Benefits of Cat Ownership- Can An Emotional Support Cat Help?

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benefits of cat ownership

Cats provide the same love, compassion, and support as any other emotional support animal. Some people who aren’t “cat people” may not understand, but a cat’s love can be just as unconditional as a dog’s. As a mental health professional, I have seen numerous individuals with emotional support cats experience the same positive benefits that are often associated only with emotional support dogs.  Cats can be more independent than dogs, yet still provide the same amount of affection and attention. Whether you own a friendly lap cat or a quiet introvert, the sense of companionship and love you have for your cat can be just as fulfilling as any other friendship.

Benefits of Cat Ownership- Mental Health

Owning a cat can be soothing and trigger calming chemicals in the body. This can decrease stress and anxiety levels. Cats are known for being low-maintenance. A simple petting session is often enough to relax owners and distract them from other worries. The calming effect of owning a cat triggers the release of oxytocin. This is a hormone known for inducing feelings of love and trust. People going through difficult times of grief or mourning report that talking to their pet helps work out their feelings. It is often easier to talk to something that won’t respond and can’t judge than to another human being. In addition, a study found that children with autism were more likely to be less anxious and calm while petting a cat.

Benefits of Cat Ownership- Physical Health

Cat owners are known to have lower blood pressure than non-cat owners due to the calming presence cats provide. One study was conducted with a room full of cat owners. In the study, the owners would speak aloud, which naturally elevated blood pressure levels, but when the owners were observed speaking with their cats, their blood pressure remained constant.

Studies show that cat owners are less likely to be at risk for having a stroke than any other pet owner. Scientists speculate this is also because of a cat’s low-maintenance ownership. A study conducted by the University of Minnesota’s Stroke Institute in Minneapolis have shown that those who do not own cats are 30-40% more likely to die of heart attacks than their cat-owning counterparts. High triglyceride and cholesterol levels contribute to heart disease and are symptomatic of type 2 diabetes as well as strokes, liver and kidney disease. Naturally, reductions in these levels lead to a decreased risk in these diseases.

Benefits of Cat Ownership- Social Health

Cat ownership provides a natural conversation starter and can enhance the owner’s ability to socialize. One study revealed that women were more attracted to men who owned cats. The study found cat ownership often suggests sensitivity and intelligence. Owning a cat reduces feelings of loneliness. Though cats are often known for their independence, the bond between a cat and its owner reinforces companionship. A Swiss study conducted in 2003 revealed that owning a cat is similar to having a romantic partner.

emotional support cat benefits

Benefits of Cat Ownership- Final Thoughts

As we said earlier, owning a cat or kitten can provide multiple benefits for your health. An emotional support cat might be in your best interest. If you have any more questions on the process of finding or making your cat a emotional support animal, please visit our Frequently Asked Questions. If you need help picking out the right cat breed for you, please visit our link on top cat breeds for companion animals. CertaPet offers a free and simple 5 minute survey. This survey will help determine if you’re good candidate for an emotional support animal. If you are considered a good candidate, we can connect you with a licensed mental health professional. This mental health professional will help determine if an emotional support animal is best for you.

See If You Qualify for an Emotional Support Animal

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