Let me paint a picture for you: It’s a cold, dreary mid-April night. The clock strikes 3 AM as rain batters the windows of my room, each drop is another nail in my already pounding head. Eyes fixated on the glaring screen of my computer, I wonder for the nth time if getting a college degree is really worth the stress. Overwhelmed, I lay back, praying that the work will be magically completed when I open my eyes. I can only imagine that I must have dozed off at some point because the next thing I know, I am being jolted awake by a crushing presence on my chest. I crack open a single, burning eye, only to be met with a wall of black obscuring my vision.
There, perched unbothered right below my chin, lay my cat, purring away without a care in the world. Despite my lungs being crushed under her weight, it felt like the weight on my chest had gotten lighter. There was no denying that her presence alone was enough to make my night less stressful, but it also made me wonder, “What about being with my cat made me feel better?” As it turns out, there is scientific evidence that owning a cat can have serious health benefits for a human!
1. Having a cat can help reduce allergies
If there is one thing I have learned while having a cat, it is that their fur gets everywhere. Take one look at any of your cat’s favorite sleeping spots, and you will likely find a plethora of tiny little hairs coating the fabric. Of course, along with the shedding comes the inevitability of pet dander and allergens being spread around your living space. However, this is not necessarily a bad thing.
While one may think that having a cat would increase the likelihood of allergies flaring up, it's actually the opposite as prolonged exposure to their fur and the particulars attached to it increases human’s resistance to allergens. It’s even proven that when a cat is present in the household from a young age, children are 50% less likely to develop an allergy of any kind.
[bf_image id="q7kl8q-b0ue6o-3qt1la"]2. Petting cats can lower your blood pressure
When humans experience positive interaction with cats, it causes our brains to release oxytocin, or as it is commonly referred to, the “love hormone”. These increased levels of oxytocin help reduce an individual’s blood pressure levels, leading to decreased levels of stress, anxiety, and even depression! This lowered stress has even been proven to decrease the risks for an individual to experience a cardiovascular episode such as a heart attack or stroke by doing something as simple as petting one of our furry friends!
[bf_image id="pw5kxcvj6svrg5t3rtkhg4"] 3. Purring has the ability to heal
While it has been shown that having a cat can lower your stress levels, you may find it interesting to know that cats also can physically heal their human counterparts simply through their purring! Dubbed the “frequency of healing”, studies have shown that frequencies ranging anywhere from roughly 18-35 Hertz have a positive impact on human bones, tendons, muscles, and joints after an injury is sustained. As for cats? Well, they can purr at frequencies ranging anywhere from 20-140 Hertz, making their purring well within the range of healing.
[bf_image id="cs4gf45fmjt33736jrwnrw3"] 4. Cats provide companionship
Even though cats are notorious for being independent creatures, it is no secret to any cat owner that they can be one of the most loving and affectionate animals once you form a bond with them! With just a little bit of love and affection on your part, cats will give back that love tenfold. This bond can reduce feelings of isolation and loneliness in people, helping to improve one’s mental health and perception of their self-worth.
Whether you have a cat or are considering getting a cat in the future, I hope I was able to open your eyes to a wonderful side of cats that many have never even imagined possible. Considering all the amazing benefits that having a cat can do for your health, I urge you that the next time you’re feeling a little lonely or overwhelmed to try seeking out the company of one of our furry companions. You may just find that you start feeling better sooner than you would have ever imagined!