7 reasons why owning a cat is good for you

Dogs might be 'man's best friend', but there's plenty of evidence showing that cats love us just as much. Owning a cat can be very rewarding and has real benefits for your physical and mental health.

Cat loves owner Mel Elias

There are lots of benefits to being a cat owner – read our list and discover why keeping a feline friend can make you healthy and happy!

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1

Cats love human company

Cats sometimes get a bad press when compared to dogs (famously man’s best friend), but there’s evidence that they can be every bit as loving as canines. A study by Oregon State University found that cats prefer human company to food. The cats were given the choice of activities including eating, spending time with humans, toys and scents in order to test which they liked best. The cats overwhelmingly chose human contact, followed by food.

2

Stroking a cat relieves stress

Is there anything better than cuddling up with a purring cat? Stroking a cat can help you to feel more relaxed! When you stroke a cat, your brain releases oxytocin, which is known as the ‘cuddle hormone’. The release of oxytocin helps you to feel more relaxed and contented.

Cat peeping out from behind a tree

3

Owning a cat cuts stroke risk by a third

Reasearch in the US found that cat owners were much less likely to experience a heart attack or a stroke. Perhaps all that oxytocin helps? Academics behind the study suggested that cat owners had more relaxing lifestyles, which meant that they were less stressed.

4

Cats can reduce your risk of allergies

Keeping a pet, particularly in early childhood, can lower your chances of developing asthma and pet allergies. It may also help young adults, but if you’re more mature there are no benefits (sorry).

5

Cats can lower your blood pressure

Cuddling up with your kitty can also lower your blood pressure and even talking to them has been shown to help you relax according to some studies.

Yellow eyed cat

6

Cat owners are more intelligent

Cat owners tend to be more academic than their peers. Homes with degree-holders were 1.36 times more likely to own a cat.

7

Owning a cat is better for the environment

Cats and dogs both consume meat, which means they have a carbon footprint just like we do. However, cats are smaller than most dogs so they consume less.

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Photos by Mel ElíasKoen Eijkelenboom and Federica Diliberto on Unsplash