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Is having a cat good for anxiety? Let’s explore this question in more detail.
Why are we talking about cats and anxiety?
Most of us are locked up at home with work suspended while some of us are working from home, with little access to the outside world (except for grocery runs).
We watch the news and yet there is no definite answer for a vaccine or when things will go back to normal.
Let me ask you…
Does the news about COVID-19 make you feel nervous when you see it in the news? When you see the sudden rise in a number of cases in your area, do you feel like you’re suffocating?
Are you having trouble sleeping because of overthinking?
If you answered yes to these questions, you probably have anxiety.
I am not a professional doctor and we are not clinically diagnosing anyone. You can have anxiety without having an anxiety disorder. Learn to recognize anxiety before it becomes unbearable and you need the help of a professional.
I have a cat myself and I have mild anxiety. A friend advised me to adopt a cat because it helps my condition.
At this challenging time, we are all nervous in one way or another.
I’d like to share with you some research on why cats can help with your anxiety. Do you have a cat at home? You are about to find out more things about them.
It turns out these furry little creatures offer a lot of health benefits.
Here are the reasons why owning a cat is good for anxiety:
1. Owning a cat is good for your heart
According to one study cat owners have decreased risk for death due to stroke, heart attack, and other cardiovascular diseases. The participants in the study were 4,500 individuals, male and female, ages 30-75.
In contrast, people who did not have a cat were 40% more likely to die.
Cats are also low maintenance. You don’t have to walk or bathe them regularly. Time is spent cleaning their litter, feeding them, petting them, playing with them–that’s it.
This may be one of the reasons why having cats is less stressful and not as laborious as caring for other pets.
2. Cats purr, which relieves stress, anxiety, and more.
A cat’s purr creates a vibrational frequency of 20-140Hz. It is therapeutic. Experiencing a cat’s purr relieves stress, lowers blood pressure, heals aching bones and muscles, and even reduces infection and swelling.
It is similar to the vibration of equipment used in muscle therapy.
After having a tedious day at work or after getting stressed by watching the news, just stroke your cat until it purrs andy you will feel the calming effect it brings.
3. Owning a cat will help you sleep better
In the UK, women prefer to snuggle with their pet cat or dog rather than their partners, according to a poll.
However, according to a separate study, 41 percent were proven to have slept better beside their pet cat.
4. Cats are great for therapy and good for anxiety
We know that dogs can be trained and certified as emotional support animals that help assist a person psychologically and in emergency situations.
If you are emotionally disabled, certified by medical professionals, you are qualified to register your dog as an emotional support animal.
But did you know that cats are qualified to be emotional support animals, too?
They help in different ways. While they can’t bark and ask for help, they have the ability to calm you down and lower your stress levels.
Cats are used in some hospitals and rehab centers for routine therapy.
People who suffer from dementia, have experienced sexual assault, or even those that suffer from seizures use both cats and dogs in Animal-assisted therapy (AAT).
My experience: I used to have panic attacks every day, big ones. Ever since we adopted our cat, I no longer have panic attacks on a daily basis. I still have them occasionally, like once every two months.
I used to take Clonazepam on a daily basis to control my panic attacks and because of my furry friend, I no longer have to take them.
Here’s a story about Kennedy from Hillspet.com, who adopted a cat when she became a first-year student in college. She has always struggled with anxiety and knew that going away to college would exacerbate it.
Kennedy says: “I have always had anxiety, but it has increased exponentially these past two years. Before I got my kitten, I would color, watch TV, or go on a run.”
This is a story from 2016. According to Kennedy, her anxiety has gone down significantly and for her, the best feeling in the world is going home to her cat after an arduous day at school. Her cat had helped her cope in the transition of moving into college.
If you have a cat at home, give her a gentle stroke and an affectionate pat on its head, especially now that the world is in an uncertain state that can be scary for most of us.
Cat’s ability to help decrease stress, along with more health benefits has been proven to be real. If you have a cat at home, appreciate them as they can help with your physical and mental health.
Feature Image Photo Credit: Japheth Mast, Pexels