Our feline friends often fill shelters and feline rescues, waiting impatiently for good homes with many not ever being so fortunate. Luckily, June is National adopt a cat month! It’s a perfect time for families and those looking for pets to add to their homes to consider adopting a cat in need of a good home! There are several reasons families and individuals may wish to adopt a cat, but there may be benefits of owning a cat that many people may not even be aware of! Cats can provide a variety of benefits to their owners such as improved immune function, reduced blood pressure and many more health benefits! So, how does a person know if they are suited be a cat owner, a dog owner or both? While we believe that there are many benefits to both feline and canine ownership, this article is focused on the benefits of cat ownership.
1. Independent lifestyle:
Cats tend to be more independent and can be left for longer periods of time than a dog. That is not to say that you can leave your cat for days with only food and water- they are social beings with needs for companionship as well, they benefit from daily interaction with their humans and also require exercise and mental stimulation. For those who may travel frequently for work or go out of town on a regular basis for short trips, a cat may be the perfect companion, and Milwaukee Paws Pet Care can help step in when needed to give your cat the companionship and attention he needs and clean your cat’s litter box while you are away.
2. Cats are more affordable:
The cost of owning a dog is more expensive than that of owning a cat. Dogs often require specialized training while some even need to attend obedience school, and they also require more food and toys than cats. Take a trip to a pet store and you can see that cat toys generally are more affordable than dog toys (although there are quite elaborate and expensive cat toys, as well). Many dog breeds also need to be groomed regularly while most cats won’t require these services. Some breeds of cats may require you to brush them regularly to prevent matting, however most cats will not require any grooming. Cats tend to have fewer and more affordable vet costs, as well.
3. Cats are easier to house train:
Cats typically know how to use a litter box instinctively. You may only need to show them once or twice where the box is for them to start using it. Daily cleaning of the litters is important for your cat’s health, however, so don't forget to scoop it daily! Dogs on the other hand, can take weeks to months to housebreaks and train. And we have to mention: cats aren’t going to come to you asking to go potty outside in the middle of the night like many dogs will! Add in a blustery snowstorm in the middle of wintertime, and you’ll find yourself feeling even more appreciative of your cat’s independence to use the potty indoors on their own!
4. Cats require less space:
Cats require less space than dogs do. Typically, a cat is quite content with any space that you live in. They are quite adept at finding comfort in a small apartment, tiny house or a great big mansion. A simple cat "condo" and some space for them to roam is generally enough. However, to protect your furniture from the cat’s need to scratch, be sure to provide scratching posts and toys designed to alleviate that need to scratch. Many cat owners will place scratching posts or boards near furniture so that their cats use them instead of reverting to couches or other expensive furniture.
5. Cats can lower your risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke:
According to a study done by the University of Minnesota, cat owners had a 30-40% decreased risk of cardiovascular disease. Evidence has shown that owning a cat reduces stress and anxiety which in turn helps reduce the risk of heart disease. The act of petting a cat is also said to decrease stress hormones in our blood while reducing blood pressure and heart rate. Interestingly, the same study showed that dog owners do not reap the same benefits as cat owners. Another study done at the University of Minnesota revealed that cat owners are 1/3 less likely to have a stroke than non-cat owners.
6. Cats can reduce your stress, anxiety and depression:
There are many studies that show that owning a pet of any kind, especially a cat or dog, are linked to reduced stress and anxiety, as mentioned above. Petting a cat has physical benefits of reducing anxiety and increasing serotonin in the pet owner. It is also believed that providing care to another living being, making the connection, and being responsible for a pet contribute to decreased stress, anxiety and depression.
7. Cats can help lower your cholesterol:
A 2006 study completed in Canada showed that owning a cat could lower a person’s cholesterol more than medications designed to do the same thing! We all knew that cats were special, but this is an incredible benefit! This is often a result of the decrease in stress and anxiety that owning a cat brings. Of course, you should still monitor your diet and exercise if you are worried about cholesterol, but owning a cat may help you in the fight.
8. Cats help improve your immune system:
Cats are intuitive animals; they know when their owners are not feeling well, and often want to be closer to them. Studies have shown that cat owners tend to have better immune systems and recover faster than non-cat owners. In fact, nursing homes with cats present tend to spend less on medications and doctor/hospital visits than nursing homes without cats.