But, did you know that owning a feline friend actually gives you a health boost?
Cats help lower risk of severe health problems
The University of Minnesota has put this to the test and found that even the gravest of health concerns could be treated with a little TLC from your kitty. Here's what they found:
- Cat owners had a 30 or 40 percent lower risk from dying of cardiovascular disease
- Heart attack risk was reduced when a cat was found in the home
- People can reduce their risk by a third just by owning a cat
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An important reason for these findings may be the reduction in blood pressure experienced by cat owners. The State University of New York at Buffalo released a study that shows cat owners are more likely to have lower blood pressure levels than those who do not own any pet.
Cats help us breathe easier
Aside from helping adults to relax as we pet and cuddle our kittens, cat ownership can literally lead to easing of allergies and asthma in children.
The University of Virginia's Asthma and Allergic Disease Center found children who were exposed to cats not only avoided developing asthma, they also helped lessen their chances of allergies later in life.
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Even your blood stream (and what's found inside) can find benefit from spending time with a cat. The American Heart Association says owning a cat can help you live longer by lowering your triglycerides, a factor which determines stroke risk.
Meantime, a 2006 Canadian study reports cholesterol could be treated better by sending home a cat over medication. Meow!
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There are important psychological benefits from owning a cat, too. Several studies show petting a cat has a calming effect that helps us relax and builds peace of mind. Anxiety subsides when you play with your cat, and can even help you stave off depression.
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Autism Speaks reports that researchers have found a link between cats and improved communications and social interaction in children with autism. While the connection is still being studied, cats have been used in therapies for children, helping them to overcome development disorders.