For Dianna, every day is National Cat Day.
Her felines, Eddie and Bella, “are always there to comfort me when I am down, or make me laugh with their hilarious antics,” the Don’t Change Much team member says. “When I’m feeling anxious, or in a bad mood, they help calm me. A quick cuddle, or simply petting them, has a wonderful effect.”
Dianna isn’t alone in enjoying the health benefits of owning a cat. Wondering why pet ownership is good for you? Here’s the scoop:
The sense of calm pets provide can help you handle stress. In one study, cat owners who were asked to perform a stressful task showed less stress in the company of their pets than in the company of friends.
Experts also point out that the loving connections between cats and their owners can help owners cope with stress by reducing feelings of loneliness, providing a sense of purpose, and taking their minds off their troubles.
Speaking of sending stress packing, these easy tips can work wonders even if you’re not a cat person.
According to a University of Minnesota study, cat owners are nearly a third less likely to die of heart attacks than non-cat-owners. Other studies have found that owning a cat relieves depression and reduces blood pressure, which can lower the risk of heart attacks. Research even suggests that having a cat might improve survival after a heart attack.
Clearly, the heart-health benefits of cat ownership should give us all paws. (LOL, sorry!)
Fun and games
Laughing at a cat’s antics is another way to lighten up and shrug off stress, as Dianna well knows. “Bella will sometimes wake us up by tapping her paw on the bedroom door, followed by a ‘meow-meow’ that sounds like ‘Hello’. It’s hilarious and cute,” she says. “Eddie stays outside the bedroom door, and when we get up he rolls over on his back to get a belly rub, just like a dog. He also greets me at the door when I come home. I even play fetch with him!”
Speaking of playing fetch, here’s some good news if you’re more of a dog person: A National Dog Day blog post is coming soon!
Adam Bisby is a Toronto-based freelance journalist and father of two who has been covering men’s health for more than 20 years. As well as researching and blogging for Don’t Change Much since 2015, Adam’s award-winning work has appeared in the Globe and Mail, Toronto Star and National Post newspapers, in magazines such as Explore, Reader’s Digest and Canadian Family, and on websites including MSN and Toronto.com. Visit Adam’s website for more information on what he does.