There’s nothing quite like coming home to a purring kitty waiting to greet you. And according to recent research, if you’re a “cat person,” that daily dose of feline companionship may be doing more for your health than you realize.
In one study, published in the journal PLOS One, people who self-identified as “cat people” were found to have significantly lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol than those who preferred dogs or had no preference at all. And in another study, published in the journal Psychological Science, “cat people” were found to be more likely than dog people to report having recovered from a recent stressful event.
But the benefits of being a cat person don’t stop there. A growing body of evidence suggests that cats can also help us to better manage our mental health, including conditions like anxiety and depression.
For example, one study found that people who lived with cats were less likely to be diagnosed with depression than those who didn’t live with cats. And another study found that people who had a cat in their childhood home were less likely to develop anxiety or depression in adulthood than those who didn’t grow up with a feline friend.
So why are cat people so much more resilient to stress and mental health problems?
One theory is that it all comes down to the bond that we share with our feline companions. Unlike dogs, which have evolved to be highly attuned to our emotional states, cats have largely remained aloof, independent creatures. As a result, our relationship with them is less emotionally intense and more relaxed, which may help to lower our stress levels.
In addition, cats also provide us with a unique form of physical touch that has been shown to have stress-reducing effects. When we pet a cat, their purring vibrations are transmitted to our bodies, which can help to soothe and relax us.
So if you’re looking for a furry friend that can help you to feel your best, it may be time to consider adopting a cat. Not only will you be getting a loyal companion, you may also be getting a powerful ally in your quest for good mental health.