How cats help improve our physical and mental health

2022. September 15.

So, the time has come to choose a pet, and you have many options. Those who want a furry friend in their home, but have a busy lifestyle, usually turn to cats for company.

Perhaps it is the independence of this much-loved animal that has traditionally made cats personal favourites in the household; there is no feeling like when you get home and can pet your kittens.

Behind the warm hugs and purrs there is an animal that improves your mental health by reducing stress. They also offer companionship, relieve pain, and serve as therapy animals.

But why do cats have such a positive effect on us? And what can we do if it is not possible to have a permanent cat-roommate in our own home? We answer this with our article.

Why do cats have a positive effect on us?

Whether you’re dealing with a cuddly kitty or a quiet, introverted cat who likes their own space, you can experience a lot of positive feelings and changes in your life when you’re surrounded by cats.

So we’ve rounded up some lesser-known scientific facts that prove how amazing creatures cats really are!

1. Cats reduce the risk of heart disease

Studies have shown that being close to cats relieves stress, which reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease. This means that the time spent with them can reduce the possibility of various heart diseases and stroke by approximately 30 percent.

2. Their purring helps bones, tendons and muscles heal

A cat’s purr is one of the most soothing sounds in the world. While this sound certainly means your cat is happy and comfortable, it has long been associated with the therapeutic healing power of human bones and muscles.

A cat’s purr produces vibrations between 20 and 140 Hz, and studies have shown that frequencies in the range of 18 to 35 Hz have a positive effect on joint mobility after an injury.

Cat therapy

3. They reduce stress and anxiety

When you have a cat around, you can experience calming changes in your body that come with reduced stress and anxiety. A simple caress is usually enough to make both you and your cat happier.

4. They have a positive effect on human relationships

Cats are creatures that we take care of, and they take care of us in return (even if we don’t always see it because of their character 😊). People who invest emotionally in this animal-human bond can also see their human-to-human relationships improve and develop.

Research has shown that cat owners are more socially sensitive and trust others more.

When someone – be it a person or an animal – makes us feel good, it improves our ability to be kind and generous to others.

In addition, cats play the role of a kind of social ‘catalyst’ – they start conversations and provide common topics with others.

5. They help prevent allergies

We often hear that cat hair is one of the most common allergens. However, if a child is surrounded by cats in the first few years of their life, they are more likely to develop an immune system that fights not only allergies caused by cats, but also other types of allergens.

Cats are great therapy animals – we can heal with our animal companions

Cats are very important for our mental and physical health as well. Since they can calm you down, reduce your stress level, and provide companionship, cats are great therapy animals in many areas.

You can find therapy animals in many settings — schools, hospitals, and rehabilitation centres.

For instance, horses are popular as therapy animals with addicts because of their need for trust and bonding. Dogs are popular therapy animals among soldiers suffering from PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). They have a similar calming effect as cats have on their owners.

Those who suffer from dementia, have experienced sexual abuse, or even those who suffer from seizures seek out and value therapy animals on both an emotional and physical level.

Although cats are not a substitute for medicine or therapy, their positive effects on mental health are undeniable.

Being with cats is relaxing

Cats are loving and affectionate animals – despite their reputation as aloof and stubborn animals.

While every cat is different, we love and celebrate their unique personalities and quirks.

Perhaps few people know that cats help our mental health the most by being their authentic selves. Their ability to reduce stress, provide companionship, heal with purrs, and do all the good they can as therapy animals makes them outstanding creatures in the field of mental health.

Not to mention that, like other pets, they are accepting, openly attached to people, consistent, honest, and loyal. They have all the qualities that a person needs to feel appreciated and loved.

Closing thoughts

The next time your kitty rubs against you, pet them lovingly and thank them for boosting your mental well-being.

If you don’t have a cat at home and don’t have the opportunity to become a cat owner, we look forward to welcoming you to Cat Museum Budapest, where you can cuddle with these wonderful creatures.