There are over 210 million cats worldwide, with around 96 million in US homes. Known for their versatile, sometimes introverted yet at other times playful personality, having kittens as pets is one of life's greatest pleasures and brings a number of benefits to their owners, including physical and mental health. Check out 7 of the many benefits that these cute four-legged furry friends can offer us, besides, of course, their unconditional love:
1) Purring, the cure for various ailments: that vibration that the kitten makes when it is comfortable and getting affection, has a great therapeutic potential. The 20 to 140 Hz vibration that is produced can improve your health in multiple ways. It has been scientifically proven (see study here: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3317329/) that interacting with them helps lower blood pressure, so cat owners are 40% less likely to have a heart attack, and purring vibrations can also help cure infections, decrease swelling, strengthen our bones and relieve dyspnea (feeling short of breath). Phew, that alone is reason enough to have several furry friends! But there is still much more.
2) Relieve our stress: having a cat or other pet is a way to eliminate stress and anxiety since they help reduce levels of cortisol, the stress-related hormone.
3) Get rid of insomnia: sometimes we imagine that the cat sleeps in our bed to keep itself warm. Yes, but that's not all. When it comes time to sleep, they also seek affection and protection. Then the reciprocal ends up happening, because that protection ends up reflecting in the owner, who relaxes more and sleeps much better. If you are having difficulty sleeping, try putting a cat in front of you for 5 minutes and feel the weight of the day-to-day fatigue go away.
4) Make us laugh and become more productive: a study in the United States (http://archive.news.indiana.edu/releases/iu/2015/06/internet-cat-video-research.shtml) has shown that watching videos of cats on the internet has turned into one of the most popular pastimes today because people feel more excited and positive. After seeing some cat photos and videos, people start working much more productively.
5) Support communication with people who have autism: animal therapy has been shown to be a great tool because patients feel a strong connection with the animal. One study found that children with pets feel calmer and are more sociable. When petting a cat, oxytocin levels - a hormone whose function is to regulate our sensitivity to fear - can increase, thereby increasing feelings of trust and love.
6) Reduce allergies in children: some believe that wherever there is a baby there shouldn’t be any cats. However, children under the age of 1 who grow up around cats have been shown to be less likely to develop allergies and asthma. Being around animals at the beginning of our development is a way to prevent allergies from arising later (to both animals or dust). Children who are raised in contact with pets are more resistant to developing these diseases because their immune system gets stronger. Still don’t believe it? Check out the British National Institutes of Health study by clicking here https://web.archive.org/web/20021004100013/http://www.nih.gov/news/pr/aug2002/niaid-27.htm .
7) Act like our therapists: human facial expressions can be easily read by cats to differentiate between specific emotional signs, which makes them easily respond to each situation, in turn making us happier. This is also why feelings of sadness go away more easily for people who have cats, and living with them reduces feelings of loneliness, anxiety and depression. That's because when a human spends part of their day around a kitten, hormones are produced, such as oxytocin, prolactin and serotonin, which improve ones mood.
So, did you enjoy learning about all of the benefits that kittens bring to our physical and mental health? Like our page on Instagram and stay up to date about news on our blog.