Cats: our catnip loving, trouble causing, sassy feline friends. We love them as if they were a member of the family and for many of us, they truly are. But have you ever wondered if owning a cat has any real benefit? If so, continue reading. We’re going to cover the most interesting, creative, and scientific benefits of owning a cat.
Benefits of Owning a Cat
They provide top notch pest control
Do you have a mouse problem? How about a summer cockroach invasion? No problem! Cats are usually a pretty good way to control pests. Whether it be from an unsatiated, always-hungry appetite or their love of hunting, cats find all sorts of enjoyment in chasing a mouse or large bug.
Even if your cat can’t (or won’t) catch the pests, he or she will likely alert you that you have a pest problem by paying close attention to certain areas of the home. If you think you have a pest, focus on the areas that your cat seems particularly interested in such as corners, closets, cupboards, and underneath of doors.
They’ll help you learn about yourself
The simple decision of whether to get a cat or a dog can actually tell others a lot about you. As a general rule of thumb, many cat owners are introverted and quiet, with high levels of patience and a modest lifestyle.
If you tend to choose the same breed of cat or cats with the same personality time and time again, it may say something about your character.
You’ll benefit from better sleep
Unsurprisingly, cats take up less space in your bed then dogs or other humans do. Perhaps this is part of the reason that various studies conducted across the UK found that female cat owners actually prefer to sleep with their cat rather than their dog, partner, or children.
The same women also reported sleeping better when sleeping with their cat, with only 20% claiming that their cat caused them a disturbance during the night.
You have a forever companion
With a lifespan of anywhere from 6-12 years (and sometimes longer), cats are a great option if you want to grow a long term friendship and connection with your pet. Once a bond is established, your cat will be loyal, truly becoming a member of the family.
In fact, it’s a common stereotype that cats lack affection. This is anything but true, though, as it turns out that cats are great companions (studies conducted across the UK). A 2003 study out of Austria found that for many people, having a cat living with them serves as the equivalent of having a romantic partner residing within the household.
How does this work? Cats often initiate contact such as petting or belly rubs, and when showed a kindness, will remember it and return the affection later on.
Coping is easier when you have a cat
For thousands of years, pets have been used for emotional healing. Something about them promotes growth and helps us cope. This is especially true when it comes to cats who tend to enjoy simply relaxing much more than dogs, birds, or any other household pet. Cats will be more than happy to just sit in your lap or beside you as you lay in bed, lending you their calming energy and companionship.
Cats, despite not understanding the full spectrum that is the English language, are also great listeners. They never interrupt and we usually feel more comfortable speaking to them than we do other humans who can judge us.
Additionally, reports show that cat owners spend less time showing signs of emotional pain such as crying and over/under-eating than those who do not own a cat.
I mean really, who could be sad with these guys and gals around?
Cats are eco-friendly
It’s no secret that animals vary by how much of a carbon footprint they have. For example, cows are notorious for their large footprint. As an animal lover, if you’re concerned about the size of your footprint, you may want to opt for adopting one or two cuddly cats.
In 2009, a reputable study found that in the grand scheme of things, cats have a smaller footprint over their lifespan than household dogs do. Cats tend to eat a lot less and, in general, favor fish flavors, while dogs enjoy beef, beef products, and corn – all of which use a lot of water and resources to produce.
Your feel-good chemicals may flow more freely
As cats are incredibly calming beings, they may have a therapeutic effect on their owners. One such effect is the increased levels of oxytocin that the brain releases. Oxytocin is the hormone responsible for good feelings like love and trust.
Studies on this subject have found inconsistent results, with some claiming that everyone they studied had an increase in oxytocin when owning and/or petting a cat. However, other studies, such as signs of emotional pain out of Claremont Graduate University, found that only 30% of participants had an increase after spending time with a cat.
You’ll have a better immune system and fewer allergies
When a baby is born, his or her parents are often told that by having a pet within the home, their baby will have signs of emotional pain and a lower chance of developing allergies. While this seems to be true, it also appears to be true within cat owners in general- not just those who are babies.
