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International Cat Day: Does Petting a Cat Help Your Mental Health?

Written By HealthKart

Mental Health

Having a pet at home is like having a friend. Your heart fills with joy when you are petting them. Their companionship makes you forget your life problems and keeps you engaged. Just like dogs, pet cats also help in boosting your serotonin levels and benefiting your overall health. Studies have proved that having a pet cat can cheer up your mood, reduce anxiety and stress levels, and lower blood pressure. On this International Cat Day, let’s look at how cats can improve your mental health. 

History of International Cat Day 

Happy International Cat Day! International Cat Day is celebrated every year on August 8. The day is observed to make people aware of the ways in which they can protect these cute furry animals. The whole initiative towards having a cat day was steered by International Cat Care, which has been working tirelessly towards the enhancement of the health and well-being of domestic cats worldwide.

Health Benefits of Petting a Cat

In 2011, the Mental Health Foundation surveyed 600 people — both cat owners and non-owners — in collaboration with Cats Protection. The majority of respondents identified a mental health issue within themselves.

According to the survey, 76% of cat owners said their cat’s company helped them deal with their daily life problems, and 87% of cat owners said having a cat had a good influence on their well-being. That being said, let us now look at the ways in which cats can improve your mental health:

1. Cats Provide Emotional Support

A survey found that 82% of participants claimed that having a pet improved their mood when they were depressed, 65% said that petting helped their mood, and 57% said they shared their concerns and anxieties with their dogs. Owing to their intellect and sensitivity, cats, in particular, may offer their owners emotional support and friendship. Cats can detect subtle emotional cues in their owners and can distinguish between joyful and sad facial expressions. If you notice that your feline friend is becoming more affectionate towards you while you are sad, it is definitely a sign that they have read your face and realised your sorrow.

2. Cats can Help Kids with Autism

Researchers have discovered that exposing kids with autism to a pet significantly enhanced their social connection. In research, cats were owned by half of the participating households and the parents reported that their children developed close bonds with them.

3. Cats are Therapeutic

Feline-assisted therapy is the term used to describe interactions involving cats in animal-assisted therapies. Cats have colonised the pinnacle of the healing pyramid. It has been demonstrated that a cat’s purring has healing powers that aid in the recovery of patients from depression and anxiety. People have benefited from cats so much that they have been able to recuperate from illnesses and even serious anxiety and depression. Cuddling and hugging your pet cat may boost your immune system, heal heart problems, and relax your anxieties.

4. Cats Help you Forget Your Problems

They nudge you to get up and go. You act as a source of food and affection for house cats. That can inspire you to get up and begin moving, preventing you from withdrawing, becoming inactive, or drowning in despair.

Playing with and taking care of your cat promotes physical activity, which has psychological advantages because research shows that exercise is a natural antidepressant.

5. Cats may Help Lower Heart Risks 

Petting a cat can be therapeutic for both you as well as for the pet. The hormone oxytocin, which is connected to emotional connection, is released while petting a cat and can lower blood pressure. The same hormone is released when we give a hug to someone or when a mother is breastfeeding her child. Long-term advantages might result from this in the form of decreased blood pressure and stress. According to a study, cat owners had a 30% reduced chance of dying from a heart attack than non-owners throughout a ten-year follow-up period.

Conclusion 

Cat ownership can be very satisfying, especially when the feline senses safety and comfort and can return the affection of an owner. People who are lonely or unable to leave the house frequently may find the company of cats to be a true lifesaver. Your heart rate will decrease and your tension and anxiety will be relieved. So, if you want to get a cat, this International Cat Day can be a good excuse to adopt one!  

Happy World Cat Day to all! 

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