You probably know at least one person who owns a cat. Many of those people treat their feline friends as family, ensuring their health, safety and happiness. And these independent and curious creatures definitely return the favor!

Cats are naturally clean animals, energetic and very lovable. However, those are only a few reasons why someone might consider adopting a cat. Researchers have studied how humans profit from interacting with cats—and they have found several positive results, including various key behavioral and health benefits.

Less depression and a better mood

Studies have shown that cats can help decrease depression in humans. Cats are independent and loyal creatures, serving as great companions to people feeling lonely, such as those who are single or widowed. Having a cat at home helps people to connect with another living being.

Cats are also valuable inhabitants at nursing homes as they provide companionship and light exercise for the elderly. Researchers have discovered that nursing homes which house a cat(s) tend to house healthier tenants with more energy.

Professionals have found that just petting a live cat improves peoples’ moods. Some universities will bring cats and dogs to campus as stress therapy for strained students during exams. Interacting with animals will bring about soothing and calming emotions, allowing students to take their minds off of studying for a while.

Decreased allergies and asthma in children.

Consider adding a cat to your family if you have small children. According to studies, young children and infants who are exposed to cats are less likely to develop asthma and allergies. Cat exposure might also help prevent children from developing upper respiratory problems.

Lower blood pressure and a healthy heart

Because cats have the ability to lower stress levels, cat owners may also experience lower blood pressure and anxiety. Several studies have proved other health improvements which cats provide, such as lower risk of cardiovascular disease and heart attacks. According to one study, those without cats had between 30 to 40 percent more of a chance to die of cardiovascular disease than cat owners.

In addition to a healthy heart, people who live with cats tend to have lower cholesterol levels than non-cat owners. Cats can also lower one’s level of triglycerides, which is the main constitute of body fat in humans and animals.

Improved social behavior

Cats have helped children with developmental disorders, such as autism, improve their social interaction and communication abilities. By interacting with a cat, children have the opportunity to connect with another being without any fear of judgement. Cat are very playful creatures, providing exercise and activity for children with social disabilities.

For those interested in adding a cat to the family, please consider adopting from a local rescue or shelter. – Amanda Rockhold

Amanda Rockhold is a Customer Development Manager at an automotive testing center. As a writer and an animal-lover, she has an initiative to help others—both humans and those with paws! Amanda is an aspiring playwright and loves to involve herself in community theatre.