Guest post by Carole Bosanko
This post contains affiliate links*
Cats are special just as they are. They become super special when we consider the positive effects they have on our health and well being.
A 2019 Cats Protection study found that 93.7% of cat parents said that their cat was beneficial to their mental health. Pets at Home reported that pets were lifesavers for people during the COVID lockdown in 2020. As many are finding the current 2021 lockdown even harder, cats may save the day yet again.
Cats can calm us, lower our stress level and ease loneliness by offering companionship. They provide structure to our days, bring lightness and laughter with their playfulness …even our older cats can still have their energetic half hours! They also bring a sense of purpose to our lives by making us responsible for another living being. Cats foster our compassion as we care for them, think about them and want to make their lives pleasant.
The benefits of having a cat are shown in many studies, they include:
- Cat owners are less likely to suffer from depression than those without cats.
- Playing with a cat can elevate levels of the calming and relaxing chemicals serotonin and dopamine in our bodies.
- Cats improve our cardiovascular health.
Cats can also help us make healthy lifestyle changes, and having a healthy lifestyle can help with stress, anxiety and depression. They help us through challenging times like the pandemic and the associated restrictions and lockdowns.
Cats provide companionship
Companionship can help prevent illness and even add years to our lives, while isolation and loneliness can trigger symptoms of depression. Caring for our cats can help us feel needed and wanted, and take the focus away from problems, if only for a short while. This is especially important if people live alone. Cats can be confidants, we can talk to them and tell them our troubles. They listen and don’t judge, they just provide love. Coming home to the greeting of a purring cat is a winner every time.
Cats can help us connect with people
Sharing life with a cat means that there’s always a story or anecdote to share. Cats can even help us start and maintain new friendships as we bond over our cats. Numerous social media groups and online platforms provide a great way of sharing photos, tips, getting advice and just linking in with like minded people. It’s easy with a cat vibe to find our cat tribe!
Cats boost our energy
Research has found that just watching cat videos can make us feel more energetic and can create positive emotions.
Cats can help us sleep better
A UK study found that people prefer to sleep with their cats rather than their partner! They even reported sleeping better with a cat than with a human. The Mayo Clinic Center for Sleep Medicine found that 41 percent of the people indicated that they slept better because of their pet, while only 20 percent said that it led to disturbances.
Cats can help us be more mindful
Cats live in the present moment and have a soothing influence, making them the perfect pet to demonstrate the principles and benefits of mindfulness. They can show us how to be more self-caring and self-compassionate. They bring mindfulness qualities into our lives just by being who they are.
All of these factors will help us get through the COVID lockdown as well as other difficult times in life.
Carole Bosanko is the author of Mindfulness for Cat Lovers*. She worked as a clinical psychologist in the National Health Service for over 30 years. She is also a mindful self-compassion teacher and has run many courses, workshops and events across the UK. You can learn more about Carole on her website or connect with her on Instagram.
*The Conscious Cat is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. This means that if you decide to purchase through any of our links, we get a small commission. We only spread the word about products and services we’ve either used or would use ourselves.