Guest post by Liz Eastwood
Believe it or not, our sweet-bundles-of-fur are probably saving us a bundle in medical bills.
This is another reason I’m into natural cat care—not only is it more ecological and vet-bill preventative, but our cats contribute so much to our well-being that we want to give them more life-extending love. Wait til you hear all this!
While cats in particular have healing powers, research on pet companionship in general is also impressive.
According to research discussed in this news report, people with pets save the Australian health service about $880 million per year and save Germany about $6.6 billion per year. The research found that people with pets:
- need fewer visits to their doctor each year
- have fewer sleeping difficulties
- are less likely to need heart condition medicine
I was really excited about some research I found on cats in particular.
Cats may reduce heart attack risk by 40%
While a study showed that both cats and dogs reduced stress-related blood pressure more than ace inhibitor medication, a study at the University of Minnesota found that cats in particular may reduce your chances of a heart attack by 40%.
The study, which looked at 4,435 Americans aged 30 to 75, showed that those who did not have a cat had a 40% higher risk of having a heart attack and a 30% greater risk of dying from other heart diseases than those who have or have had a cat.
I was diagnosed with a heart arrhythmia many years ago. That’s a crazy erratic, racing heartbeat that happens periodically in varying degrees of intensity and threat.
I did not have a cat at the time. A bit later I lived with cats again and a bit later I stopped having arrhythmia. Didn’t think much of it.
Fast forward many years to when my only cat, Bastet, was dying. I started having bouts of terrible heart arrhythmia symptoms. After she died it got worse–and by worse I mean nearly constant.
It stopped the day we brought home two new purring youngsters named Phil and Joel. The arrhythmia disappeared that day and hasn’t returned since. Were there other factors that may have affected my heart arrhythmia in these cases? Probably. But the timing of the healing was uncanny.
What’s at the root of a cat’s healing power?
There’s certainly some mystery as to exactly how cats and dogs manage to be good for our health. So far my investigation has uncovered these research nuggets about the healing power of kitty cats:
- Stress symptoms are lowest in people with cats
In a study by Dr. June McNicholas, stress symptoms were lowest in cat owners, second lowest in dog owners, and highest in people without pets.
- Purring heals—a lot of things!
The Fauna Communications Research Institute found that every cat in their study created purr vibrations within the range that is medically therapeutic (20-140 Hz) for:
- bone growth and healing
- pain relief
- swelling reduction
- wound healing
- muscle growth and repair
- tendon repair
- joint mobility
- dyspnea (shortness of breath) relief
Other good news about having an animal friend at home
- Having a pet reduces your risk of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma cancer by about 33%! The longer you have pets, the less likely you are to develop lymphoma.
- People with pets live longer according to the Merck Veterinary Manual
- Pets are good for your mental health: One example is another study by Dr. June McNicholas of the University of Warwick. Her research showed that seniors had less depression and psychological distress if they had a pet.
Well, this has been humbling!
Excuse me while I go see what Phil and Joel are up to.
Liz Eastwood is a writer and holistic nutritionist and the author of the Natural Cat Care Blog where she shares tips, insights and the joy of soul companion cats.