As a new mother… ahem I mean owner to two quarantine kittens, my decision to adopt was sparked by quarantine boredom as well as the need for a therapy animal. While I have always considered myself a dog person at heart, I am now progressing fabulously from dog-lover to crazy-cat-lady. Here is why you should adopt a cat over quarantine, coming from a dog-person:
A study performed by the late Dr. Johannes Odendaal, a research professor at the Life Sciences Research Institute in South Africa, indicated that simply petting a dog or cat released endorphins, dopamine, oxytocin, and several other “feel good” chemicals. Dr. Adnan Qureshi of Zeenat Qureshi Stroke Research Center also found that cat ownership significantly reduced the risk of developing heart disease, specifically in his high-risk patients. Because cats promote the release of endorphins, animal-assisted therapy is often considered for those struggling with depression, anxiety, or those simply looking to allow a sense of purpose in their life. Because there are so many benefits to owning a cat, assisted animal therapy is often used to lighten nursing home residents or to help disabled children improve their cognitive function.
As someone who openly suffers from mental illness, I have found that having a built-in companion has contributed to restoring my mental health in a variety of ways: I feel responsible not only for my own wellbeing but two other lives that require love and attention. While it sounds a bit cheesy, my two cats, Oliver and Mitzi, give me a reason to get out of bed in the morning.
You’ll Get a Best Friend and Save a Life
While there are many stereotypes that deem cats as cold or boring, I can say from personal experience, they are the most entertaining pets I have ever owned. Having adopted my two kittens from an adoption center at my local pet store, chances are they were either found as strays on the streets of Boston or were rescued from a kitten mill. Kitten mills are factory-style breeding facilities with poor conditions and improper treatment and care. Purebred cats are usually the main victim of kitten milling, as they are overbred to meet up with demands. Many of the kittens produced have little-to-no human contact and they are often improperly weaned off their mothers, resulting in developmental impairment and separation anxiety. By adopting from your local animal shelter or pet store, you are fighting against animal abuse and saving the life of an innocent animal. And remember, adopt don’t shop!