You may dismiss it as feline fanaticism but there is growing medical evidence to suggest that owning a cat can have a really positive impact on your physical health and mental wellbeing. Here are just some of the top health benefits.
Cat owners are less likely to suffer from cardiovascular disease
Recent studies have revealed that cat owners are less likely to suffer from a heart attack, have lower blood pressure than their peers and lower cholesterol than the owners of other pets. Whilst the precise reasons for the findings are yet to be determined, it is suggested that owning a cat reduces stress levels and anxiety as cats have a calming presence. Not shockingly, stroking a cat in fact lowers your heart rate.
There are therapeutic benefits to owning a cat
Living with a pet cat triggers the release of the hormone oxytocin which induces feelings of love and trust. Talking to a cat enables you to work through problems and articulate your anxieties, just as you might with a therapist. There are also findings that suggest that owners who sleep with their pet cat on the bed experience a much better quality of sleep.
Living with a cat boosts your immunity to allergies
Some asthma suffers may find their condition exacerbated by living with a cat but for non-asthma sufferers, living in close proximity to a cat can actually prevent allergies.
Now, before you rush out and buy a cat there are a few things to consider…
You should work out the costs of keeping a cat before hand to stay away from any ugly surprises. If you’ve got your heart set on a pedigree, then be prepared to pay upward of five hundred pounds. You should also be aware that pedigree animals are in general more prone to illness. Of course, you can radically cut the cost by adopting a cat from a shelter, but be aware that the previous treatment that the cat has undergone may have an effect on their behaviour.
A cat’s food bill is nothing like that of keeping a big dog, but it is an expense and you do need to factor it in. A potentially significant outgoing is the necessity of taking your pet to the vet. It makes sense to take out pet insurance so that you don’t get a nasty shock if there’s the need for sustained medication or surgery. Make sure you shop around to get the best deal.
Is your home suitable?
However much you want a cat you need to be realistic about whether a cat will be able to live safely and happily in your home. These little friends need access to an outdoor space. Will you need a cat-flap and if you are in rented accommodation how will your landlord feel about a cat and cat-flap? Is there a big barky dog next door which will turn you and your cat into nervous wrecks? Do you live on a busy road? Especially if you’ve never owned a cat before, you really need to think through the practicalities.
Do you have the time?
Part of the appeal of owning a cat is that they are low maintenance, but they’re not no maintenance. They need feeding, grooming and most importantly they need companionship, so if your lifestyle involves regular working away or you enjoy long weekends at the coast, then it’s probably not right to bring a cat into your life.