Cat owners who have been exposed to cats since they were small children -regardless of how often so long as the exposure was regular- seem to suffer from fewer allergies and illnesses. Why? This is probably because of the numerous bacteria that cats naturally have on their fur, in their mouths, and of course, in their feces.
Exposure to these bacteria works to build the immune system faster, making for a fully developed immune system with enough strength to fight off a plethora of illnesses that owners without childhood exposure may still fall victim to.
Look at this sea of pollen that your cat protects you from.
Exposure to cats is also linked to lower conditions of asthma.
Your chances of suffering from a stroke or heart attack will lower
A great health benefit of cat ownership is that your chances of signs of emotional pain. In Minneapolis, the University of Minnesota Stroke Institute found that over a 10 year period, cat owners were 30% less likely to have a cardiac event or stroke.
The reasoning behind this, according to researchers, is unclear. However, everyone involved agrees that it could be due to the decreased stress and anxiety levels of cat owners.
Owning a cat is a great conversation starter
There’s nothing quite like cats to liven up a conversation; animal lovers are everywhere and bringing up your furry friend is bound to get any animal lover engaged in conversation. In this way, cats can act as fantastic wing men when trying to get the attention of a potential love interest.
They offer a neutral, but exciting topic to lead a conversation with. Additionally, from there, you can take the conversation in a number of different directions.
Cats are easy to care for
Compared to other popular pets, cats are extremely low maintenance and easy to care for. Taking care of a cat is simple: provide it with food and water, change its litter box when it gets dirty, and offer it a few toys and the occasional scratch on the head.
Pets like reptiles, small animals and rodents, and even fish can prove to be both difficult and time consuming, as they are prone to a variety of diseases and often need specific living conditions. In addition, their large cages and enclosures take up much more space than a scratching post and/or cat bed does, not to mention tons of extra time to clean.
Continuing with this point is that when your cat falls ill, there’s likely a veterinarian in your area that can treat him or her. This isn’t always the case with more exotic pets. In addition, veterinarians have plenty of experience with cats so treating your pet is easier, putting them on the road to recovery more quickly.
Their purrs boast healing power
The satisfying sound of a cat purring as it snoozes on your lap is enough to bring a smile to your face. But what if it was also enough to kickstart your body into healing its ailments? According to Leslie A. Lyons of the School of Veterinary Medicine, UC Davis, this might not be too far from reality.
She suggests that the tone and pitch of a cat’s purr can have varying effects on the feline body and its healing process. For example, signs of emotional pain. This is beneficial to humans because, as a technology-driven population, we may be able to utilize this knowledge to kickstart our own healing.
Cats are fun to observe
You may have never dressed your cat up and shown him or her off to all your friends (though some people do). But cats are pretty fun to watch.
They are perfect candidates for videos and recordings, as they can often be caught engaging in strange behaviors, making messes, and falling off of various surfaces around the home.
Cats are great pets for children
Although many children have a dog as a first pet, nearly as many have a cat or a cat in addition to a dog. This is because like dogs, cats are great family-friendly pets. Not only are they soft and cuddly and relatively easy to train, but they also prove to be fantastic stepping stones for children learning responsibilities.
For children who lack empathy, such as those who suffer from anything on the autism spectrum, cats can be highly beneficial. Your child will be more likely to want to get involved in the animal’s life. In doing so, he or she will learn how to be empathetic, patient, and kind.
They’re some of the quietest pets around
Dogs are known for their barking – early morning, all day long, and late at night. Cats, however, are known for being virtually silent. In addition to making them ideal for households with babies, it also makes them good for apartment living.
Cat friendly rentals are abundant
When it comes to renting a home, all pet owners know how hard it can be to find a suitable rental that will accept pets. Finding a place to live with a cat is much easier than with many other types of pets. It isn’t to say, though, that finding cat-friendly rentals is a piece of cake. It isn’t.
But it is to say that the ordeal is slightly less stressful and there are a few more options. Many cat-friendly rentals are apartment buildings, as they require their tenant’s pets to be quiet and nondisruptive.
Your Awesome Cat
Thanks for reading our post on the benefits of owning a cat!
Let me know in the comments below: what’s your favorite perk of being a cat owner?