has a good relationship with their pet because of the regular, positive interactions and companionship, there are probably benefits to owning a pet,” she says.

Hugs and company

You can cuddle your cat them happy (hence the purring ), but cuddling a cat can help lower the amount of cortisol, also known as the stress hormone, in your body. Some studies suggest that just spending time with your cat can actually lower your heart rate and blood pressure. Cat parenting can even help some people cope with long-term mental health issues.

Dr. Gregory Kushnicka psychologist in New York City, notes that simply having a pet in the home “lowers your heart rate, combats loneliness, and increases the mental and physical experiences associated with attachment.”

The power of spinning

A cat’s purr can be cute, but it can also be healing. The frequency of their purring is between 25 and 150 Hertz – the same range as the vibration and electrical frequencies used in clinical settings to treat pain and injuries. Many experts believe that cats purr are a self-soothing mechanism, and they may be able to pass that calming effect on to you.

That’s right: Your cat’s purring can help reduce your stress and lower your blood pressure. So sit back and enjoy the benefits of their sweet purrs, even if it sounds like a lawnmower is spinning around your house.

Finding purpose in caring for your cat

A cat can help reduce feelings of loneliness while providing the stability of a routine. Having someone else to care for can give your life a sense of focus and meaning, even in the smallest ways. A 2017 study found that cat parents reported fewer feelings of depression, at 44 percent of them felt that their cats gave them ‘a sense of security’.

“Cats provide a low-maintenance version of companionship,” says Dr. Kushnick. “They are often so self-sufficient that you don’t have to adjust your schedule to meet their needs.”

Just like dogs, anywaycats can provide support that can be beneficial for people who suffer from anxiety symptoms. “Cats reduce our anxiety by making us feel loved, giving us a sense of calm and closeness, and allowing us to soothe ourselves through stroking, sharing moments together and listening to them,” adds Dr. Kushnick. “They make us feel less alone.”

In a study where researchers interviewed cat parentsthey found that most activities people did with their cats increased feelings of fun and provided a sense of purpose. Caring for a cat has allowed people to reduce their stress levels, better manage their emotions, and even increase their ability to cope with difficult life circumstances.

Cats are often seen as aloof or aloof, especially when compared to their canine counterparts, but they get a bad rap in that regard. They can be quite wild with affection and be your purring-and-cuddle machine 24/7. Whether it’s playing, cuddling or cleaning up the litter box (Okay, maybe not that last one), but remember: a cat a day (or just the same cat every day) keeps the doctor away. Unless you’re allergic, you know – then you need that doctor’s allergy shots.

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