5 Unexpected Benefits of Having a Cat

5 Unexpected Benefits of Having a Cat

Some of the benefits of being a “cat person” are obvious. Cats are great for curling up with in front of a fire or for joining us for a lazy day spent in bed with a good book.

Other benefits of cat ownership are a little less obvious. Here are five great, unexpected reasons why it’s advantageous to keep a feline friend around.

1st BENEFIT — Cats Help Tackle Stress and Improve Your Mood

Having cats around can have a dramatic impact on our mindsets. According to scientists, if you spend anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes per day with your cat — cuddling, playing or just hanging out — your mood might get a boost.

How does it work? It has to do with serotonin — a brain chemical that promotes feelings of well-being — and cortisol, a chemical associated with stress. When we spend time with cats, our serotonin levels rise, and our cortisol levels decline. That means the good feelings win!

2nd BENEFIT — Cats Help You Enjoy Better Health

Believe it or not, becoming a cat owner can actually have a number of positive influences on your health.

The entire list of health benefits is quite long, but the highlights include a lower risk of heart attack, an improved immune system and even the potential to prevent children from developing asthma and allergies later in life.

3rd BENEFIT — Cats Keep Rodents at Bay

It’s no secret that cats and mice have a long-running blood feud going on. Whenever there’s a cat in play, mice are likely to keep their distance.

Yes, catching mice is one of the prized pastimes of the venerable feline order. But although they love to give chase, cats kill mice fairly infrequently — that is, if they’re of the domesticated persuasion. Wild cats rely on smaller mammals for food, but your indoor cats are just in it for the thrill. Even a cat’s smell can be enough to keep mice away.

4th BENEFIT — Cats Help You Recover More Quickly from Trauma

There’s almost no end to the studies that reveal the surprising healing benefits a cat’s presence can have. We’ve already had a brief look at their general health benefits, but it turns out cats can also help us recover from various traumas.

Recovering surgery patients and members of the armed forces with PTSD sometimes report feeling better thanks to the presence of a cat. In particular, people who can’t count on human loved ones for company report that their mental and physical setbacks improve more quickly with a little feline companionship.

5th BENEFIT — Cats Help You Stay in Shape

Owning an animal of any kind is a great way to keep your figure in tip-top shape. Although dogs get the lion’s share of the credit for being great workout companions, cats are also unsung heroes when it comes to staying trim.

Any cat owner will be able to tell you that cats bore easily, which means they need regular, novel stimulation to keep from getting restless — that’s where you come in. Keep your cats active and stimulated by breaking out the laser pointer, feather duster or playing hide-and-go-seek. Your cats will thank you — and so will your waistline!

Did We Miss Any? Let Us Know

Thanks for dropping by! Let us know in the comments if your cats have delivered any surprising ownership benefits we didn’t cover here.

And while we’ve got you, remember to sign up for our eNewsletter so you can keep up with all of our pet-friendly updates!