Everyone has heard the saying “dog is man’s best friend.” But have you considered the benefits a feline friend could add to your life?
From their loyalty and affection to their sense of independence, cats have many qualities that may encourage you to add a new type of fur kid to your family.
11 benefits of cat ownership
Cat ownership has many benefits for people of all ages. These 11 benefits will provide you with helpful information to decide whether a cat is the right pet for you.
1. They lower stress and anxiety
Any cat owner will attest to the fact that petting their cat can improve their mood. Scientific evidence also suggests that a cat’s purr can lower your blood pressure and help regulate your nervous system.
A cat’s purr falls at a frequency scientists use to promote tissue regeneration through vibrational therapy, making a cat’s purr capable of promoting healing.
Cats have long been used as support pets to help decrease stress, depression, and chronic mental health conditions like PTSD through their gentle and calming presence. They can be designated as emotional support cats, who have no formal requirements, or therapy cats, who have to undergo training and certification by a professional.
2. They provide physical health benefits
Scientific evidence has proven that cat ownership can have many physical health benefits as well, including the ability to increase cardiovascular health and reduce the occurrence of cardiovascular disease.
3. They help fight loneliness
Companionship is one of the most important benefits of pet ownership. Whether you’re someone who works from home, lives far from family, or just someone who could benefit from a little extra love, having a cat can go a long way toward creating a sense of belonging and friendship in your home.
“Cats are the best! They are very empathetic creatures, so in tune with their humans’ emotions and they have such unique and various ways to show their love for you, much like people do!”— Angie Lime, Biscuit Queen LA
4. They are independent
If you’re the type of person who loves going on road trips, cats may be a pet to consider. Cats are quite independent, as they don’t necessarily rely on their owners or other social contacts to be a source of safety.
Instead, they are quite autonomous, confident in unfamiliar environments, and show fewer signs of distress than dogs when their owners are not present.
So while you’re out of town for the holidays, you can rest assured that your cat will not be especially worried or sad. However, it is recommended that you have someone check on them at least once a day to ensure they have food, water, and a bit of attention.
5. They can help with allergies
Recent studies have shown that humans exposed to cats in their first year of life are less likely to develop allergies to animals than those who aren’t.
6. They befriend other pets
Cats have unique personalities, and guidance for one cat may not apply to another. It’s important to know the cat and the other pet well to see how they will interact.
Be sure to introduce cats to other pets slowly, as they can be territorial. Let the animals stay in rooms separated by a door, and offer plenty of treats any time they interact to create positive associations with their new friend.
It’s also recommended that you adopt cats in pairs so they have a playmate to keep them company, teach them appropriate boundaries (like when a bite is too hard), and provide affection while you are away.
7. They prevent pest invasions
Cats are excellent hunters, and even those in captivity are known to decrease pest populations you might find in your home. They are known for solving mouse problems and are also adept at catching flies and various small bugs.
If you live in a more rural setting, there are also specific cats called mousers who can help keep mice and rats from causing problems on a farm.
8. They are entertaining
There’s a reason why the internet is filled with cat videos. Cats can be funny, sweet, and surprising at the same moment. While adopting a cat just to be entertained isn’t advisable, they will absolutely keep you laughing and smiling.
9. They are affectionate
Many people think that cats are standoffish and cold, while dogs are the more affectionate pet. Like people, all cats’ personalities vary. However, cats can be very affectionate with their human pals. They’re known to love being pet, cuddling on your lap, or sleeping beside (or on top) of you.
Cats show their affection in other ways, too. One unique way is their slow blink. Cats will slowly blink at you to tell you they are calm and pleased with your presence. You can return this gesture by slowly blinking at them.
“Cats are very intelligent when it comes to reading emotions and can tell when their owner is sick or feeling sad. They tend to become more cuddly when they notice that their people need love.”— Heidi Bruaw, Real Life of Lulu
10. They are loyal
While cats are often criticized for being aloof, they are, in fact, just as loyal as dogs, according to a 2019 study published in Current Biology.
Cats showed strong numbers of secure attachment styles similar to those of children and dogs, indicating that they have a strong bond with their owners.
11. They are so cute
Just one look at those cuddly, furry faces, and you’re bound to fall in love. In fact, much like human babies, cats are proven to activate the cuteness response in our brains.
With their playfulness, affection, soft fur, big eyes, and tiny voices, it’s no surprise people feel drawn to these adorable creatures.
Cat ownership is beneficial in many ways, both for those seeking companionship and for practical benefits like increased heart health, lowered stress, allergy reduction in children, and pest control.
They can provide friendship and love while requiring less energy than other pets and feeling less distressed when you are away, allowing you to take trips or have busy days without detracting from the quality of life of your beloved pet.
Be sure to consider adopting two cats, as they love to have a playmate, and will teach each other important boundaries while keeping each other company.
Gen is a professional chef, writer, and editor living in Southern California. She is the owner and recipe creator behind Two Cloves Kitchen, a food site featuring contemporary, California-inspired recipes. She has edited over 20 novels, short stories, and essays for publication.