The relationship between humans and animals goes back centuries. Over time the basis of relationship has evolved from that of utility to love and care. Today, more than ever, we keep pets for companionship over anything else. Cats and dogs have moved past living outside the house to next to our beds.
Through scientific research and anecdotal evidence associated with human-pet interaction especially with felines, we have understood that companionship provides a host of benefits. The Human Animal Bond Research Institute (a non-profit organization) has actively funded research to understand the therapeutic benefits of human-animal interaction. The Institute has a vision to make people understand this bond better and make them embrace it as an essential element of health and wellness.
Cats may barf all over the house or wake us up before sunrise, yet almost one-third of us call ourselves cat people and not dog lovers. So, why do we choose these fluffballs and take care of them while they are not genetically related to us and frankly are ungrateful most times?
The obvious answer to any cat lover who does not require any scientific evidence to justify their affection is fierce love. Nevertheless, scientists have studied and found that our feline friends not only aesthetically elevate our life but also bring a range of physical and mental health benefits.
Those who indulge in cross-species relationships and care for other beings may see benefits in human-human relationships as well. A study by the American Psychological Association found that people living with cats trust other people more, are socially sensitive, and in general, are more caring towards others than the people who do not live with cats. If you are a cat person, you tend to believe that you are accepted by other people more than those who are not. And not just that, even people who like watching cat videos feel more supported and cared for than those who do not. Pets are like social catalysts. They are accepting, loving, caring, loyal, and affectionate, all the characteristics that a person needs to acknowledge his self-worth.
A survey conducted on 2200 children of 11-15 years of age showed that kids who lived with cats led a better quality of life than others. The more attached they were to their companion, the more active, attentive, and energetic they felt. Another study conducted on Australian cat owners reflected that people living with cats were more psychologically fit than those who did not. They felt more confident, happy, and focused. Cats cajole us out of our worst moods even when they may seem disinterested in our lives. Cats become great emotional support animals. 2020 has been a difficult year for all of us. It has made people realize the importance of companionship more than anything else. If you have never experienced living with a cat, you should.
Despite what you may have heard about cat-human brain parasites, they are good for our health. They are proven to help people with stress, anxiety, and depression. Mental health is a growing concern in our country. Having a companion that unconditionally supports and cares for you helps. In a study by the American Psychosomatic Society, researchers studied 120 married couples and observed their response to stress and if having cats had any impact. The results showed that cat owners seem more calm and composed than others. It reflected that the people living with cats physiologically recover faster.
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While we are waiting for more stats and data to support that cats make great emotional support animals, cat lovers will continue to gush everyone about how happy they are with their pets. Cats may make us lose some sleep, but they make up for it with furry, soft love.