11 Reasons Why Cats Are Good For Your Mental Health
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Health and Wellness

11 Reasons Why Getting A Cat Is The Best Thing You Can Do For Your Mental Health

Cats may mess up your puzzles but they'll always love you unconditionally — as long as you have some catnip, that is.

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11 Reasons Why Getting A Cat Is The Best Thing You Can Do For Your Mental Health
Scout Guarino

Alright, everyone, it's time to stop spreading the rumor that all cats are mean, aloof, and hate everyone. Like dogs, each cat has its own personality and tendencies. Some like a lot of attention, some like less — each person has to find the right cat for them. As for me, my cats Bienfu and Reptar have seen me at my worst, but they've also helped pull me out of it. They're a constant in my life and they give me the strength to get through the day in spite of my depression, and there's even scientific evidence to support it!

1. Cats are self-reliant

Nothing against dogs, but cats require a little less maintenance in comparison, especially if you have to be out and about for class or for work. With a dog, you might be worried about leaving them at home alone for fear they'd get too cooped up in a crate or make a mess if you let them roam. Cats aren't angels, but they're cool with being alone.

2. Cats can teach us boundaries

I have always been a "yes" person, saying yes to taking extra shifts or tutoring a peer even when I knew I didn't want to or didn't feel up to it. Owning cats has helped me understand the importance of setting boundaries. When a cat isn't jiving with something, they'll let you know and quickly excuse themselves from the situation — I've realized that I'm starting to do it, too.

3. Cats help with emotional regulation

Photo by Marcus Pinho from Pexels

There have been plenty of times when I've been too worked up by a panic attack or some other stressor to calm down by myself. Being able to rhythmically pet my cat gives me a similar feeling to a breathing exercise or grounding exercise because I'm able to focus on something outside of what's bothering me.

4. Purrs are healing

Cat purrs are at a frequency like gamma waves or meditation waves and help to stabilize our breathing. It can also lower our anxiety and blood pressure!

5. Cats alleviate loneliness

Photo by Buenosia Carol from Pexels

if you live alone or find yourself away from friends and family, then a cat can be a nice buddy to have to hang around. It may make me seem like a crazy cat lady but when my boyfriend works a lot or my friends are busy then I talk to my cat about my day. It really does make me feel less alone.

6. Cats give us routine

At 6:30 every morning, my cats will wake me up without fail so I can fetch their breakfast. They are very food motivated so they let me know when to wake up and when to start winding down every day. For someone that is extremely forgetful, it's nice to not have to set an alarm on my phone for one thing since my cats are a perfect alarm. Consequently, this has made my sleep schedule very regulated which has been proven to be beneficial for mental health.

7. Playing with them is stress-relieving

It's been shown that playing with pets can increase serotonin and dopamine levels! These two neurotransmitters are responsible for regulating mood disorders like anxiety and depression.

8. Cats can give us purpose

Everyone goes through a time in their life where they see themselves negatively and can't seem to get out of that rut. Even as a cat owner it happens to me sometimes, but there is something comforting about the fact that I have cats relying on me. They love and need me, which makes me feel a little bit better even if everything else is out of sorts.

9. Improved sleep

Photo by Ihsan Aditya from Pexels

Everyone knows sleep is crucial to taking control of our mental health. Forty-one percent of pet owners said that they slept better because of their animals. Besides, cats are experts at sleeping — ever heard of a cat nap?

10. They can help us handle rejection

This one might seem odd, but a study of 97 undergrads found that thinking or writing about their pets could help stave off feelings of rejection. So the next time you feel like the odd person out, just remember you could have a cat that loves you unconditionally!

11. Cats make us more socially sensitive

When you're focused on another living animal and its needs, there's no wonder at why cat owners are more sensitive than other people.

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