Guest Post by Jessica Brody, with organization Our Best Friends
Cats Benefit People’s Mental Health
There are many reasons why someone would hesitate about getting their first cat. Perhaps cats not allowed in their lease. Their partner has allergies, or they simply don’t feel like they can handle the responsibility. Others, such as those with mental health problems, worry that they are not in the right state of mind to have a pet. When it sometimes feels difficult to take care of yourself, it can seem irresponsible to care for an animal.
However, cats can actually make great companions for people with conditions like depression, anxiety, and PTSD. In a survey by the British Charity Cat’s Protection, 87 percent of cat owners said they felt their pets had a positive impact on their well-being.
Things to Consider
Cats make supportive and loving pets and can be particularly useful for those suffering from a mental health condition. If you are thinking about getting a cat, you have to first make sure you are ready for the responsibility. You will need to feed them, clean their litter box, provide a comfy bed, stimulate through play.
Cats Help Increase Responsibility
It may feel strange to take on more responsibility when you are struggling to do the basics for yourself, but it can actually be a great motivator. Pets give you a sense of purpose, and purpose is essential for good mental health. Cats offer a particularly good balance; they rely on you for their well-being but are independent enough that their needs don’t feel overwhelming.
Cats Offer Comfort
Research has shown that human-animal interaction has an extremely positive effect on mood, leading to long-term physical and mental health benefits. However, any cat owner could have told you that. Cats offer a soothing presence to people who are sad and anxious and can be a source of loving, non-judgmental comfort. Also, it’s time to retire the stereotype that cats are not as affectionate as dogs—felines are very loving pets, they just show it in different ways.
Cats Reduce Stress
According to Medical News Today, cat owners have been shown to be less at risk of heart attack and stroke than those without a cat. This is because cats are very calming pets—everything from their fur to their weight to the sound of their purring can be intensely relaxing. Dogs can also be wonderful for mental health, but they tend to be more excitable and demanding with their time. Pleasing a cat, on the other hand, involves a simple routine of feeding, grooming, and cuddling.
Pets Great For Mental Health
As a general rule, pets are great for mental health. Whether you choose a cat over a dog, rabbit, or hamster is up to your personal preferences. However, if you are the kind of person who lights up at the sight of a kitty, a cat is most definitely the way to go. Think about how happy you get seeing a cat on the street or at a friend’s house. Having your own cat would mean you can access that feeling whenever you need some comfort. As long as you commit to being a loving and responsible owner, you can make each other very happy.