Cats are great for battling loneliness, but did you know they can lower blood pressure, reduce stress, and help those with depression or anxiety? Read on to learn more about cat therapy!
Therapy animals are increasingly used to help children with learning disabilities, aiding memory in elderly patients with dementia, soothing people with anxiety or depression, and they are even used in court to help calm victims so they feel comfortable testifying.
Temperament And Training
Not all cats have the right temperament to become a therapy cat. Certified therapy animals have been trained to follow instructions and work with lots of different people and situations.
This doesn’t mean that having a non-certified pet won’t have the same benefits, but you will need a cat that is friendly, calm, likes being petted and held, and is not going to lash out or get aggressive. If you already have a cat that you think would be a good therapy animal ask your vet about the process of getting them certified.
Loneliness is bad for our health, in fact loneliness can increase the risk of mortality by 26% and a lack of social connections is as likely to lead to an early death as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.
Cats can help with loneliness because they offer easy, calming companionship without any pressure. While they may not be as open about their feelings as dogs, cats will find a way to show their love.
Oxytocin, the hormone which increases with physical contact and can reduce feelings of depression, can be increased by cuddling a cat. Petting a furry friend can also increase serotonin and dopamine levels, so spending quality time with your pet can make a real difference to your mental well-being.
Cats are less pressure than dogs because they are less clingy, more independent and capable of doing their own thing if needs be. Building a good relationship with a cat can work as a buffer against loneliness, plus it’ll be easier to bond with other cat lovers!
Cats are easy going, but they still need to be looked after. Having responsibility for a cat and doing small tasks like feeding them every day, cleaning their litter box and keeping an eye on their health gives you something to focus on and may get you to a place where you feel able to do other tasks as well.
Unconditional love is all well and good, but an animal which will put up with anything won’t help make you a better person or teach you about boundary issues. Cats are loving, but they’re not afraid to let you know when you’ve done something wrong.
Owning a cat can reinforce good behaviour which will influence other areas of your life. If you can have a good relationship with a cat, you can have a good relationship with a person.
Did you know that a purring cat is good for your health? Studies conducted by American researcher Elizabeth von Muggenthaler found that cat purrs may have an evolutionary advantage.
Her study found that purring in a 20-50 Hertz frequency (most cats purr in the 20-140 Hertz range) can aid pain relief, heal sore muscles and increase bone density, while simply being around a cat can elevate headaches, reduce blood pressure and increase lifespan.