The benefits of cat ownership

Not yet sure about adopting a cat? This may help you decide...

Cat ownership means sharing your life with a beautiful, intelligent, sentient being. But there are lots more benefits than you might realise!

cat with owner

Ask any cat owner if they would recommend getting a cat and we’re sure that the answer would be a resounding ‘YES’! But did you know that there are plenty of scientifically proven mental and physical benefits of welcoming a feline companion into your family? Read on to find out more.

Lower your risk of heart disease

If you are looking for a physical benefit of owning a cat it doesn’t get better than this. A scientific study over 17 years found that cat ownership is good for your heart. The calming effect that cats have on their owners has been proven to reduce stress and lower blood pressure. The study concluded that people with cats had "a decreased risk for death due to MI (heart attack) and all cardiovascular diseases (including stroke).”

Hand stroking a calico catImproved mental health

Cat ownership has also been proven to have a positive effect on mental health. A survey by Cats Protection found that over 90% of cat owners felt that their cat helped their mental well-being, with the most popular activities being stroking their cat (72%) and playing with their cat (58%)

Decreasing stress and anxiety

Cats make great therapy animals. Stroking or hugging them, focusing on this beautiful animal, quickly helps you unwind, lowering your stress levels. Cats are masters of mindfulness; the reassuring sound of a purring cat can soothe your mind too.

Snuggle your troubles away

Cats are great listeners! Tell all your troubles to your cat - they won’t mind. Your cat will never judge you, argue or moan at you, they will just listen. They may not have all the answers, but just snuggling with your cat calms the mind, and helps put worries into perspective.

Beating loneliness or depression

Caring for an animal helps combat loneliness and relieve depression. Cats bring into our lives that magical combination of mutual affection, companionship and unconditional love. As well as adding structure and routine to your day, what could be better than a friendly feline head-bump?

Owner cuddling a contented catThe power of the purr

Cat owners know that purring is a comforting sound, but scientists also believe that the frequency of a cat’s purr can actually help them to heal their bones, muscles and tendons. This amazing self-healing mechanism can have benefits for us humans too. A cat purrs at the same frequency that scientists use in vibrational therapies to help tissue regeneration. The beneficial effects of a cat's company, and especially their purr, is often cited by cat owners as helping them feel better when they are ill or in pain. So the cat's purr may be more magical than we realise! To experience the soothing sound of a cat’s purr, check out this online Cat Purr Generator.

Feline inspiration

The inspirational qualities of a cat cannot be underestimated. Over the centuries, artists, writers and composers have often credited their cats with sparking their best ideas. Cats can be beautiful and graceful one minute, yet playful and amusing the next. Simply watching a cat being a cat, can unleash all kinds of creativity. In fact, the original inspiration for our charity, Cat Chat was provided by Gemini and George, two very special rescue cats!

Better relationships and self-esteem

Not only are cats great companions, but they can also improve your relationships with others. Research suggests that cat owners are more socially sensitive and trusting than non-cat owners, which has a positive impact on their human relationships. Cats are also a great conversation starter - most cat owners will gladly tell you a funny story about their furry friend or whip out their phones to share some adorable kitty photos.

Encourages exercise to boost your mood

Owning a pet can encourage regular exercise, naturally improving your mental well-being. You can’t beat a game of chase-the-shoelace with your cat to boost your mood. Exercising with your pet encourages playfulness in them - and you. Who needs the gym!?

Helps children with autism

An article by Autism Parenting Magazine explains how cats can help children with autism become more social. Having a pet improved the social skills of children living with autism, compared to those without pets. Cats can teach empathy and compassion, relieve anxiety and provide a framework for building future relationships.

What if I can't have a cat?

If your circumstances don't enable you to own a cat, never fear: Research shows that even watching cat videos online is good for you. Over the years, cat videos have become increasingly popular online. Research suggests that watching feline frolics stimulates positive emotions, decreases feelings of negativity and can also boost your energy levels.

So… are you ready to rescue?

Adopting a rescue cat is one of the most satisfying and rewarding things you can ever do. The love, trust and loyalty your cat will give you in return, will leave you bursting with pride and happiness. So, have we convinced you that it’s time to adopt a cat? Take a look at the cats currently needing homes or get in touch with your local rehoming centre today.

Further Reading

Thinking of getting a cat?
See Cats Needing Homes in your area

Find Cat Adoption Centres near you
Why Rescue?

Contributor: Ella Street, Cat Chat Blogger
Published: November 2022