Why cats are good for our health

Cats are healthy for humans

There are hardly any more relaxing sounds than the purring of a cat. Cat owners will confirm that living with a feline friend does them good. In fact, this declaration can be scientifically proven. Read in the following article why cats are good for our health.

1. Cats reduce stress levels

American researchers have been able to prove in studies that cats reduce the stress levels of their owners. Endorphins are released increasingly by stroking cats, whilst the production of stress hormones is reduced at the same time. The cat's purring intensifies the relaxing effect.

For the study, the researcher team looked for an occupational group that is exposed to high stress levels on a daily basis and opted for single stockbrokers. They were able to prove that the presence of cats had a positive effect on the test subjects. Typical stress symptoms like rising blood pressure, increased heart rate and sweat production were observed. Test subjects with a cat reacted in a more more relaxed manner in stressful situations.

2. Cats are good for the heart

Our blood pressure increases when we are stressed. Anyone who permanently suffers from high blood pressure has an increased risk of suffering from cardiovascular diseases. Since cats have a positive effect on stress levels, the risk of cardiac disease is also reduced in line with this. Indeed, studies demonstrate that cat owners were 30 percent less affected by heart attacks.

3. Cats heal bones

The purring of cats has a relaxing effect, but can do even more too. Studies demonstrate that the even humming noise made by cats has a healing effect on the bones. Hence, bone fractures heal much more quickly with cats than other mammals. Researchers discovered that the purr frequency of around 25 hertz is responsible for this. Indeed, purring also has an effect on humans. With the aid of vibration devices, researchers were able to imitate the frequency and prove the healing effect on human bones.

4. Cats reduce the risk of allergies for children

New parents are often worried that their cat could have a negative impact on their child's health, but the opposite is true. Studies prove that children who grow up with a cat have a lower risk of suffering from allergies. However, this is only the case if there is no family history.

Good to know

Children who grow up with a cat experience further advantages, as is confirmed by a number of studies. For instance, cats have a positive impact upon children's personality development. They quickly learn to assume responsibility and develop greater social competency.

Cat playing with child

5. Cats are sensitive

Cats seem to have a very fine antennae for our condition, often clearly noticing when we aren't feeling good or are sick. There are stories that hint at how sensitive cats really are. For instance, the male cat Oscar, who lives in an American care facility. He strides along the corridors on a daily basis and visits the patients. The unusual thing is that he seems to notice when a patient is on the verge of death. His predictions are so precise that care staff inform the relatives if Oscar lies by a patient for a longer period.

6. Cats can be therapeutic

Due to their positive effect on us humans, cats are now used in animal-assisted therapy too. Therapy cats can help older people with dementia or children with ADHS, for instance. They transmit a positive sensation to the patients and combat feelings of loneliness. In addition, they can reduce the distance between therapists and patients. Hence, there are numerous possibilities for deploying therapy cats.

Good to know

Therapy cats have no special training, although it does make sense for them to be people-focused and open towards strangers. Every cat is suitable in principle. For instance, Munich animal shelter has started the project “Children read to cats”. Similar to with reading dogs, children who have difficulties reading can regularly read out loud to cats, since they are good listeners and don't criticise. This gives the children a sense of security and helps them learn to read. The animal shelter cats also enjoy being stroked by their little visitors.

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