Free Press Journal

International Cats Day 2018: Owing these furry felines has enormous health benefits


While some dog lovers are busy sweating it out in the park with their pooch, cat owners are chilling with their cute and fluffy kitty enjoying a lazy Sunday morning. Owning a dog is fun but owning a cat can be more joyous and is also life-saving! Often tagged as moody and shy, these furry felines are a powerhouse of enormous health benefits, besides giving you a warm fuzzy feeling. This International Cats Day (August 8), we bring you some lesser known and amazing facts of having a cat.

Stress buster
When you feel low after a bad day at work all tired and drenched and then you see your little furry munchkin falling at your feet and poof! Your stress goes away like it’s never coming back. Owner of Petsville – a Mumbai based pet care centre, Kruti Parikh says, “They help in lowering anxiety issues as patting a cat has a calming effect on the mind. Cats exhibit a sense of patience and calmness which in turn is infectious as the traits are picked up by the pet parents.”
Your body starts releasing those feel-good chemicals the moment you connect with cats. If you often suffer from stress and anxiety, all you need is a little cat to de-stress and relax.

Heart saviour
You will be surprised to know that cats have the potential to ward-off heart ailments. Dr Sagar Mundada, Consultant Psychiatrist at Healthspring says, “If you own a cat, you are less likely to die of cardiovascular disease. You can reduce the chances of a heart attack when you own a cat.” This is because cat owners are less likely to suffer from depression and anxiety. “You can help reduce your blood pressure by enjoying the company of a cat,” adds Dr Mundada. Patting a cat has a calming effect and our heart has fewer chances of suffering from the aftermath of depression and trauma. Patting a cat for 10 minutes reportedly cuts stroke risk by 30%!

Immunity boosterIf you are struggling with low immunity issues, then adopting a cat may help you. Being surrounded with cats can give your immunity a boost. Cat’s fur in the house or the surrounding acts as resistance to allergens which means less chances of developing asthma. In the year 2002, the National Institute of Health in US conducted a study, where it was found that kids who were exposed to cats were less likely to develop allergies as compared with the kids who were raised without pets.

Coping mechanism
Cats exhibit a sense of understanding when they see their owners mourning or crying. They understand your emotions and they act as social support in difficult times. People are often seen talking to their pets during emotional breakdown, and they feel alright after talking to their pets as animals don’t respond and they are non-judgemental unlike human beings.

Date magnetAround 90% of women prefer dating a man who owns a cat, as per a study conducted by pet researcher Dr June Nicolls. Men who own cats are perceived as ‘nicer’ than other counterparts and women find male cat owners more attractive too! If you are single and want to mingle, become a cat dad and make women weak in the knees.

‘Purr’fect partner

Young woman wearing warm sweater is resting with a cat on the armchair at home one autumn day

Say good bye to your loneliness by bringing home a cute little kitty. Cats are also capable of providing wonderful companionship to human beings. You feel loved and your pet cat shows similar amount of affection in return. In 2003, a study conducted in Austria showed that having a cat in the house is equivalent to having a romantic partner.

Sound sleep Cuddling your furry partner at night and falling asleep is probably the best feeling. Sleeping with a cat leads to sound sleep and people tend to sleep better with cats as compared to human partners. Women especially prefer sleeping with their cats rather than their partner, several studies in UK have confirmed.

Education needed
In India where cats are linked with black-magic and misfortune, people tend to avoid keeping cats – and black cats in particular – as a pet as they are considered inauspicious. In this regard, Dr Mundada states, “In India, many aspects of life are full of superstition. A cat passing and a bad event happening are a mere coincidence and nothing more. There needs to be aware regarding the same.”
Kruti adds, “Awareness should start at the school level, wherein kids have to be educated about the importance of taking care of the animals and being responsible towards them. They need to be educated that superstition is the result of a weak mind and in no way does a cat or any other animal bring good or bad luck.”