November 20, 2023 by Pauline G. Carter
Any cat owner will tell you that a cat is like a mental health remedy thanks to their adorable meows and fluffy faces – not to mention how funny they can be! Is it actually true, though; can cats improve a person’s mental health? Cats and humans have bonded for thousands of years and are loved worldwide, so there must be something more than their cute mannerisms that make them so loveable.
Cats Improve Well-being
It’s true – cats genuinely do improve well-being. Having a cat around has been proven to reduce stress in humans. Even more surprisingly, petting a cat has even been linked to lowering blood pressure, which has an ongoing positive knock-on effect. In fact, cats are routinely used as therapy animals for people struggling with things like addiction, PTSD, seizures, and more. All in all, cats really are magical creatures.
The Magic of Purring
Certain sounds and vibrations have been proven to be therapeutic to humans, and guess what? One of those sounds includes the purr of a cat. As a multi-frequency sound of 20-140 Hz, a cat’s purr can help heal the body by relaxing muscles and reducing pain. Simply listen to the sound of a cat purring for long enough, and you’ll feel the stress melt away from your body. It’s incredible! Plus, it’s good to know that when a cat purrs, that’s usually a sign that they are content. What’s better than having a happy cat by your side?
It’s an unfortunate truth that some people are very lonely. That might be because they work strange hours or live in an area where they haven’t met anyone they’ve bonded with. While a cat can’t exactly replace human friendships, they do provide companionship in otherwise lonely moments. They’re excellent companions, too, as they are often loving and affectionate.
Entertainment and Laughter
Even those who don’t own cats can attest to the fact that these feline friends are hilarious! They are funny, strange little creatures that show some interesting behaviors sometimes. For people, this is endlessly hilarious. Even watching videos of cats online can reduce stress by making you laugh.
Someone to Be Responsible For
One of the best things a person can do to benefit their mental health is to stick to a healthy routine, and cats can help with that. With someone to be responsible for (rather than yourself), you are more motivated to stick to healthy habits. With a cat, you need to feed them at the same time each day while also taking the time to play with them. Having someone to be responsible for like this gives you purpose and meaning, which will inevitably boost your mental health, especially on the more challenging days when you might not have felt like trying at all.
You might be surprised to hear that cats can even help you sleep! With a cat snuggled up beside you, you are likelier to rest through the night. It might be because of their warmth or the simple fact that you know you have a calm presence right next to you. Of course, not all cats are the same – if your cat is primarily active during the night, it might be best to let them sleep elsewhere, especially if they wake you up. Don’t be surprised when your cat wakes you up just before your alarm, either, as their internal clocks will know it’s time for feeding!
A Calming Companion
With a cat, you don’t need to be charismatic or talkative – you don’t even need to talk at all. This can be very helpful for people with anxiety issues or those who are simply introverted. It means you can enjoy company without the expectations that come from being around other people.
Keeping a Happy and Healthy Feline Friend: 3 Tips
Of course, a cat can only improve your well-being if they are healthy themselves. The last thing you want is an unhappy, stressed, or unwell kitten. Here are three essential tips for keeping your cat healthy and happy:
1: Regular Vet Trips
Your cat won’t be content if it isn’t healthy. Lots of illnesses can affect your feline friend, from diabetes to dental issues. Even something as simple as fleas can have a significant effect on their physical and mental well-being. To help your cat stay healthy, get pet insurance for cats to cover any vet costs that may come. With pet insurance like this, you won’t have to ever worry about financially covering any treatments your cat might need. Your cat might not enjoy the vet’s visits themselves, but they’ll be much happier and healthier for it!
2: A Cat-Friendly Home
Your home is your cat’s home, so treat it as such. Give your cat the space it needs to be happy. Provide a bed, litter tray, cat toys, scratch posts, and anything else your cat might enjoy while relaxing in the home. A comfortable cat is always happier! Of course, it’s also important to set boundaries where necessary – and stick to them. If your cat cannot go on the kitchen counters, follow that rule.
3: A Mixture of Attention and Space
It’s important to give your cat plenty of attention. That means grooming, stroking, and playing with them whenever possible. However, it’s also essential to give your cat some breathing room when they need it. Even if you need a cuddle – if your cat is not in the mood, it’s best to leave them be. They’ll come to you when they feel like it, and it will be all the more rewarding when they do.
Cats and Mental Health: The Bottom Line
While cats aren’t a cure for mental illness, they can certainly improve your well-being. They provide relaxing company, entertainment, friendship, and so much more. People who are already cat lovers will know the magic of having a feline as a friend! So, if you want to improve your mental health and overall well-being and have the space and financial means for a cat, it’s certainly something to consider.
About Author (Pauline G. Carter)
Pauline G. Carter is a well-known pet blogger who has written about the world of pets for several years. She is passionate about pets, from cats and dogs to birds, reptiles, and poultry. Her blog, which is updated regularly, is filled with articles and guides on pet care, nutrition, and training. She also shares her experiences and observations on pet ownership, making her blog relatable and informative for pet lovers. She is a true animal advocate and is dedicated to promoting responsible pet ownership. Let’s Go …