The American Heart Association states that owning a cat is associated with reducing your risk of heart disease and, helps to lower unhealthy cholesterol and triglyceride levels. A cat can even help you to survive a heart attack, should you experience one.
The benefits of owning a cat are multiple. In fact, having a cat is one of the best things you can do for yourself. They bring unconditional love and companionship to your life. Moreover, having a cat friend can also help to improve your overall health and decrease the risk of developing certain illnesses, particularly cardiovascular disease. The following article will help you understand how owning a cat can be beneficial to your overall health and well-being.
Cats as Heart Protectors Is the Main Benefit of Owning a Cat
Did you know that cat ownership may reduce your risk of a heart attack? According to a recent study, cat owners are at a lower risk of dying from a heart attack or stroke. Owning a cat can lower your stress levels. This in turn will have a knock-on effect on your risk of cardiovascular disease. In other words, this decreased risk of suffering from a deadly heart attack found in cat owners is attributed to the relaxing effect cats have on their humans.
The study brought over 4,500 male and female participants, aged between thirty to seventy-five over a period of 10 years of which half-owned cats. They first adjust for risk factors like age, gender, blood pressure, smoking, diabetes, and high cholesterol. More researchers found that cat owners had a notably lower risk of dying from cardiovascular disease than participants who never owned cats. Additionally, they discovered that these owners had less anxiety and stress which contributed to reducing the chances of heart failure or stroke.
Furthermore, the study found that people who never had a pet cat were 40% more likely to die of a heart attack over the 20-year study period. They were also 30% more likely to die of any cardiovascular disease, including stroke, heart failure, and chronic heart disease.
Additionally, researchers state that cat ownership at an early age may be more beneficial to owners than in later years when the cardiovascular disease has already been diagnosed. However, a reduced risk of death from heart attack and stroke wasn’t found in dog owners. Study researchers claim that pets, namely cats and dogs vary in characteristics and lifestyles.
Petting a Cat May Lower Your Stress Levels
In a 2019 study, a group of researchers from Washington State University gathered 249 students for animal visitation to show the benefits of owning a cat. But they allow only a small percentage of them to interact with the cats and dogs. With the other participants split into various groups to either watch from afar, and show pictures of animals, or wait indefinitely with no animal stimuli whatsoever. The first group that got to pet and play with the animals—for a mere 10 minutes!—showed the greatest reduction in cortisol levels.
While petting a cat may reduce cortisol levels, it also may ramp up levels of the so-called feel-good “love hormone” oxytocin. “It’s a bonding hormone secreted in breastfeeding and during sex,” explains Melanie Greenberg, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist and author of The Stress-Proof Brain. “I think that could be one of the hormones that are at play here. It gives you a sense of connection and well-being.”
Cats May Control Your Blood Pressure As Another Benefit of Owning a Cat
Researchers at the University of Buffalo tracked a group of 48 hypertensive New York stockbrokers. They were all prescribed an ACE inhibitor to manage their high blood pressure. The researchers asked half of the group to add a dog or cat to their treatment regimen. During a subsequent stress test, the pet owners’ heart rates and blood pressure levels increased much less than those participants solely taking the ACE inhibitor medication.
“This study shows that if you have high blood pressure, a pet is very good for you. When you’re under stress, pet ownership is especially good for you if you have a limited support system,” said study author Karen Allen at the time.
When it comes to this calming effect, cats have an added benefit dogs don’t: their purr. This vibration is responsible for lowering blood pressure levels in humans.
Cats not only make great pets and friends, but they can also help you reduce stress levels. As a result, maintain a healthy and strong heart. Owning a cat is associated with the reduction of stress and blood pressure. Therefore, may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
If you don’t have a cat yet, consider having one or two. Their companionship and the benefit they add to our lives are beyond describing. Always remember that there are many benefits of owning a cat. So get yourself one. If you are planning to have a cat, you need to be aware of some essential elements such as how to stop them from peeing in your house. Be prepared to enjoy the experience.
Cats are the best friends ever!